How to reupholster nonremovable antique dining chair seats

Many people look at an antique chair and see only wear and tear because of the condition of the fabric, when all they need to do is reupholster it. Upholstery on antiques may take more time, as the piece may be fragile. If you examine the chair and how it was originally put together, it will tell you how to reupholster it as you remove the parts that need replacing. Reupholstering the cushions on a dining chair is an afternoon's project.

Estimate how much fabric you will need to recover your chair cushion. Many places that sell upholstery have charts that help with this estimation.

Consider the wear and tear on your chair cushion. How often is this chair used, and by whom? How long do you want this fabric cushion to last? The heavier the fabric, the longer lasting it will be, but also more difficult to manoeuvre as you shape it to the chair. Upholstery fabric comes in a variety of weights and patterns, including many that are designed to mimic the styles current at the time your antique chair was built.

Purchase the appropriate amount of fabric and welting (cloth that is used to trim the edges of your chair) or trim.

Remove the trim or welting from around the base of the upholstered part of the chair.

Remove the tacks holding the upholstery to the chair with the needle-nose pliers and screwdriver. Use the screwdriver to pry the fabric around the tack up, then remove the tack with the needle-nose pliers. Try not to tear the fabric. This will become your pattern piece.

Lay out the old piece of upholstery, right side down, on a flat surface. Open any seams in the upholstery so that the piece can be laid flat. Set this piece aside.

Lay out the new upholstery fabric, right side down, on a flat surface.

Lay the old piece of upholstery on top of the new upholstery, right side down.

Trace around the old piece of upholstery fabric, using it as a pattern. Mark any places that have been folded or sewn.

Cut out the new upholstery fabric cover for your chair.

Stitch any corners or darts that need to be connected. Trim any excess seam allowance.

Remove the batting from the chair.

Lay the new batting out on a flat surface. Lay the old batting on top of the new batting and trace around it.

Cut out the new batting and place it on the chair.

Place the new upholstery cover over the batting and settle it onto the framework so that it can be attached to the frame. Check all corners and notched areas to make sure they line up correctly.

Tack the new upholstery cover onto the frame of the chair. Pull evenly on opposite sides of the cover to avoid wrinkles. Trim the excess fabric away from underneath the staples.

Run a bead of hot melt glue around the tacked area.

Press the welting or trim onto the hot melt glue to secure the trim, and cover the raw edge of the fabric and tacks.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Batting
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Thread (optional)
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Welting or trim
  • Hot melt glue gun
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About the Author

Tanya Brody is a professional writer and musician from Minneapolis, Minn. She was first published in 1996 and her original songs are played on the radio all over the world. Brody holds a Bachelor of Arts from Antioch College in creative writing and drama.