Friday, October 29, 2010

This week's project: reupholstering the parrot chair (finally).

I found a lot of things in our backyard shed as I cleaned it out this summer. Most of it a bit revolting and covered in mud wasp nests. Some of it interesting and salvageable. And a few treasures - like my sewing table & chair and this hat from Clay's grandpa:

And an antique couch and chair that used to reside in our living room way back in the day. It took me a couple months of gathering fabric, padding, tools and tips before I had enough courage to actually tackle my first real upholstery job. Clay helped me with the hard part - ripping off all of the old nasty fabric and padding and staples. We used scissors, pliers (twisting the fabric around them for more pulling leverage) and brute force. Clay then did a quick refinishing job on the wood trim (read: all Saturday afternoon). And then it was my turn.

Here is the chair in all of its former glory. Awaiting its new fate in the dark depths of our garage:

As we started to pull off the old fabric. I wrote a whole technical report for myself so I could remember how to put all the pieces back together again.

Armed with a stapler, upholstery thread & needle, staple hammer, steel furniture tacks, and hot glue gun I started cutting out the new fabric pieces using the old pieces as a pattern. I tried not to think too much about the fact that the old fabric smelled quite strongly like a cat litter box. That is why we stripped the chair down to the bare bones. This is the chair frame with burlap covering the springs, and I'd already started on the arms:

Margaret and William were very patient with my two day obsession with upholstering. In fact they thought it was great fun to roll around on all of the padding.

Two days later - after I completely depleted our store of staples and glue gun sticks and pricked myself entirely too many times while sewing - I was able to enjoy the finished product. Our lovely new parrot chair:

Peshewa is so happy that I made a new chair for her.

And my next project is to get that sewing machine in working condition before I tackle the couch. I would prefer not to have to hand sew all the cushions and welting cord pieces again.

I'll leave you with a sneak peek of the couch in its glory days:

That's it sitting in our living room in the early 80's (I believe). And if the man on the right bares a striking resemblance to Clay there's a good reason for that.


  1. WOW! I Love it!! Way to go! I began on this journey with a beloved green chair, and have been stalled out. I wish you could come finish it for me! :) You did such a fab job!