2012 Spoonflower Staff Challenge Pt. 7: Reupholstering a family heirloom

MAR 11, 2012

This is the seventh in a series of posts describing the projects that are part of our 2012 Spoonflower Staff Challenge. Voting begins on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

Kelly and Jaysen Reupholster a Chair:

For our project, we decided to reupholster a family heirloom chair that belonged to Jaysen and his wife, Melodie.

The chair was originally hand-crafted by Melodie’s great-grandfather in the 1940’s and had already been reupholstered once in the 1960’s. The chair has been owned and loved by many of her family members. Her uncle even carved his name into the arm when he was a child! While Melodie loved the family history that was attached to the chair, she wasn’t very fond of the pea green velour it was covered in.

After much discussion, we decided to use a sailing theme in our fabric designs. In their home, Jaysen has a framed old-style map hanging above the chair, and Melodie has always been interested in learning how to sail. Jaysen drew the sailboats by hand, and then imported them into Adobe Illustrator to color them. You can see his fabric here.

 Kelly then created a collection of simple accent fabrics that could be used together with his design.

Finally, we could start in on the actual chair. Kelly had some small experience in reupholstering a chair because she’d done one for her own home. While reupholstering a chair isn’t difficult, it is very tedious and time consuming and she vowed she would never ever do it ever again. Little did she know…..

The first step in reupholstering a chair is to remove all of the original fabric. This means prying out thousands of staples by hand. It’s important to preserve as much of the original fabric as possible because you’ll need to use the pieces as templates later when cutting out the new fabric.

When we began uncovering the matching footstool we found a surprise!

Melodie’s great-grandfather owned a furniture business, and when he made this chair for his family, he let his son (Melodie’s grandfather) sign the base fabric of the footstool! After finding his signature, this chair became even more precious to Melodie and her family.

After removing all the old fabric, we labeled the pieces and laid them out onto the new fabric to trace their shape. Then we took the pieces of new fabric, stretched them over the frame of the chair, and stapled them into place.



The final step was to refinish the wooden arms and legs of the chair and footstool:

Finally, we had a chair!

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