Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Upholstering the Inside Back of a Chair: Chapter 3

 I am going to show you what Gilles showed me, 
when I went over to Drape It (my drapery and upholstery workroom) with my tail tucked between my legs, begging for assistance.
But first, 
here's a shot of how far I've gotten since last we met.
For those of you just tuning in.....
this is how the chair looked when Kris and I found it at an auction.
in my last post, I told you that I went to Drape It and Gilles gave me a tutorial.
I took lots of pictures, and I will now show you, step by step, the way to figure out the fabric cover for a chair with a curved back.
If you want to see the tutorial on how to do the foam and Dacron,
 click here.
I had gotten to this point, and realized that the fabric wasn't cut right, and wouldn't fit.
I freaked out big time.
Gilles took some lining fabric to use for his template pattern.
He cut some to fit the back and tacked it in place at the top and pulled it through to the back at the bottom, and tacked it there too.
Then he tacked both sides.
When you use a staple gun to tack fabric, angle the gun so that only one side of the staple bites into the wood.
This will work as a temporary hold, and is easier to pull out.
He then took some string, and tied it around the arms where we decided the seams should go.
Then he took a marker, and using the string as a guide, drew a line where we wanted the seam.
Then he did it on the other side.
 Then he marked the center line at the seat, on the lining fabric, with the black marker.
Then he marked the center line at the top.
Then he used tailor's chalk to mark the center line of the deck. 
Then he cut out a piece for the arm, cutting slashes in the bottom that allowed the fabric to ease into curves.
He lined the fabric up to the string that was tied around the arm.
He pulled the arm fabric down and out to the back of the chair at the seat and smoothed it out.
Then he folded the fabric where the seam would be and cut slashes in the edge for the curve.
The slashes allow the fabric to give at the curve and not pull.
Then he folded the fabric open and used the string as a guide to draw where the seam will go.
You can feel the string through the fabric.
Then he very carefully (so as not to get ink on the deck) used a pen and drew a line all the way around where the deck met the back.
He was going to have me sew a welt at the bottom and then sew gathered fabric to the bottom for pulling through to the back.
the gathering would allow for the curve.
I'll show you in my next post.
He clipped the curve along the front edge of the arm for easing the fabric.
 He then used a straight edge to draw a line down the center of the back.
He then lay the arm piece on a flat surface (work table) and drew a line 1/2" outside the seam line for the seam allowance. 
(This is the line he drew using the string as a guide.)
He used a straight edge to clean up the bottom line where the arm met the deck and added 1/2" for a seam allowance.
Then he drew a line along the top of the arm to allow some extra fabric for working the piece onto the chair.
Then he cut along the lines, creating his pattern template for the arms.
This would be the pattern for both arms.
Then, taking pity on my ineptitude, 
He helped me figure out how to set the stripe on the arms.
He wanted the stripes centered, but you have to eyeball it, and see what is going to look the best.
You want them to be vertical, and that can be a challenge with a curved arm. 
To cut out the final shape for the back, you want to make sure it's symmetrical.
fold the back template that you've worked on so far in half.
This will give you a straighter line than the one you drew with the straight edge.
The line you drew is just for help with this fold.
Then iron the fold for a crisp reference line.
Lay the folded pattern on a new piece of lining and outline the shape.
Then fold that piece in half and cut through both layers to create your symmetrical template.
Then lay it back on the chair and clip the sides to allow the fabric to ease into the curves.
And there you have your patterns cut for the the inside back!!!!!!!
Then Gilles had me write down the next steps for when I went back to my house fancy smancy workshop, so that I wouldn't keep bothering him.
I've gotten this far, and I'll show you that next time.
Today I'm putting the buttons on the back, and I will show you how to do that too.

For those of you who think this is a lot of work......
you're right!!!!!
Gilles told me that upholsterers know not to do stripes on curved back chairs.
now I know.
Kris feels bad, that you guys are going to think she's running a sweat shop.....
but this is the stuff that keeps me sane.
Everybody should have a project!!!!!!!

On that note,
Latah, Gatah


Nutbird said...

Wow! You should do a video about this. Thanks for the valuable tips. No wonder upholstery is so expensive, it's worth it! Ann

20 North Ora said...

I upholstered one big stuffed chair many years ago and definitely decided that an upholsterer earned every penny they charged. You're looking good tho. More patience than I have.


Ellicia said...

I will never again complain about how expensive getting furniture upholstered can be. If I had the ability to do upholstering, I would demand a first born child as down payment.

Vikki said...

I can tell you love this stuff! So excited to see the next installment. Vikki in VA

momtofatdogs said...

Miss Betsy - i make a lot of quilts & I have been using a pen by Pilot called Frixion. (Or some such name...) Anyway, the ink disappears with an iron or steam. Keep in mind that nothing works 100% perfect 100% of the time, but this is the freaking BOMB girl! You'll love it. I don't have to worry about accidentally marking my *good* fabric with one of those stinking sharpies. Literally ... they stink...don't they? I have used the Frixion (pronounced "friction" I think)pens extensively in my quiltmaking as well in what little upholstery I have done. They're great. By the way - I'm printing your posts on your upholstery exploits, so I have a visual on your TECHNIQUES.


Anonymous said...

All I can say is WOW! This is hard! No wonder I'm not an upholsterer.

Janice said...

Fascinating... lots & lots of detail work. I admire your tenacity, talent & eagerness to continue learning. I truly enjoy your writings & sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Betsy! Heavens!! Just scrolling through these detailed step by step instructions indicates how painstaking a job it is to upholster a chair, and how much can go wrong soo quickly! And ruin some very expensive fabric.. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had the chutzpah to imagine myself qualified to even consider going there..no way...I will call my upholsterer, for sure.. Thank you for pointing me in the right direction in regards to upholstering the seat of my caned back chair..still, I am not certain that I can do even this much on my own..
Your stature is rising in my eyes with every post and that chair will be gorgeous!!!

A McCarthy said...

I am exhausted just reading this...such a chore. I would never tackle this and am so impressed you are doing it!

Donnamae said...

It must take an enormous amount of patience...you're a far better woman than me! ;)

Anonymous said...

This is the most complicated procedure I have ever, ever seen. This will be the most expensive chair in history by the time you are finished. It should be placed in a museum.
Heavens-to-Betsy! You deserve the academy award for upholstery! ;-)


Suzanne said...

I love the artistry of this and all the pics of the hands.

sweet violets said...

That's exactly what this is....an artist at work!!! And yes, he has wonderful hands!!! You lost me at the string....This is an incredible project, and I will never attempt such a thing.....you are a goddess Betsy!!!

Bird in a Nest said...

You've just reminded me why I will be paying someone else to do mine. And made me realize why they charge so much. I attempted a slipcover once. No more.

Beth C. said...

Somebody get me a cigarette. Oh wait...I don't smoke.

Di said...

You are a brave woman. I love this chair beyond words, but what a nightmare it has turned into. At least you have someone to help. I think in the end it will be well worth the work. The chair and fabric are just beautiful!Thank you for sharing the steps and humor.

Anonymous said...

Next time you see Giles, will you give him a kiss from his fan club, just for being good enough to show us how it's done. Then you owe him chocolate for allowing you to do the photo shoot......don't you think?
What a great post. I am impressed, amazed, and informed. Most of all, no stripes on curved chairs............it would have taken me many failures to get that...... well done, both of you......

Anonymous said...

You should have been a surgeon!

June said...

how can I fix the inside back did not slant enough to seat with the foam have any suggestions what to stuff in there? Thanks my chair is similar to this one you did

cathy bryant said...

What does a chair like this cost to have re-upholstered ?

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