Crafts: How to Reupholster a Chair

craftsdecor & DIY

Do you have that one piece of sad furniture that you just can’t get rid of because you know it has potential? I think we all do. My husband had this chair from his single days that had a cute shape, but it didn’t match anything else in our house. So it was time for me to tackle the chair and try an upholstery project.

How to Reupholster an Arm Chair

Here is one way you can re-cover chairs in your home:


  • One chair in need of some love
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Fabric for your pattern (I used an old sheet)
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Lots of fabric pins
  • Staple fun or nail gun


Make a Pattern – I made my pattern out of an old sheet by pinning the sheet up to the chair, and drawing the seam lines onto the sheet. Once I had one piece outlined on the sheet, I would cut it out with about an inch extra around the edges. Repeat until all your chair pieces are cut out.

Sew Your Pattern – To make sure my pattern fit right, I sewed all the pattern pieces to see if they fit. Make alterations as needed to make sure your pattern fits snugly on your chair.

Note: Make sure you carefully pin your front arm piece to the rest of your chair pattern to avoid puckering and pleats. I put my pattern pieces on the chair to pin to make sure they came together right. (See below)

Make Your Final Pattern – Once you’ve made all your alterations, mark your pattern and cut a ½ inch seam allowance from your final stitch lines.

Cut Your Upholstery Fabric – Pin your final pattern pieces to your upholstery fabric and cut out your upholstery pieces.

Sew Your Chair Cover – Pin your upholstery pieces together and sew them with a ½ seam allowance. Remember to be especially careful when pinning and sewing your front arm pieces to the rest of your chair cover to avoid puckering and pleats. (See below)

Note: For the seat cushion, I used Velcro instead of a zipper to secure the back. I found it to be much more forgiving of my less that perfect sewing. ☺

Staple/Nail the Bottom and Seat – I used a staple gun to staple the upholstery fabric to the base of the seat where the cushion sits. Then I stapled the very bottom of the chair, which allowed me to stretch out any wrinkles or loose spots. (Note: It’s nice to have a helper for this step, so one is pulling the fabric and the other is stapling.)

Finishing Touches – The front piece of my chair was separate from the rest of the chair cover. So I just measured the front of the chair, between the arms, and made a rectangle flap that I stapled to the base of the seat and the bottom.


How have you revived old furniture in your home?

Cari Thompson is a copywriter, online marketer, and recently freed closeted crafter. She currently works as editor and project manager for Mom It Forward. You can check out Cari's latest drumming, travel, and marketing adventures on
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