So, the very first  thing I did was paint the frame using my very fancy method:  a rag and paint.  Wipe it on, wipe it off, do it again after it dries.  Then, I ripped all the piping off (fabric over fat yarn, basically).  It was stapled on to cover up the staples that were keeping the fabric on the furniture.  Then out came those staples!  That’s where

1. Hammer


2. Standard Screwdriver

came in handy.  I used the hammer to tap under the stubborn staples.  I was ripping the couch apart.  It was a bit exhilarating, I must say.  They key is to keep the fabric pieces INTACT so you can use them as a pattern for your next pieces.

Oops, I forgot to mention my good friend

3.  Mr. Pliers.  He also helps get the staples all the way out.  (Below):  What I really like is when you can grab the piping and just yank it off with your bare hands.  Did I mention this is good stress relief?

Now for some more fun:

                Above: ironing new piece and cutting to match new piece (with extra around edges for attaching            to furniture)

      Leave an about an inch and a half around the edges.

    New piece.  I wish there was a magic way to get it on here.  I just finagled until it looked right.

I started with a staple gun but it was rough going, and I didn’t want to put piping over all of it to hide it.So, on the chair, I went with exposed upholstery tacks (found at Joann’s).  I should mention that the nice clean edge of the folded fabric is because the fabric is folded over upholstery cardboard, which comes in a roll, also at Joann’s fabrics.  The lady at the store said you can use whatever thin non-corrugated cardboard you have if you cut it into strips, but I didn’t want to piece cardboard.  

So, I sprung for the roll.  I mean, I had already passed up on the real upholsterer, the pneumatic nail gun, the button-covering machine…I figured it was the least I could do!

The arm of the chair was a bit difficult, as I recall.  There was some real guesswork (and, er, hot glue) involved with the pieces of fabric that were oddly shaped and difficult to place.  Buy a bit extra yardage, if you are spatially challenged, like me.  I should add, that after all my disclaimers, you can do this.  If I can do this, you can do this.  Make sure you get an external frame, though, if you are spatially challenged or not a seamstress.

I had to do some stitching here.  Don’t look too closely!  Fortunately, the cushion sits on top of this area.

Going backless!  I reused the old batting here, even though it’s kind of ratty.  See those threads hanging down?  That was where the original buttons were attached through the chair. Make sure you do the front side and buttons before the back.  The back should go on last.  Get an upholstery needle.  I just linked you to some at Joann’s and I’m not sure which is best.  Mine was not curved or straight, it was sort of…bent.  It came that way!  Anyway, I had to use pliers a couple times to get it through, I recall.  I guess I’m not the only one; I just visited Camila and Jon at effortless style.  I actually reused the buttons and glued my own fabric to it.  I reused the button thread, too.  Maybe you don’t have buttons.  Or..maybe you want to cut the  buttons off and pretend they happened, which is what I did with the couch!

                 The couch.  Want to know how I did the couch?  Lots of hotglue.  I didn’t even have to take off as much of the fabric, because I already knew what the shape of the sides were.  I had templates left over from    the chair. Tricky, huh?  And I didn’t take the back fabric off, either, no way.  I just cut those buttons off and attached the fabric right over it.  BAM!  (Sorry, Emeril).  That was where the cardboard ‘tape’ came in handy for a nice edge.

                  Photo credit: Melanie Acevedo

Although my husband lovingly refers to my chair as ‘the exoskeleton chair,’  I think I was emboldened to do the exposed nails because of this settee in J.Crew guru Jenna Lyon’s dressing room.  I just re-found this photo over at habituallychic.  Beautiful can be a bit messy as long as there are strong bones.  This settee definitely has them.