Have you ever wanted to try your hand at upholstery? Ever say those dangerous words, “How hard can that be?”
That’s where we found ourselves when we contemplated this project. Luckily we had amazing support from out favourite upholsterers, Scarboro Interiors, and so the results were fabulous. If we had been left on our own, our beautiful Naked Lounge Chair might have looked a little less, um, beautiful.
I’m a person who tends to think that things are easier than they actually are. In the case of upholstery, it is definitely not easy – but it’s doable depending on the scale of the project and what you’re after. If you’re looking for tight, professional results, then you really need to call in the pros. But if you choose something simple and take it slowly, I think you’ll be fine. So if you’re thinking about giving it a try, I’d encourage to you to go ahead. Keep in mind some of the tips we discussed in our How To Create Your Own Naked Lounge Chair post, and don’t forget to browse online for some great how-to info.
For this project, because we wanted the chair to look fabulous, we turned to Scarboro Interiors for help and advice. They generously allowed us to take our Naked chair down there and work in their studio. They had all the professional tools, and this made a huge difference. And Rob, their upholsterer extraordinaire, gave us a hand to help make the piece look amazing. We can’t thank them enough for helping to make our Naked lady look so great. We took some photos so you could see some of the techniques we used to get a smooth, tight fit for the fabric.
One thing we had to do before we assembled the chair was to make the piping. We cut strips of fabric 1 ½” wide to cover the piping cord, and painted them with Pebeo fabric dye to coordinate with the chair. We held off the colour decision until we saw Shawn Skeir’s artwork, then we knew that gold would be the perfect colour to highlight his painting.
We applied the gold dye down the center of the fabric strip with a paint brush, using an uneven application to give it a hand painted look. Here’s what the strips looked like while they were drying.
Scarboro Interiors helped us sew the piping. Here you can see how it’s made. Basically, the strip of fabric is wrapped around a cord and fed through a piping foot on a sewing machine so that the seam falls just below the cord. If we were doing this at home, we would have tried to use a zipper foot to do the same thing.
The piping is then sewn on to the band that will wrap around the seat fabric to make a box pillow shape for the front seat. The seam allowance is cut close to the stitching.
Here you can see the two pieces of the front seat cover being sewn together. The piping is between the two pieces of fabric and can not be seen.
Here we are fitting the fabric on to the seat cushion. If you look carefully, you can see that some staples have been used around the chair to tack the seat fabric on. A tip from Scarboro Interiors: make sure you tack around the chair evenly rather than along one side at a time. In other words, put a tack in the center of each side, then add two more to each side, and then go around each side and add a few more. This helps avoid wrinkles. And don’t be afraid at any time to take out the staples and pull the fabric more evenly if you see wrinkles being formed.
You can also see that we have cut the fabric over the chair legs and tucked the fabric in at the back, so that we can get a smooth, wrinkle-free fit.
Here we are trying to position the backrest fabric so the design is lined up with the seat. It will then be tacked in place.
Once the fabric is smooth and tacked on, Rob turns the chair on its back to start stapling the fabric. Don’t be afraid to use too many staples here! You want to make sure the fabric is pulled tight and there are no wrinkles. For this chair, the staples will be hidden by piping that will be hot glued in place at the end.
Here’s a shot of the back of the chair. You can see the fabric at the front of the backrest has been stapled on (but not trimmed) and the bottom of this piece has been pulled through to the back. You can also see that the seat cushion cover fabric has been pulled out the back. We’ve put some cuts in these to help get proper fit since the back is curved, and we are starting to staple them down. Those burlap straps that crisscross the back to support the fabric will be stapled down after we are done. They are then covered with a sheet of padding, and then the fabric is applied in the same way we did the front of the backrest.
For this project, we were very lucky that the interior of the chair was in great shape and did not need to be replaced. And we were especially lucky to have Scarboro Interiors to help us out. Our Naked Lounge Chair looked fabulous when it was done. We were thrilled to be able to create something that was a symbol of the fight against breast cancer. Especially one that was so beautiful.
Have a look at our other posts on this project – Presenting: The Naked Lounge Chair for Rethink Breast Cancer, DIY: How To Create Your Own Naked Lounge Chair, and Designing Our Naked Fabric With Shawn Skeir,
Scarboro Interiors, 1649 Kingston Road, Toronto ON M1N 1S4, 416 693 1603