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I made a chair!

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

I made a chair! I mean, not quite... but I put fabric on a cushion and it very much looks like I made a chair. I should probably say I reupholstered a chair. It was a lot of work and it involved a heavy-duty staple gun and hundreds and hundreds of staples. Here's what I started with: A dreary seat cushion from a friend's old chair. 

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

Deconstruction. This took the longest time and was the hardest work. I love to wrap my mind around how things are made, so I was excited to discover the various layers that make up this cushion. 

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

The cushion is built on a wooden frame. The seating area is supported only by a network of wide straps. Luckily, these were still tight and in good condition. 

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

Everything was held in place by - literally - hundreds and hundreds of staples that I had to remove. Whenever I thought I was done, I found one more row of staples hidden behind another!

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

After removing the main fabric, I found layers of different paddings and cushioning materials. It appears the cushion had been seriously affected by humidity at one point in its long life. One corner was completely molded. Ugh. So all the cushioning had to go. I tried to replace the different layers by looking for the SAME materials in fabric, diy and hardware stores around town - but had no luck. No one could tell me what the thick, pillowy material was or how I should replace it. Only then did I think of the most obvious: Why not ask my local upholsterer! I happen to live around the corner of a tiny upholstery business. It's one of those places that seems to have been here forever. I'm glad I overcame my initial reservations as to what a professional upholsterer might think of my amateurish attempts at his craftmanship. I went in and got a good load of tips and encouragement. I also found out the mysterious material was, in fact, pure untreated cotton wadding. They don't seem to use pure cotton for upholstery anymore, so instead I got a much more modern and moldfree material: rubber foam.

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

After the rubber foam was cut in shape and glued to the wooden frame, I added a layer of polyester interfacing. I attached this layer and also the main fabric with an electric staple gun and I'm telling you: This is SO MUCH FUN! It also felt a little dangerous and it probably was. But even the more fun.

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

After attaching the poly interfacing: More stapling to attach the main fabric. It was a bit tricky around the corners, where fabric bulks up. I managed to smooth the layers quite flat though. I then cut off the excess fabric and added a lighter cotton fabric to the bottom of the cushion (more stapling!). This extra layer hides all the insides of the cushion and the unfinished edges of the main fabric. My main fabric is a heavy canvas from Birch fabrics with the dreamiest woodland print. I had this in my stash and thought it appropriate to use as my first upholstery project. It is, however, not a proper upholstery fabric, so I'll have to see how well it holds up. Once this fabric is worn, it will be easy to replace though, since the insides have all been neatly reconstructed.

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

And here is the finished thing. Posing in various corners of our friend's flat. Pretty, no?

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden
upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

I think I might be getting into upholstery a little. I feel like I have a crush already and since sewing has become my profession... I'm in need of a new hobby. So this might be it...

 

Have you dabbled in upholstery? I'm eager to hear about it!

xxx

Mirjam

upholstering a chair by atelier goldfaden

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Atelier Goldfaden/Mirjam Liechti, 3012 Bern