It only took 2 months but I have finally completed my chair! Turns out the hardest most time consuming part was finding the right fabric. The hardest part was reupholstering it. What was I thinking? I think my confidence was high after my first two chair projects but there is a major difference between these chairs pictured below and a wingback. These chairs are pretty straight forward, especially the dining room chairs. The wingback is a huge fabric puzzle. I don't know that I could do it again...I'm calling this time lucky.
There are no good tutorials online about how to recover a wingback chair. There are a few but none of them get into the nitty gritty about how it's actually done so I just kinda winged it. Pun completely intended and I reserve the right to overuse it through this entire post. I had every intention of dutifully documenting the process and writing the grandaddy of tutorials on how to reupholster a wingback chair. Then I found out why there aren't any tutorials. It's impossible to document everything and once you get in the middle of it there is no way you have an extra hand available to snap a picture. So...I'll give you what I have and wish you luck!
Here's where we started and here is where we ended up.
The first step is deconstruction. When you are doing this the best thing you can do is make a list of what you take off and in what order. You're just going to look at the chair and figure out what seams you can see and what you can take off first. I'll give you an easy one first. Turn the chair over and take off the netting on the very bottom of the chair.
I would also grab a pack of sticky notes and some pins and label everything. It may seem obvious that this is the netting from the bottom of the chair but it's going to be a lot less obvious when you're looking at two angled rectangles and you can't figure out which arm it came off of. Trust me. Label your pieces.
I asked Derrick if he thought real upholsterers had better tools than I do and he laughed at me. Apparently that's pretty obvious. But I'm here to tell you it can be done with just the basics! If you're going to make a hobby out of this I would invest in some better tools but if you are just trying to tackle one chair, it can be done! My tools for the entire project were a manual staple gun (hello sore hands!), a flat head screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and a hammer.
The next piece to come off was the fabric piece on the back of the chair. Just wedge your screwdriver underneath the fabric and pry it up. If it's done well you will not think this is possible when you first look at it, but is is!
Work your way around and peel the back off the chair along the top and side edges until you get down to the bottom. See those nails sticking out of the edge of the fabric? That was a surprise to me! They are very sharp and they are attached to a cardboard strip. The fabric gets folded around the cardboard and the nails get hammered into the chair so that the seam looks nice and clean. I'm sure that didn't make sense. Sorry.
Once you peel the back down to the legs of the chair you've got to remove the piping to expose the staples at the bottom. Screw driver and needle nose pliers time. Pry and work those staples out. Turn on a good show. I'm hooked on Law and Order: SVU at the moment.
Here is a better view of those teeth. See the cardboard on the backside of the fabric and the nails sticking through the fabric? The fabric gets wrapped around the cardboard to make a clean line and the nails get hammered into the chair to hold it in place.
Label your pieces!
Next I worked on the arm. Lots and lots of staple removal here.
And the front of the arm had the teeth.
Label your pieces! And don't forget to add them to your list as you take them off so you can work backwards when reassembling.
So you have the cardboard with the teeth and then you just have cardboard. I saved the ones with the teeth to re-use and purchased the cardboard strips without the teeth because it wasn't too expensive and it got really messed up when I was removing all the staples. These strips are the same concept as the one with teeth. They create a clean edge when you pull the fabric down over them. You'll know what I mean if you see this in your own chair your deconstructing.
Keep taking those staples out!
Same with the piping. Just rip it off and remove the staples. I tried to cut the actual cord out of the piping but it was too much work. If you have the patience to do it, you'll save yourself about $0.75 a yard. I deemed that money well spent to save time and just buy new cord.
The teeth!!! They are sharp! Do not step on them! More to come on that!
Oooooooh, we're halfway there, ooooOOOOO Sing it with me!
Take note. See the fabric that is pulled under the arm here? That's actually from the seat. It gets pulled tight and is stapled to the chair below the arm. This is why it's a giant puzzle. You have to reassemble it in such a way that you can pull certain parts through the seat and through the back and staple them. I took a lot of pictures of the process that I'm not posting here. I used them for reference when reassembling.
During this process it's good to have a husband who likes computers and a dog who likes to sleep. They can keep themselves busy while you are becoming a hunchback. A huge cheerwine helps as well.
Gross batting!! Save it. You won't want to because it's gross. Just do it. You'll reuse it.
What did I tell you. Hunchback. Also, please note my feet in use in this picture. Gotta use what you have! That tupperware next to Crosby is full of staples. I went through two of those. You can also see my old dining room chairs in the background. Finishing his project has been on my To Do list for a long time.
Fast forward to sore hands, a hunchback, and dusty lungs and Taaa Daaaa! You've made progress!! At this point you may be delirious and decide that this is actually the look you were going for. Maybe you've decided that you're going to put the shabby in shabby chic and find the perfect lamps and side table to go with this masterpiece you've created. It will sit in your living room just like this and you will walk by and smile at your creation knowing that those blisters on your hands were well worth it.
Snap out of it! You're not done! Eventually, (in my case 2 months later) you will have renewed energy and it's time to recover that sucker!
The piping comes first! Are you scared of piping? Don't be. It's really easy. My fabric had this line along one edge that was entirely khaki. I thought it would give a nice uniform look to my piping so I just cut along that line. You just want to make sure that your strip is wide enough to wrap around the cord and still leave room to sew.
Then, just sew away! I had 7 yards of fabric so I made seven yards of khaki piping.
All of my pieces had been stacked in order. It's a good thing too because I totally lost my list that showed which order to reassemble it. Thank goodness they were labeled!! I laid all of the old pieces out on my new fabric and used those as patterns. Can you see what I did wrong here? I laid my pieces front sides together. Don't do that. You'll create mirror images of the shape you need. (I speak from experience. If if could be done wrong, I did it wrong during this project). My fabric has a bit of a repeating pattern so I did my best to center those medallions on the pieces that would be noticeable (front, back, and seat cushion). I did not stress about it. I don't suggest you stress about it either.
Remember when I told you those teeth are sharp? Be careful where you keep those laying around. I stepped down right on top of one and had two puncture wounds on the bottom of my foot. Please ignore my desperate need for a pedicure and focus on the blood and how brave I was. My dad is a foot doctor and I just recently had my tetanus shot. I figured if it got infected I had already protected myself against lockjaw and my dad was just a phone call away. With those two safety nets I put a sock on and powered on!
Here are all my cut-out pieces laid in place on the chair. Thank goodness for the labels! You'll be thanking me too if you label your pieces. You'll be cursing if you don't. Did you realize there were this many pieces? Also, I challenge you to re-write this post and count how many times you swap the I and the E in pieces. I bet I would win.
This, my friends, is where I fail you and don't have much more for you. I got too into it and didn't have enough hands. Looks like you might be stuck with a fabric-less chair after all. Just kidding. If I figured it out, you can too! I will point out the most difficult part. These guys. The inside wing. You have to use the cardboard strips and the curve of the wing makes it almost impossible. Mine is nowhere near perfect. Also, see those pushpins? Totally unnecessary. This was just a trial and error period when I was figuring out what would work.
It took me four hours to get this far.
And an entire day to finish the rest. My apartment looked like this. Thankfully my husband is not a neat freak by nature and dealt a lot better with this then I would have if it hadn't been my mess.
Oh, here's a good picture of those cardboard strips I was talking about. See it along the top edge? See how I folded the fabric up and over so that just the top edge of the fabric was visible? I then pressed the cardboard strip up tight against the piping and stapled through the cardboard and the fabric.
Then when you pull the fabric back down you have a clean line and the fabric has been stapled in place! Brilliant! You use the teeth strips on the side. That is not as easy.
This post got way out of hand and super long. If you're still reading, bravo to you!! Here's a another look at the final product! It's definitely not perfect but I'm pretty proud of this one. It was not easy and it looks pretty darn good. Better from far away, but still pretty good up close.
We had a crazy weekend and saw lots and lots of good friends. That made it a great weekend, but a very full one. This weekend we got a dose of Nikki and Justin at the climbing gym, Steve and Somer, also at climbing, but also at their new house! I love seeing happy clients in their new homes! The next morning I was up and running for a showing (which has lead to an offer whoop whoop!) and then Alexander and Holly came into town for the game, some climbing, and a dinner date. Alexander is moving back to Durham so we're excited to be seeing more of him soon. Then Sunday morning Blue came for brunch!! I hadn't seen Blue since my St. Louis trip with the girls and it was so great to see her and catch up. After that, more climbing with Travis and Claire and then off to a going away party for one of our Frisbee friends at Dave and Busters.
Are you out of breath reading that run-on sentence? Cause I am and that's how this weekend felt. Like a run-on sentence. It was awesome though. I love seeing good friends and catching up with everybody.
Friends are hard-work. And not in a bad way, don't get me wrong. But as I've gotten older it gets harder and harder to stay in touch and I come to realize that it really takes effort to see everybody and keep up with what is going on with everybody. In college I would see most people on my way to class or I would have a regular meal date with them or see them 3x a week at Frisbee practice. Now that everybody is scattered, it's harder. But it's so worth it!
Also, my crazy weekend led me to a doh! moment that I hope my parents will forgive me for! In my slivers of seconds running around I would say "We need to Call Mom and Dad!" And then someone would call or something would happen and I'd be on to the next thing. That happened probably 4 times yesterday! And then at 11:30 I sat straight up in bed and slammed my hand to my forehead while realizing it was probably too late to call Mom and Dad and settled on a midnight text message.
Mom and Dad! Happy Anniversary!! 29 years is truly amazing! From walking in on you lovebirds kissing in the kitchen everyday growing up to now, when it has become so much more clear to me how amazingly you complement each other, I could not have asked for better role models for my marriage. Cheers to you both!
I picked a fabric!! Can you believe it? It's only taken oh...TWO MONTHS!! And I'm actually committed to this fabric now because it's already on the chair. At least partially. My first idea was this fabric that I fell in love with and got at bargain price of $4 a yard.
And then I put it on my chair and did an instagram poll and decided that the pattern was too busy for a full fabric wingback chair.
So my lovely friend Alison suggested I recover my dining room chairs in the fabric and I LOVE how they turned out! That gave me confidence in choosing fabric again because after it didn't work for the wingback I was second guessing myself for falling in love with the fabric. You can see the start of the Harry Potter scarves and cornhole bags in this picture too. Sometimes I get in over my head...
Well...then I hunted online and in stores for a not over the top expensive fabric and I actually ended up buying this. Didn't know that did you? It's because it got returned promptly. It's a shower curtain from Target and it was on sale for $10. I bought three of them. Then I put it over the chair and Derrick and I decided it was too much. Ugh...
Back to square one and back to the store went the shower curtains.
Then I ordered fabric samples from an online fabric store. Nope...not going to work.
Here's the problem. I wanted something kind of neutral but I didn't want the chair to be boring. I also really liked the idea of linen on the chair but linen is expensive. Fast forward to earlier this week when I went back to my favorite new fabric store and Ahhhhhhhhhh (that's a high pitch angels are singing type ahhhh).
It's official so if you hate it, don't tell me! It's already halfway a quarter of the way on the chair. I love it! It's a linen feeling fabric and is still neutral while having just enough interest in the pattern. It wasn't super cheap at $9 a yard but that's also not super expensive for upholstery fabric.
I have put over four hours into the chair and gotten this far.
And my apartment looks like a tornado has gone through it. Who thought this was a good idea? There are no good wingback reupholstery tutorials online and I think it's because people start them and then try that first inside wing of the chair and give up! Seriously!
Also, do not try this without an electric staple gun. Take it from my personal experience. Oh, and get an extra box of staples. I've gone through 4 strips of staples on this completed section. What you can't see is that the outside chair is still completely unfinished as well. It's going to be a while folks! But the good news is, I think it's going to look great!!!!!
How has it been another week without blogging! Seriously! We've had a great week, but nothing significantly blog worthy. No more week long hiatus' though. That means you might get some a lot of pictures of Crosby but at least the blog will be around :)
This past weekend was really fun. Britt had a girls get together at her house on Friday night. Kristin and Nikki were there plus Britt and Somer who I have started to see more and more and it has been great. Plus Claire was there which was really fun because I made that introduction! I love that my oldest friends get along with my newest friends and this new little girls group that we're forming is really great.
While the girls were hanging out, Travis, Derrick, and their friend Dan (first blog mention of Dan) had a guys night that consisted of video games, football, and pizza.
Saturday we found Nikki's bridesmaids dresses! They are gorgeous and extremely comfortable (which sounds weird now that I read it out loud (yes I sometimes read my blog out loud) but they are seriously comfortable dresses.) I won't tell anything more because it's not my news to share but I think all the bridesmaids are really happy and Nikki and her mom stopped the hunt early because this dress was at the first store we went to and they knew it was the one!
Yesterday was also a fun one. First off, I never mentioned on here that I won the W.A.G award last week. The W.A.G. award is an award that gets passed around the office. It stands for Work Ethic, Attitude, and Generosity. Each week, the agent who received the award the week before presents it to another agent that they feel like embody those characteristics. I was given the award by a veteran agent in the office and I felt very honored to receive it because she is an agent I respect a lot. It's also tradition for the agent giving the award to dress it up in some way. It had a little blue golfer's hat on when I got it so, for my turn, I injected some school pride into her!
I passed the award on to the administrative assistant, Jessica Tesh. She is always smiling and is happy to help in anyway she can and it's been nice, as a first year agent, to have someone there to answer the dumb questions that I have without judgement. She's also a fellow Wolfpack Fan!
Last night Derrick and I had dinner with some friends, Kari and Eugene! You might remember my previous post about all of the ultimate frisbee babies that were born earlier this year. Well, Derrick and I went to visit two of them. Our friends Kari and Eugene, fellow ultimate players and my very first clients! had twins in February. They were several weeks early and so, so tiny when they were born. I posted this picture on Instagram the first time I met them.
And now look at them! This was Derrick's first chance to meet them. He looks a little scared of them in this picture, but he's just sitting far away because he's recovering from a cold right now and he didn't want to get them sick. They are so sweet and so cute! Cal is on the left and Axel is on the right in this picture. It was so great to catch up with Kari and Eugene. We'll hopefully be seeing them once a week this winter. They are playing winter league and are on our same time schedule so they will be at the fields when we are.
In other news I have made some progress on the wingback chair front! Blog post to come!
I know I haven't blogged in a while. It's only been five days but I always get disappointed when the blogs I follow don't update for that long. I just simply haven't been in the mood and don't have much to blog about. Life is rolling along. It's been a busy and stressful work week on my end and Derrick is, as always, working hard at his job. In the evenings we've been climbing and catching up on TV shows. The norm....so there really isn't much to blog about.
I will say that Crosby has been a bit of a mess lately. Derrick and I have concluded that she isn't getting enough exercise so I've used it as motivation to get out and get running again. It still doesn't seem to be enough though. She has taken to pulling food off our kitchen counters and it's driving me crazy! We've had a fried rice, bagel, pizza, nutter butter, and baking chocolate incident. It's very frustrating because she is very aware that she has done something wrong. She usually rats herself out before I've had a chance to find what she's gotten into.
As long as we put things away in the pantry, it's fairly easy to control, which is really a blessing. She doesn't chew or destroy any personal items. I think it's just frustrating because we've been 100% spoiled by her good behavior up to this point and sometimes take her for granted and forget that she is a dog.
A highlight of my week was seeing Kristin and Nikki for dinner on Monday night. Monday was a very, very long day and I was exhausted by the time I got to Nikki's but there is something so refreshing and rejuvenating about spending time with your oldest friends...just the three of us, just like it was back in middle school and high school. AND I'm seeing Nikki again tonight and both of them again on Friday. I love these kinds of weeks!
I don't even have pictures to share this week. I'm such a bum. I'll leave you with this picture of Crosby's grinch toes.
Derrick and I are going to be participating in this really great community service opportunity that my Coldwell Banker HPW office supports every year. It's called Turkeys for the Triangle and I think it's a great opportunity to give back and remember that not everybody is as fortunate as we are. Basically, how it works is you purchase a raffle ticket for $10. This raffle ticket enters you into a drawing to win all sorts of awesome prizes including:
- A Trip to New York City - A Caribbean Cruise - 4 Front-row Carolina Hurricane Tickets - $1,000 Gift Card to Saks - $1,000 Gift Card to Nordstrom - $1,000 Gift Card toCrabtree Valley Mall - $1,000 Gift Cards to the Apple Store - $1,000 Gift Cards to Pottery Barn - A Home Security System by Omni Security Systems - $500 Best Buy Gift Card
With 100% of the money earned from this fund raiser, Coldwell Banker HPW is teaming up with local homeless shelters, charities, and churches to provide turkeys to needy families throughout the triangle. You can purchase the raffle tickets online at www.turkeysforthetriangle.com.
You can buy as many as you like! The more tickets you buy, the greater chance you have at winning a great prize, but even just purchasing one will mean so much to a local family!
Once you add your tickets to your cart, just put my name in the "How Did you Hear about us?" box. I also have hard copies of raffle tickets with me if you would like to purchase one next time you see me.
Our Moms got the last post, so this one is about Dad. He just had a birthday at the end of October, so of course we had our birthday "What I Love About ______" (In this case Dad). We tried out Google Hangout for the first time. See how you can see everybody on the same screen below?
Anyways, my "What I Love about Dad" was his funny text messages throughout the day. He'll send random notes throughout the week so you always know he is thinking about you. We'll, last night I got 10 emails in a row from him and I'm pretty sure he was trying to make us jealous. Either that, or he was trying to entice us home early for Thanksgiving. Check out these gorgeous views from the deck.
And then I get these.
I died laughing. Love you Dad! Thanks for keeping us laughing from 3 hours away!