Monday, December 19, 2011

Cane-Back Chair Makeover & Tutorial

Back in October when we first started our booth, we found these great cane-back chairs with wheels. At first, we only saw one of them and were immediately attracted to their unique shape and style, and thought they would be a nice alternative to our many French-style arm chairs. When we saw that it was a pair, we knew we needed to get them! 

The tricky part about these chairs was that they were a mix of seat types--there was an upholstered cushion, but it got stapled down on the bottom side and then screwed into the frame of the chair. It seemed a little weird at first to sew the cushion cover without a bottom piece, and then staple the edges on, but it makes sense since the seat will be screwed down and the bottom won't be exposed for any reason.

The first thing we had to do was unscrew the cushion. Simple!

Here you can see the bottom of the seat-- you would never think that it gets stapled underneath, but that's what we found!

The first step was to remove all the staples holding the old fabric in place. Not so simple! We used a great little staple remover tool, but there were seriously 2,749 staples in these bad boys.
This is just the outer layer of staples--not even the staples that are holding the cushion cover in place. It took one whole evening just to remove all the staples from the pair of chairs. Once the staples were out, the cushion cover could be pulled right off the frame. We made sure to take lots of pictures to show what parts were sewn, and what parts were stapled. Luckily here the welting was only sewn into the top part of the cushion--underneath it just got stapled after the fabric was in place!

After checking out the original cushions to see what to sew and what to staple, we traced the pattern of the old fabric onto our fabric, and sewed three layers of the cushion together: top of the cushion, the welting, and the sides of the cushion. We wrapped that around the chair frame and stapled the sides of the cushion to the frame. Then we got our last layer of welting and stapled that around the edges, so that it looked like it was one cushion sewn together!

We thought that the raw edges of the linen gave a really unique touch to the chairs, so we made sure to have a piece showing on each one.
Once the cushions were all set, we moved onto the frame. For these, we primed, painted, distressed, and stained to give lots of depth and a really one-of-a-kind feel.
The last thing we did was change out the wheels for some great little antique wheels that we felt went with the chair better than the ones that they came with.

And the finished product!

UPDATE! We sold these lovely chairs at the Alemeda flea market on January 1st. We hope the couple who got them enjoy one of our first great finds!

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