I finally finished my second chair! It took me three weeks, but I finally put the finishing touches on it last night and I am SO glad I’m done.
Remember when I told you how I found this Bergere chair on Craigslist? So, I eventually picked the fabric I wanted to use and ordered it and I finally got around to giving this big ol’ chair a new look. This is what I used:
- Around 6 yards of fabric (I ordered 10 yards and have a lot left)
- A bottle of Sander/Deglosser
- Primer in a spray can
- Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo in Linen White
- Floetrol (a latex paint conditioner)
- Polyurethane in a spray can
- Foam brush and roller
- Pneumatic upholstery stapler
- Air compressor
- Glue gun and lots of glue sticks
First thing’s first: the deconstruction. Much unlike Eloise, this chair was a little easier to deconstruct. I was able to pull the old fabric off the chair without ripping it. This was important because I use the old fabric as my pattern to cut out the new fabric. Tugging the old fabric from the frame was also helpful because it loosened many of the staples. However, many of the staples were so deep into the frame that no matter how much I digged with my flat-nose screwdriver or tugged with my needle-nose pliers, they wouldn’t budge. So I had to leave many staples in the wood.
Once I had all the fabric off, I took the frame out into the garage to begin the painting process. As with Eloise, I left the foam and much of the batting on the chair during the painting process. I wasn’t too concerned about getting paint on the batting because no one will ever know.
First I used a sander/deglosser on the wood of the frame. I had reason to believe that the old finish was an oil based paint and I would be using a latex paint. Sanding with a traditional sanding block would have been pretty tedious in all the grooves of the wood, so I opted to use the chemical method. Once the sander/deglosser had done it’s magic, I spray primed the wood and let it dry overnight.
Originally, I had planned to use a paint gun to paint the chair but no matter what I did to thin the paint, the stupid paint gun was not working right. So I gave up that idea and used a foam brush and foam roller to paint the chair a nice creamy white color. IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to reduce the brush strokes and leave a smooth finish, I added Floetrol to my paint. It’s a latex paint conditioner you can find at just about any hardware store. It works wonders!
Anyway, after about three coats of paint (leaving it to dry overnight after each coat) I opted not to do the antiqued finish on this chair as I had done on Eloise. Why? I don’t really know. I may or may not regret that decision later. After all my paint was dry, I sprayed a protective polyurethane finish over the paint and let it dry.
Meanwhile, while all this paint drying is going on, I’m back in the house laying out my fabric and cutting out my pattern. After the chair had completely dried, I pulled it back into the house and started the reupolstery process.
The hardest part of reupholstering this chair was sewing all the pieces of fabric that make up the bottom part of the chair. I got it done, but it definitely was not perfect. I thought about tearing it up and re-doing it, but that thought quickly passed. I figured since the bottom of the seat would be covered by the seat cushion, it didn’t have to be perfect. (Like my little labels to myself? It helped me keep track of all the small pieces and put them together like a puzzle.)
Oh, and remember how the arms of the chair had been eaten by a dog? Yeah, I had no desire to replace the chewed up foam, so I just cut a couple of pieces of batting and stapled them over the mangled foam to make the arms smooth and dog-bite free.
At this point, I just had a party with the staple gun. Remember when you’re stapling the fabric back on, try to stay as close to the original staple marks as possible. Once you’ve stapled your fabric back on, trim all the excess fabric as close to the staple line as you can. And don’t be like me and staple the back panel on the chair before you’ve pulled the front panel through…yeah, that was fun. I had to undo all the bottom staples on the back panel, trying not to ruin my new fabric, just so I could pull the front panel through and staple it all back on. I cursed like a sailor the whole time. Lobster left the room early on to avoid my wrath. He is a smart man.
Anyhoo, once I got all the panels stapled onto the frame, I sewed the cushion panels together. That was fun, too. I’m just going to say that I enjoy sewing t-cushions about as much as I enjoy going to the dentist. Which is not much. At all.
Cushion done (thank you, baby Jesus) and it was on to making the piping. With Eloise, I only did single piping, but this chair originally had double piping and I decided to stick with it. So I cut out 2.5 inch strips of fabric and sewed two or three strips together at the ends to make really long strips. After measuring my cording against the old piping that I ripped off the chair, I laid the cording on one end of the long fabric strip and sewed it closed.
Then I laid the second length of cording right next to the first, now encased, length and folded it over. I then sewed along the same stitch line, making sure to keep the second length of cord pressed tightly against the first length. Once both cords were sewed in, I cut the excess fabric right up against the stitch line. The rough edge of the double piping (where you just cut the fabric away) is the back of the double piping and will be glued to the chair.
With that done, I started getting busy with my glue gun, carefully gluing all the double cording in place. Be careful, I burned my fingers several times.
And this is what she looks like today! Much better, I think. I think I’m going to name this one Big Bertha. She’s big and beautiful and very comfy. I’m not real sure how Bertha = comfy, but I’m going with it.
How do you like her?
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