Ever consider reupholstering something, but intimidated by that process? Here’s a great way to get your feet wet… start on a small upholstery project, like this child’s vintage rocking chair re-do project I’m about to show you.
Our youngest grandson turned 1 this fall, and his daddy, (our son) loved his little rocking chair when he was a wee lad, so when I spotted this child’s vintage rocking chair at a yard sale this last Spring, I immediately thought of our grandson.
Even though the vintage rocking chair was currently a bit, er… ugly… it was sturdy and I had faith it could be re-done and look very cute. Even cute enough for me to feel good about giving it to our grandson and him hopefully, eventually loving it as much as his daddy loved his own little rocking chair.
Here’s the thing, I am not by any means a professional re-upholsterer. So if you’re reading this, and you are one, don’t laugh too hard at how I approached my little project. I just did it the way it made sense for me, with my limited tools, and basic knowledge of reupholstering. I’m sure there are tricks up a professional’s sleeve to re-do this vintage rocking chair. But this post, and this blog for that matter, is all about encouraging you non-professional upholsters and decorators with a desire to make your surroundings functional and beautiful and to show you that even with limited knowledge and tools I, and you can do it!
So, I started by ripping the old fabric and padding off the seat.
Then I sprayed primer and several coats of paint on the vintage chair.
Next came the padding…
I basically cut the piece of padding as I was fitting it on the chair, taking out the corners for the front and back corners, but leaving enough to wrap down to the very bottom edge of the front, back and sides. This wasn’t the most efficient way to do this, I’m sure, but since I was just doing 1 chair and not a bunch, I could take the time and fiddle around with it just so.
The padding is secured to the chair by using a hot-melt glue gun. The reason I glued the padding first, before the fabric goes on, was to help prevent the padding from moving around under the fabric and bunching up.
Then, moving on to the fabric. For that, unlike the padding where I cut out the square corner,
I instead cut a diagonal cut from the corner into just where the fabric of the seat hit the arm support, then folded back that fabric, creating a right angle with no raw edges.
Also, for the fabric, I made sure to leave enough length around the bottom, to allow the extra needed to wrap around and attach on the bottom inside.
Here you can see what I mean… the fabric comes around and is glue-gunned all along the inside edge, securing it well. (my electric staple gun doesn’t work anymore… it sends out a bunch of staples at the same time and makes a mess! I need to get a new electric or manual one for projects like this, but I’m not sure what to look for… any tips would be greatly appreciated!!!)
Next, to finish off the bottom and add a little bit of pizzazz, I made some welting in a contrasting blue-ish polka dot fabric.
I didn’t have any normal welt cording, so I used some jute cording that worked great. Then with a zipper foot, and my sewing machine needle position all the way to the right, I could get a nice tight fit for it.
Here’s a close up of the welt. I folded and tucked the ends, so that when I placed and glued it on the bottom edges, it wouldn’t have any raw edges exposed.
Then one more little detail…
Along the side little edge of the fabric on the corners, I wanted to add a little handsome detail for our little fella that notices and will gently touch with the tiny tip of his finger all the minute details…
There, just 2 brads on the short sides to give it a finished detail. You can also see the welting edge glued along the bottom.
Ta-da! All done. Isn’t it cute? The fabric I selected looked to me like a vintage fabric from the 1930’s, which is probably about when this child’s vintage rocking chair was made.
The rocking chair has since been given to our grandson and he’s learning how to crawl up and sit down in it. And talk about cute!… oh my word!
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