Anyone else tried DIY upholstery?

We're currently doing up what I refer to as our 'front room' - technically supposed to be the formal lounge/dining area, but we have only ever used it for storing rubbish. We're going with a modernised French provincial look (if there is such a thing). Green walls and white bookcases, desk, lounge etc (one of the benefits of not having kids - white leather couch is an option for us!).

As part of this, I had a brainwave and thought I'd paint and recover a pre-loved armchair I picked up. The woodwork will be white and the new material is a natural colour with a sheen to it, so it should fit in nicely once finished. However the project has somehow gone from a straightforward 'paint and recover' to 'completely reupholster'. After six solid hours of patiently chipping away, I've finally managed to remove (almost) all of the layers.

So now I have a question. Is the webbing in the seat of the chair really badly done? Or is it just me?? Some feedback would be most appreciated. I'm going to undo the webbing and redo it much tighter, but wanted to know if anybody had a more informed opinion on the webbing I'm going to be replacing.

Assistance/info would be greatly appreciated! :confused:


  • Chair - original condition.jpg
    Chair - original condition.jpg
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  • Chair - original webbing shown.jpg
    Chair - original webbing shown.jpg
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For comparison purposes, this was more what I was expecting to find with the webbing (and is representative of what I will do, to replace the existing webbing):


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The first webbing looks ok to me. Ihave reupholstered a few items and find the secret is to pull final fabric really tight, I havent tried diamond buttoning though and obviouslythat wouldnt require tight tension. I think I would put a piece of fabric over the back, diamond button it, then cut off the excess around the edges, staple edges down and then cover with glued on braid, then put on the back of the chair and staple and braid that. On the last complicated thing I made a 'toille' first, a test in cheap calico sewed up in tacking stitch, then you can pull it apart and use it as a pattern.
I did my apprenticeship as a upholsterer many years ago.I would say the 1st pic the webbing was light on,the 2nd pic is what it should look like,but i am 30 years behind how it is done today.
Hi all, and thank you for your responses! Thought I'd post a pic of the webbing I ended up going for, and also the final product.

Webbing (ran out when nearly finished, hence the black mixed with the natural colour, plus back and one arm upholstery and springs:


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    chair mid way.jpg
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And a final pic. You'll note I didn't go the diamond buttoning, I just wanted a plain look for the back.

Thanks again for everyone's input. It's much appreciated :)
Jen :)


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Can you pop over to my parents place near you and steal the 3 chairs like that she has in her garage and have been on her 'to do' list for at least 18mths in various states of being pulled apart. They are driving my Dad nuts!
Myf, if you deliver them to me in the dead of night, I will do my best with them ;)
Thanks for the feedback. The chair does look good. Only problem is it's bloody uncomfortable. It's now the largest dust collector in the house. :rolleyes:

Next on the list is stripping back a wooden coffee table, refinishing the top and painting the legs etc white. Not really sure what I'm going to do with it, as it doesn't really work in the room due to its size. I couldn't pass it up though - it was free!! :eek:
Wow that looks awesome. You did an amazing job surely it wasn't your first time.

I'm looking at updating my dining chairs soon which will require upholstering but nothing as complex as yours thank god. Will post pics if I ever et around to it.

Must say you have inspired me.
Thanks for the compliments! I can assure you that with all the information available on the net, you are not alone in trying DIY stuff out. Thank goodness for google and youtube!

Angel, have a look at the underneath of your chairs - if they just have a 'drop in' seat, then it will just be a matter of removing some screws and/or staples, putting the new fabric over the seat padding, and reattaching. Dining chairs can be extremely easy to do (I did some for one of our properties a little while ago). You can recover them with a staple gun and heavy duty staples, plus material - I got my staple gun from Spotlight.

This was my first 'proper' upholstery attempt and it definitely isn't perfect - you can see some obvious staples when you actually look at the chair in person, but I'm happy with it for a first attempt. ;)