Friday, July 11, 2014


These three gems are a few of my most loved roadside finds!  Over the space of two years I rescued each one separately from various curb-side council pick-ups.  I love their shape, and I love the way they combine different elements -  metal, timber, and now fabric!  This simple re-upholster will work with any chair that has a removable seat - you'll have to tweak it a little for chairs that are one whole unit, but the general idea is the same.  

What you need
  • Old chair
  • New foam for seat (I've used an offcut from a larger re-upholstery job)
  • Electric bread knife
  • Upholstery fabric (you'll want something sturdy and perhaps stain resistant)
  • Piping (I've used my chosen fabric and some cord and made my own to match)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Staple gun 
  • Marking pen / pencil
  • Sewing machine
  • Electric Drill
If the seat base needs to be replaced too
  • Plywood
  • Jigsaw 
  • Earmuffs

How to
  1. Remove old vinyl seat from chair (you may need to use a bit of force if the old screws / staples are rusted!)
  2. Trace old seat shape onto new foam
  3. Cut foam with electric bread knife - following the traced line
  4. If new seat base is needed - trace old seat shape onto plywood and cut out with jigsaw
  5. Place new foam on wrong side of fabric and trace outline
  6. Cut around traced line, leaving 1cm seam allowance
  7. Measure the thickness of foam and perimeter of seat, and cut fabric to form the sides of seat cover, adding 5cm to width for under-seat overlap (perimeter = length of fabric piece; foam thickness = width of fabric piece)
  8. Cut piping to the same length as fabric piece for cover sides
  9. Straight stitch the piping to the seat cover - lining up the raw edges (start at the back edge of cushion so that piping cannot be seen)
  10. Fold over the end of the cover side fabric to create a hemmed edge and straight stitch to the cover seat - lining up the raw edges (steps 9 + 10 can be combined if you are confident of your alignment skills!)
  11. Overlock / zig zag the raw edges
  12. Straight stitch the two ends of the cover sides on the overlap, to enclose the seat cover
  13. Place your seat cushion inside cover, and place seat base on top of cushion
  14. Turn upside down and hold cover fabric in place as you attach with staple gun - begin with the corners, then move to the centre of each side, working your way around the seat to create even tension
  15. Place reupholstered seat onto chair base, drill holes in position, and screw seat in place 
Good luck! 


  1. Nice! I like the seventies feel of the fabrics you picked, a wonderful final touch!

    1. thanks! The green is from my Grandmothers sewing cupboard - double treasure : )

  2. How great that you have managed to rescue a set over time!! It is always nice to update chair seats to your own style isn't it. xx

  3. Wow wonderful way to decorate your dining chair at cheap way, I really like your ideas and thanks for sharing the post with us. I recommend you online sources where you find lots of dining chair in different styles and much more stuff at cheap rates.

  4. Love the lines of these chairs, and this is inspiring me to finally do something with the seat of a similar one I've had for several years now.

    1. Do it! surprisingly easy and so rewarding : )

  5. I love the shape of these! Fabulous!

  6. That you found three chairs to match in three different places and three different times is amazing! Great job of "rescue" and a great tutorial. I redid my dining room chairs and it was easy peasy.

    1. Good one! I know - I do pride myself on being somewhat of a roadside fiend..!

  7. my eyeballs are hearting all over this project. what a beautiful looking chair. yum-my! xx

  8. Those chairs are absolutely gorgeous. What great pick ups.


Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em