I did something scary: I decided I was going to learn how to reupholster a wingback chair that I had bought at the thrift store. First of all, I don’t typically buy upholstered furniture from the thrift store. I’m afraid it’s full of critters and creatures. But there was something so beautiful about this chair that I couldn’t turn away.
In case you’re wondering, I had found this vintage wingback chair for $60 at Value Village and Unique Thrift here in Maryland, so if you’re ever in the area, you must go. Best prices in town and a great selection (the ReStore is also a great place to buy furniture).
Contents – How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair
PART 1: Breaking Down a Wingback Chair
PART 2: (Continued) Breaking Down a Wingback Chair
PART 3: Adding Webbing to Wingback Chair
PART 4: Replacing the Seat Springs
PART 5: Finishing Up Springs, Webbing, and Coconut Fiber
PART 6: Creating and Sewing a Pattern for Seat and Arms
PART 7: Reupholstering the Seat and Front
PART 8: Reupholstering Arms and Wings
PART 9: Reupholstering the Back and Outside
PART 10: Reupholstering the Seat Cushion
I literally walked away from it, begrudgingly…..only because I hate the thought of lugging upholstered stuff home from the thrift store that can’t get tossed in the washer and dryer. I am afraid that every fabric from the thrift store is infested with some nastiness that I don’t want to bring into my house.
Finding a great desk or table is one thing……..finding a chair with lots of nooks and crannies for bugs to hide is another thing.
It freaks me out.
My vintage chair makeover that I reupholstered prior to this wingback chair was one of those “Oh, God, please let this thing be bug-free” and it sat in my garage forever waiting until I felt anything in it had died or crawled out. LOL…..whew, it was okay, thankfully. 🙂
The color of this wingback chair looked pretty, until I removed the cushion. If you were to look up sun-bleached, I do believe you’d see a picture of the wingback chair next to it. That meant one thing: this wingback chair must be reupholstered.
How to Reupholster a Wingback Chair From the Thrift Store
I signed up for a local upholstery class and decided to tackle this behemoth of a chair: a $60 wingback chair that sat in my garage for a whopping 4 years.
The biggest worries were: how in the world do I start this project?? How do I break down this wingback chair to reupholster it? How in the world do I put it back together again??
Clearly, I wasn’t going to complete this project in a weekend…
But as I completed sections of it, I posted the videos to my YouTube channel, including a bunch of reupholstering tips that I’d learned along the way!
This is what this gorgeous chair looked like before I got started. You may be thinking, “But that fabric is gorgeous!” Yes, I agree. But remember--the sun did a number on that gorgeous fabric!
The chair smelled very old and disgusting, like a neglected piece of “wonderful” that just needed a facelift.
After hours of tentatively tearing down this wingback chair, this reupholstered wingback chair was getting a makeover!
The new webbing wasn’t difficult to put in (see PART 3 below) and the rest of the chair needed to be cleaned up. I’ll admit that I totally underestimated the time it would take to finish this chair. I thought 6 sessions of upholstery classes would be enough, but boy was I wrong! This chair was very complex. Every little step felt like a huge win, as well as an impossible mountain to climb! In the end, I signed up for 3 sessions of the 6-week classes (18 classes, give or take depending on my availability). And I still wasn’t done!
Because this project was so huge, I have been posting updates to this blog post as I complete it.
For now, though, let’s jump right in and see what progress has been made! You can always watch the entire series on my YouTube channel.
Materials Needed to Reupholster a Wingback Chair
Buying all the materials added to the cost of reupholstering this wingback chair, but if upholstery is a hobby that you plan to do often, then the costs will be spread out over all the projects you’ll work on.
(I participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites).
- About 9-10 yards of fabric. I used this pretty blue velvet from Fabric.com (affiliate link).
- Upholstery staple gun
- Quiet air compressor for a staple gun
- Air compressor hose
- 1/4″ air compressor connectors
- Staple remover
- Jute webbing
- Webbing Stretcher
- Cotton piping
- Dacron polyester batting
- Cotton batting (by the roll)
- Coir coconut fibre stuffing (I can only find this sold in the UK, or you can call G Street Fabrics, which is my local fabric store)
- Spring twine
- Tufting twine
- Dust cover
- 3/8 staples
- Cardboard tack strip
- Flex-Grip (also called Curve Ease)
- Sewing machine
If you’re freaking out over how many materials are needed to reupholster a wingback chair, you’re right to freak out. It’s a lot. And some of them aren’t cheap materials!
That’s why after going through this reupholstery project, I have a new admiration and respect for upholstery. As a DIYer, it makes sense to invest in these tools and materials if you’re planning to upholster more than one chair. It’s good to build your upholstery toolbox. But if you’re only planning to do one chair, then I would recommend paying a professional. While the cost is expensive, it could be just as expensive and time consuming for you to do it yourself.
If you’re like me and you absolutely love the learning process and plan to use the materials again, then go for it!
For the amount of money I have spent on classes, fabric, and materials I probably could have bought 3 or 4 brand new wingback chairs from Home Goods. HA! However, I do have to say that neither of those chairs would have been as solid and high-quality as my wingback chair!
Anyhow, watch the evolution of this wingback chair makeover below through all the footage I have been filming and posting on my YouTube channel!
Part 1 of 10: How to Break Down a Wingback Chair
In this video, go inside with me to my upholstery class and see how to get started with taking a wingback chair apart. This was the scariest part because I had no idea how to get started! Once I started removing pieces, layer by layer, it wasn’t too difficult! Time-consuming, yes….
Not at all!
Part 2 of 10: (Continued) Breaking Down a Wingback Chair
In this video, I continue to tear down the chair, learning some valuable reupholstery skills along the way.
Part 3 of 10: Adding Webbing to Wingback Chair
In this video, I finally finished 99% of the tearing down of this chair, followed by attaching the new webbing.
I learned how to stretch webbing and how to secure it into place!
Also, don’t miss the reveal of the gorgeous fabric I selected for this chair!
Part 4 of 10: Replacing the Seat Springs
It took a bit of time to tie down the springs and to tie them together. I have to admit that I was nervous about this part because it looked so complicated! But with a little bit of practice, I did it! See how the seat springs turned out!
Part 5 of 10: Finishing Springs, Webbing, Coconut Fiber Filling
In this video, you’ll see how I stitched in the coconut fiber to the seat using a double-pointed needle and twine.
Part 6 of 10: Creating a Pattern for Seat and Arms and Sewing
By this point, all of the burlap pieces should be added to the chair, however, in this case, there is still layer of burlap that is needed to cover the back of the chair, along with stitching down the coconut fiber to the back of the chair.
However, for this part of the wingback chair makeover, we could get started on the front of the seat and the arms. Keep watching to see the progress made!
Part 7 of 10: Finishing the Seat and Front
In PART 7 of this video series, I show you how the instructor and I finished the seat and the front, and started on upholstering the arms.
Part 8 of 10: Reupholstering the Arms and Wings
In this video, I walk you through finishing off the arms of the wingback chair, along with finishing the wings. I didn’t capture as much video for this step because I was trying to pay attention to what the instruction was saying. HA! Filming and paying attention are difficult to do at the same time. 😉
Part 9 of 10 – Reupholstering the Back and Outside
In this video, I was all out of upholstery classes so it was up to me to finish off the back and outside of the chair on my own! Although it wasn’t perfect, I think I did a pretty good job!
Part 10 of 10 – Reupholstering the Wingback Chair Seat Cushion