Anyhow, it was a pretty ambitious project, I have to say, for a first attempt. And although there are things that are a little shoddy, I've learned from them, and you can't see them right away either.
I got this material a while ago at a design fabric store that was closing their location and I lucked out and only paid 30% of the price. Not 30% off, I paid 30%! Don't we all live for deals like that? :) I was originally going to paint it to look like grain sacks, but then I thought, what if I hate that in 5/10 years? So, I'm going to put the more trendy stuff on the pillow I'll be doing next. If I could easily afford another chair, I would just go for it, but for us cheapskates ... :)
Anyhow, here's the final product - Voila!
I did manage to get a picture of a piece of fabric that came off it (just imagine the whole thing in this with really shiny legs):
And, yes, the whole thing was that dirty.
So, there are a lot of tutorials on this topic out there in blogland. The gist of it is take lots of pics/videos/notes and pay attention while you're taking it apart.
But, here are some things I learned (from many mistakes) that I haven't really seen in a lot of tutorials that I've read....
1. So you're using the old pieces as patterns to cut out the new ones? Good for you - make sure to cut them AT LEAST an inch bigger! Especially if there are curves on your chair. You can (and will) cut off excess after it's stapled on.
2. Along the same lines, if there are little cutouts in the old material, wait to cut them out until you start putting it on the chair and you can see EXACTLY where it should go.
3. Be careful with larger weave material, it's going to fray a LOT easier! Just plan that and maybe cut just a little more than that extra inch. And get some seam sealer!
4. Even if you think the seams will not show (when sewing the welting or cushion), don't use contrasting thread. It sounds super obvious, but I didn't think it would show, that's what was in my sewing machine and I lazily didn't want to change it. But, when I sit it pulls the material away just enough to see the black thread. Classy :)
5. To take the staples out, I ended up using a phillips screwdriver and needlenose plyers. I loosened them with the screwdriver first (as many in a row as I could), then went along with the plyers.
6. Number the pieces as they come off and write on the old material. Also, draw which direction faces up, front, etc.
7. If you decide to do nailhead trim - way to be ambitious! :) These are actually not to bad (not nearly the love/hate relationship I had with the curve-ease). If you start hammering it in and the head isn't exactly in line, you can gently hammer at an angle until it is in line. I didn't use a marker (I didn't want it to show up), but if you have one of those fabric markers that dissapear, just draw a straight line.
The bottom line wasn't too hard, but if you do a second one, or the first one isn't directly along the bottom, here's what I did:
Measure between the two lines, then go out 8-10 spaces and measure the height difference and put that in, then you can visually check the line as you further along.
But, you do have to be willing to take them out if it isn't working. Like, when I looked at the left-hand side and realized I actually wanted the right hand side,
And end up with a pile of unusable brads like this
To end up with the end-goal you want.
On the arms, they had used finishing nails or something to attach it (you have to put the material around the little insert and then connect it to the front of the chair. I didn't have access to one. So, I just used the brads to hold it in place.
I wanted to do the second row along the bottom to do something a little differently (I was inspired by a chair on Restoration Hardware). Plus, because that first row was right in line with the bottom, you couldn't really tell. Here's a close up of the nailhead trim:
You also get a good look at the legs. I just sanded off the old stuff and got a sample-size paint at Home Depot (paint for $2.50? sure!) Then distressed it with sandpaper. Then lightly sanded over the rest of the paint as well to kind of blend it all together.
Overall, I'd say it turned out pretty darn good for a first attempt and all those blasted curves!
I knew for sure it was pretty good when my hubby (whom I married because I loved his willingness to be honest even when it would be easier to offer noncommital placations) tried to claim it as only his to sit on!
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