Sunday, October 26, 2008

More...or less!

Continued from Friday's post

So, we have our old fabric from our chair ready to be used as a pattern, and we've decided where our hair-on leather should go on our chair. We've made our cushion, being careful to remember to allow for any imprinted grain on our vinyl to flow in the right direction.

We're now ready to cut into the precious, expensive, lovely, expensive (oh, have I said that?) hair-on leather. First, we're going to place the pattern pieces on the hide to make sure they all fit. IMPORTANT: Make sure the flow of the hair is going the same direction on all pieces. And that direction is DOWNWARD!

If you can't fit all the desired pieces on your cowhide, decide to make another section or two out of vinyl. Nobody but you will ever notice that the chair didn't turn out like your original plan!

Now start putting your chair back together again. The first piece of covering you took off (the back) will be the last piece you put back on. The last piece you took off (probably the front of the arm if your chair is like mine) will be the first piece you put back on. Get it?

Since you've already made the cushion and covered the cording, there will be no need for your sewing machine again. An air compressor and pneumatic staple gun will save your hands lots of wear and tear but an electric stapler will do nicely. A manual stapler will be heck (I feel so strongly about that that I almost said hell but I restrained myself) on your hands and arms.

Here's an upholsterers trick for places where cording meets another piece of fabric. After stapling the end piece of the arm into place, staple cording around edge. Now put the arm piece upside-down with the bulk of the material hanging over the front of the arm.

If it's hard to envision, check out the little photos where I pretended to cover the already covered arm. Gosh, I'm confusing myself!

Cut a half inch strip of cardboard down the length of a breakfast cereal box. Staple it snug up against the cording and arm piece. See photo. Then pull arm piece back into place its correct position. Stretch and tighten fabric in all directions before stapling.

This might be tricky but with practice you'll have a professional arm. A variation of this is done on the top of the back of the chair.

The decorative nails not only add to the look of the chair but also to the construction. I always use a tiny, tiny drill bit to start the hole before hammering in a nail.

Vinyl is such a forgiving material. It can also be heated with a hair dryer and stretched into place or to get wrinkles out. When I worked at an upholstery shop, we used to place it in the sun before we worked with it. That makes it very pliable.

As you can see by the chair back in the top picture, I decorate under chairs, over chairs, in back of chairs, in front....

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