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For some time I have been a fan of Kelly Swallow who sells the most beautiful bright patchwork chairs. Last year I discovered Pillar Box Blue blog, Claire has a love of reusing denim in projects and has recovered a office chair in patchwork denim. The inspiration from these two creative women sparked the idea of recovering a bedroom chair in random patch pieces of denim to create my own denim chair.
If you have been following me for a while you will know that a competition can be the push for me to try my hand at a project otherwise at contemplation stage. Last week Gumtree held their third year of National Upcycling Week, with a chance to win a weekend in an upcycled hotel in Vienna… Entries are in the form of picture of items you have upcycled. So my search for a suitable chair to upcycle with denim intensified!
I found this gem of a chair, not in a great state it has to be said!
The people I bought it from live all of six miles away, they were a delight to meet. Alice had inherited the Victorian/Georgian chair (?) but felt it was time the chair had a new home. Ten days later the chair is transformed.
I did attempt to make a time lapse video to share with you, technology and daylight defeated me part way through the process but I am sharing with you the video I did manage:)
This is how I tackled the project – please bear in mind if you fancy doing this yourself this was my first time at upholstery and I am by no means an expert!! In particular I found this video a great help.
- About 8 pairs of old jeans
- Staple gun ( I used a heavy weight staple gun but I do like the look of electric staple guns)
- Sewing machine with denim sewing needles and walking foot
- Self Cover Buttons
- Upholstery tacking strip
Strip the chair back, keeping the old fabric as a template.
Wash and clean the wood, paint with chalk paint and then seal with wax.
Prep denim fabric, take your various jeans apart using a seam ripper. Piece together in a random patchwork design using the seams folds as your joins. Pin then stitch together – I recommend a jean sewing machine needle and a walking foot..
I have chosen to remove all waistbands due to the bulk of fabric due to the thought of trying to pull this neatly over the chair frame.
Prepare the frame with hessian over the springs.
Create a newspaper template for a foam base, cut out and place on the seat. Alternatively find a lovely upholstery company like Norfolk Upholstery who will prep your foam for you and provide the tacking tape etc.. (they were a complete delight, I am hoping they will start running upholstery courses). Do think about fire safety and ensure you buy suitable products.
Place your denim over the seat, pull and staple in the middle of the four sides (underneath the chair). Gradually work your way out. Cut a v shape out of your denim for the corners of the arm hole, fold the fabric under around the wood, stretch and staple underneath the chair. Cut and fold your denim in a similar fashion for the back legs of the chair. Pull the fabric around the sides to the back of the chair.
Cut and place your foam for the back piece, using your staple gun hold in place around the sides and top of the wooden frame.
Place your denim over the foam, staple taught around the wooden frame pulling the bottom piece through and underneath the chair.
If you wish to add buttons now’s the moment. I have covered self cover buttons with pale denim in keeping with the chair, measured, marked with tailors chalk and sewn on through the layers of denim foam and hessian.
Turn your chair round, cover the back with hessian (this helps prevent the denim sagging).
Place your back piece of denim over the top of the chair right sides matching, place a strip of tacking tape on tip and across the frame, staple in place.
Position metal strips down the side the back of the chair, staple gun in place. Pull your denim back over the back and trim to fit the metal strips. Stretch taught vertically and staple under the chair.
Feed the denim into the metal strip and hammer shut. Fold under the raw edge along the top of the back legs and then staple underneath the chair to hold in place.
Lastly finish around the front legs. I followed this video’s instructions.
For my first attempt at upholstery I am delighted with the result, it’s not perfect but it never was going to be. Personally I love the combination of the traditional bedroom chair with modern old jeans.
Thanks to Gumtree for the chair, PACT charity shop for the jeans, Norfolk Upholstery for supplies and general cheerfulness and for you tuber’s sharing upholstery video’s.
Other denim projects you may like:-