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Child's Chair Re-Upholstery - Diy - off With the Old on With the New

Updated on June 24, 2019

Before and After - Colonial to Bright Pink Flowers

Before
Before
After
After

History - Past - Present - Result

Some twenty-five years ago, my daughter received a small rocking chair for a gift, and now she has her own child and decided that she needed to do something about the condition of the upholstery of the chair.

Upon examination, the construction seemed fairly simple and straight forward. The top cushion was simple. Two pieces of fabric in a square shape, with loops inserted in top corners. sewn together face to face, then reversed. Foam inserted, then top stitched. Hang the loops on the top posts.

The bottom cushion was simple as well. A large square, two inches bigger than the base. Incisions for the arms and back dowels. A strip cut and hemmed with darts. A construction stapler used to secure the fabric to the sides of the chair. A folder cut into strips for the staple strip.


The Basics

loops holding old cushion in place
loops holding old cushion in place
simple cut out at posts
simple cut out at posts
hemmed edge on strip
hemmed edge on strip
Simple paper strip and staple securing
Simple paper strip and staple securing
backing off an inch on sides
backing off an inch on sides
dart fold and overlap on back of chair. Beginning and end of strip.
dart fold and overlap on back of chair. Beginning and end of strip.

Tools Needed for This Project

  • flat head screwdriver for loosening old staples
  • side cutter for removing staples
  • stapler for attaching new strip around base of chair
  • sewing machine
  • scissors
  • pins
  • tape measure
  • pen

Getting Started

Since we did not know if the process was going to make the chair look better, we started with the top, hanging cushion. It was determined that if we did the top cushion first, we could firsthand examine how it looked before we undertook removing the seat cushion. This way, if we didn't like how it looked, there would be no damage to the original chair upholstery.

Designing a New Top Cushion

Basic design: square, looped corners
Basic design: square, looped corners
top stitched bottom edge
top stitched bottom edge
inserted, folded strips
inserted, folded strips

Cutting Foam for the Top and Bottom Cushion

Making sure the foam fits together before you start.

Start by measuring the base of the chair. Cut the foam and cut out for chair posts.

Then, measure across the back of the chair, in between the arms. Measure from the top of the seat foam, to the top cross bar on the chair back, since the loops need to hang from the posts.


Cutting the Foam Pads

cut back foam so it sits on bottom foam, fits inside chair arms, and is level with top cross bar.
cut back foam so it sits on bottom foam, fits inside chair arms, and is level with top cross bar.
mark notch
mark notch
cut notch
cut notch
mark and notch out for spindles
mark and notch out for spindles
place into position after removing foam where the posts protrude from the base.
place into position after removing foam where the posts protrude from the base.

Cutting Pieces

Since we had a piece of cloth two yards long, or 72 inches we cut our pieces accordingly:

  • 6 inch wide strip along selve edge the entire length of cloth.
  • 12 inch side piece 30 inches long with pattern running long way
  • 18 inch square for bottom
  • 2 inch by 6 inch strip for loops

We measured the back, and it was 10 inches across. We adjusted our material for seam allowance and two inches for thickness of foam.

We measured the bottom and added two inches on all sides for draping over and stapling.

We measured the distance around the base and added some length for the folded pleats.

The loops were cut to be folded the long way.

Assembling and Sewing and Tacking

Once you get the top cushion folded over, insert the loops, sew down the sides, turn inside out, and then, insert the foam piece and top stitch the bottom closed, it's done and ready to hang on the chair.

The seat is place on the bottom, the material is sliced where there are posts. It's stapled around on board. The strip is applied an inch from the edge of the top and is stapled with a piece of heavy paper under the staple to keep the staple secure and to keep the material from pulling off the staple.

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