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Do you have an old armchair that is looking dated but otherwise is still comfortable and nice? Pieces like that are the perfect candidates for new upholstery. Upholstery projects can look really intimidating, but if you take your time and work step-by-step they aren’t as tricky as they seem. If you can use a staple gun and do simple sewing, you can re-upholster a chair.

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Here’s our chair that we’re giving a makeover. The frame of the chair is still sturdy and the cushions and plush and comfortable to sit on, but the upholstery is dated and we just weren’t loving the look of it anymore. We’re going to recover this chair in floral fabric from P/Kaufmann and remove the skirt from the bottom to give it a more modern feel.

Different chairs can be very different on the insides, but many of the principles are the same, so although your chair may not be exactly like ours, you can use the techniques outlined in the video to redo most any upholstered chair.

Since we chose a patterned fabric for our chair, you will see Cindi carefully patterning the fabric pieces so the main flower in our pattern is centered on the chair. This does use more fabric and takes a little more thought, but the end result will look professional. She breaks down all of her methods in the video, so you’ll also be able to align your fabric’s pattern in the most eye-catching way.

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To watch the full video and find the materials and tools list for this blog, please visit Sailrite.com and search #200668XHT.

You can find all the materials and tools needed to complete your own re-upholstery project at Sailrite.com.

Have you ever re-upholstered a furniture piece? Are you up for the challenge? Share your experiences or ask your questions in the comments!

If you’ve been watching our latest videos, then you’ve probably noticed Cindi, our new resident upholstery expert. We’re so excited that she’s here to share her expertise with all of you. We have a lot of great upholstery projects in the works with Cindi, so let’s get to know her a little better. I recently asked Cindi some questions about her sewing experience, her favorite projects and her experience at Sailrite. Take a look!

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Q: How long have you been sewing? Which came first, upholstery or sewing?

A: I have been sewing for as long as I can remember. My mother was an amazing seamstress and with her help and a terrific Home Ec teacher I have been able to make sewing in some form my lifelong career. Sewing did come before upholstery. Before I started working in the home decor area I mostly made clothing.

I have worked in fabric stores, drapery workrooms, doing alterations, upholstery and now [I] make cushions for an outdoor furniture company, long arm quilt, and work at Sailrite. My husband and I had an upholstery business and have worked together for most of our marriage and now we only make cushions. It has enabled me to be at home while our children were growing up and now be available to be Grannie!

Q: How long have you been doing upholstery?

A: I have been upholstering since I graduated from college in 1978. I realized after graduating—actually during school—that I didn’t have the competitive spirit needed for a buying position in the fashion world and since I had fallen for a guy in Indiana I knew that Indiana was not the place to pursue fashion careers! My parents had a sofa they needed to get rid of or re-do so they gave me the opportunity to give it a try and I have been reupholstering ever since.

Q: How did you learn to re-upholster?

A: I learned by making mistakes! It’s a pretty straightforward process and I already had sewing skills so it was mostly trial and error—take it apart and start over if it didn’t work!

Q: What are your favorite projects to work on?

A: I’m not sure I have a favorite project—I just love to sew!

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Q: What do you like about working here at Sailrite?

A: The best part about working at Sailrite is the excitement I felt the first time I was in the building! Good things are happening here and the people who work here are positive and excited about what is coming up in the future and most of all I get to sew and be creative!

Q: Do you use a Sailrite sewing machine at home? What is your favorite Sailrite product?

A: I do have a Sailrite machine at home, [a Sailrite 111] and so far my favorite product is Seamstick—that tape is awesome! It’s like having an extra hand! I hope to use a lot more of the products and have a new favorite every few weeks!

Q: What are some fun facts you’d like to share about yourself?

A: Not sure about that one—I am originally from Connecticut and I miss the trees the most! My husband and I ride a Harley and we went to the Sturgis rally a couple years ago and loved it! It is beautiful out there! And no we did not ride the bike from here to there-my brother has a camper and we put the bikes in the camper and rode them out west and drove the camper back! My very favorite movie is How the Grinch Stole Christmas—I cry through the whole thing!


Thanks, Cindi! We’re so excited to have you as part of the Sailrite crew.

Excited to learn more about upholstery? One of our latest upholstery videos featuring Cindi will be on the blog next week, you won’t want to miss it!

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Our ottoman before

Does this little black ottomans look familiar to you? Small ottomans like this have been mass-produced by big box stores and are common features of many living rooms. If you have a little worn-out ottoman like this, we’re going to show you how you can reupholster it to give it new life and a more unique look.

A small project like this is a great place to start if you’re interested in learning more about re-upholstery. This project isn’t complicated and really was almost more of a slipcover than upholstery. To recover this ottoman we sewed together a cover that would fit snugly around the foam and then stapled it securely to the ottoman’s base. Then we added a custom button to the top to re-create the tuft on the original ottoman.

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Ottoman after

For upholstery projects you’ll want to use a sturdy fabric that can withstand being pulled taut. Pieces that will see a lot of daily use should be upholstered with a fabric that has a high double rub count for the best longevity. You can find the double rubs rating listed on almost every fabric at Sailrite in the ‘features’ on the product page. Since our ottoman was relatively small, we chose a fabric with a small-scale design to better fit the piece.

For the full video and materials list, visit Sailrite.com and search #200664XHT.

We have a lot of other great re-upholstery tutorials in the works, so be on the lookout for those throughout the summer. Be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

Are you interested in furniture re-upholstery? What kinds of projects would you like to see? Share your ideas with us in the comments!

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