A Chair Affair at Dans le Townhouse

Every time I see a DIY project from Tanya at
I’m in love. It makes me dream of owning another place, one that I can decorate completely different than our home now. Take a look at this gorgeous chair…

and in her kitchen:

Tanya actually has a set of four chairs. Here is how Mr. & Mrs. at Dans le Townhouse re-upholstered the seats…

They have their own way of doing things that guarantees a smooth and secure finished product.

  • Quilter’s batting (they used three layers – how much you need will depend on the size and number of your chairs)
  • Upholstery grade fabric (again, dependent on size and number of your chairs – Tanya also buys extra in case of accidents)
  • Staple gun
  • 8mm staples (many)
  • Pliers
  • Screw driver (to remove seat)
  • Patient set of second hands

Get Upholstering:

Remove the chair seat:

Save the screws some place you will find them.

These screws have literally been in this bowl since 2009
Remove the staples, using pliers.  Tanya got attached to the tool pictured below because, although it is meant for cutting, it has a fabulous grip.

Throw out the old foam – especially if it is a vintage/used piece. Trace and cut out three layers of quilter’s batting (it is a cheap, cushy alternative to foam), or foam if you prefer.

This is where they deviate a bit from other tutorials (you can skip this step if you’d prefer).  Once cut out, affix the batting to the chair seat with a few staples so you’re not wrestling with it and the fabric simultaneously.  After affixing, trim some of the excess batting for less bulk in the finished product.

Throughout the whole process, stop periodically and check fitment.  You don’t want bunches of fabric on the underside of the seat where it will be affixed to the chair frame.

With the batting wrangled into submission, trace and cut out the fabric (making sure the pattern is “facing” the same way on each chair).  You can use the old fabric as a template.

Begin upholstering by pulling the fabric tautly and stapling in a few staples on one side, then the opposite side, checking the alignment and also the tension. These first few staples really anchor your fabric, so take your time.  It helps to have a second set of hands so one person can hold the fabric and the other can staple.
Keep working your way around the seat, pulling the fabric tight and stapling.  Pull corners especially smooth, even if that means you have a bunch of excess fabric a few inches from the edge.
For corners, we pull tightly and keep checking the make sure it looks sharp from the top.  To tackle the bunching, we make slits in the excess fabric once it’s stapled in place.  This allows us to overlap the fabric and really staple it down smoothly.  It is hard to take a photo of that because this print is so busy when zoomed in on.
They even add a second “ring” of staples so everything is smooth.
When you’re done, you can add a cut-to-size piece of no-fray, very thin material to make the work look a bit tidier (for anyone who happens to be hanging out under your chair, I guess).  This involves more staples.

And that’s it!  Reaffix the seat to your chair and host a dinner party.
I love the complete set…
I love Tanya’s message for future DIY-ers.  Anyone who is ambitious enough to remove the staple overkill happening here will be affronted by this message:
Want to see more of Tanya’s DIY fabulous-ness?  Pop over to Dans le Townhouse and say hello!

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