Saturday, 22 March 2014

Re-upholster A Desk Chair for £5 or Less Tutorial

Today I finally got round to making over my sewing table chair that has been annoying me for ages.  I bought the fabric at Ikea last year then folded it up and put it in my fabric box to work on later, well later turned out to be much later! So I thought I would show step by step what I did,  I know there will be people out there who are professionals at this who shake their heads and say that is not how to do it.  Well I did it the way that I thought was quickest and easiest and any body who wants to have a go at giving a chair a new lease of life should be able to follow what I did. I hope.
Here is my uninspiring swivel chair..
Now this is a perfectly good chair and sure lots of people have one like this, maybe in a child's bedroom or by the computer table, but sometimes we want things to co-ordinate and the one you have may not go with your new colour scheme. That is what I thought about mine, and I would always rather do something up if I can.   The first thing I did was to lay the fabric on the chair seat, the direction that I wanted the pattern to go facing the right way.
Then pin all the way around the seat and cut out the fabric allowing a seam allowance just beyond your pins.
Next drape the fabric over the back of the chair so that it hangs down to the seat at the front but down further at the back, again pin around the top of the seat back and cut around leaving a seam allowance, then cut up the sides so it looks even at both sides you can usually tell by eye but if you are not sure even it up when you take it off. 
Next you need to cut a long rectangle that will act as a skirt around the bottom, measure around from where the fabric hangs down at the back all the way around the seat to the other side where the fabric hangs down from the back.  To be safe cut it out a bit longer than you think.  make it as deep as you like, the same goes for the back of the chair.  I've done mine so that it covers the adjustable bit under the chair but some people might want it to the floor.  Pin it around so that you know you are happy with it and you can make any alterations to it, if you have pinned accurately and cut your rectangle evenly it should all be level. 

Put a pin at the centre back of the seat and the centre seat so that when you lift it off to sew you can match them up, you could use tailors chalk. 
Pin your rectangle down the overhang bit at the back of the chair with right sides together, this way you will have one piece of the jigsaw in place.  Now you need to carefully remove your pins from the back of the seat and seat, move them to the wrong side of the fabric if you need a guide, or make small notches while it is all still on the chair so you can match the notches. 
Lift it all off, sew the seat piece to the back seat piece first matching those pins at centre back.  When you have done this sew the two back pieces all the way around and down the sides but remember there will be a bit at the bottom that hangs down about 6-8inch where you will sew the skirt on, if you pinned it at one side like I said  then it will already be on one side to remind you.
Snip all around any curves this will make it lie better once it has been finished.

Sew the skirt all around the bottom of the seat and down those back bits you will need to do a little turn to go down the back.  When you have done this hem all the way around the bottom I did a double fold.
Now give it all a good press.
I think it looks much better than it did before, although on this picture I have just noticed I've got a bit of fabric tucked in at the top in my eagerness to put it on the chair and take a photo, ha!  It did poke out. I have covered chairs like this before as I did some dining chairs once so it not only works on desk chairs.  You could make a mock up first if you don't want to use your best material.  Also you could use quilting padding on the reverse of the fabric to give it a bit more structure or if it is more comfy furniture you are doing, for a living room for example. I used that when I did the dining chairs, but for this chair it was just a quick makeover needed.


If you find it is a bit loose at the back you can add a little pleat with a few hand stitches like this..
You can also do this at the sides if you want but I didn't, so there it is a chair made over for an hour or so and £5, I used one meter of the Ikea fabric and there is a bit left.  here is the barcode if anyone wants to see if they still have it..


Of course you could use old curtains or maybe pick up a sheet at the charity shop so it may cost you nothing at all.  It is a good way to get a new look on the cheap.


                   Before                                                                                                    After


I like the way it looks and I hope it has given somebody an idea of what they can do with little or no money to change the look of a piece of furniture.


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic, I was hoping to do something similar to my computer chair, I pinned a whole load of ideas on pinterest but none of them turned out as good as yours as all of them still had the horrid black plastic showing on the back rest, with your version it is covered, thanks for posting the instructions.

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