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This type of chair is among the simplest to cover. The opportunity to learn the very special skills of tapestry, which requires patience and specific tools.

Retract an armchair

Traditional craft, the tapestry can not be improvised. It requires two precious allies: time and patience...

  • The traditional method with seeds (small flat and pointed nails) includes a complete restoration of the seat.
  • It begins with stripping to the burlap.
  • The fabric is removed by keeping the pieces (pattern for subsequent cutting if necessary), the old nails are removed with a chisel to bare, to expose the seat.
  • Revisiting the upholstery is a simple step but on old and damaged seats, it is often necessary to proceed with the laying

Repair the woods

  • The carcass is then glued (wood glue), then the wood cleaned with a stripper and passed to the steel wool.
  • For the refurbishment, then just apply a layer of tinted wax (The Brothers Nordin, Liberon, Syntilor...).
  • Then comes the rather complex stage of the webbing, which consists in strengthening the seat of the chair with jute straps.
  • The work continues with the setting of horsehair (plant or animal).
  • On the old trim of the top of the seat, one makes "laces", with the aid of twine to form, loops loosely enough to be able to slip the rolled horsehair.
  • It must be well ventilated and distributed evenly.
  • It is then a question of "wrapping" it, packing it and wrapping it with a cloth of embourure (in hemp and jute), drawn and fixed with seeds.
  • Once the canvas is placed on the rabbet, it is time to proceed to the "bottom points" on the drawing of a square.
  • It is then necessary to prick on both sides, with a plaice (double pointed needle) and twine to be stitched, on the layout marked out by "houzeaux" (big hairpins).
  • At each point, the thread should be taut and the hair crushed.

The "folding", for the final shape of the seat of the armchair

The folding gives the final shape of the seat: the joins are removed, the canvas is folded by folding it on the sides; the excess is cut, folded and nailed, always with seeds.
If a professional only takes a day and a half to do so again an armchair, it is necessary to count three to four for a beginner.
But on this chair 1930s mottled, in good condition, only the fabric is to change. There is no need to lay bare the seat: the work comes down to the laying of white linen, wadding, upholstery and jaconas (cotton fabric, fine and light).
Each step must, however, be executed carefully. And do not hesitate to start again, because any wrong maneuver would be detrimental to the appearance and comfort of the seat

Retract an armchair in 8 steps:

Retapissing an old chair: re-seat

  • Cover the white canvas seat.
  • Cut by adding 5 cm.
  • Lay the fabric respecting the right-thread, tender and appointer (seeds of 6 mm) the center of the frontage, then the sides.

Lay a layer of cotton wool on a chair

  • Lay a layer of cotton wool.
  • Same principle: cut, adjust but without tender or appointer.
  • The wadding is held by the fabric.
  • Once the seat is finished, do the same for the file.

Cutting upholstery fabric

  • Cut the fabric by taking 10 cm more margin and taking into account here the positioning of the stripes.
  • Make sure to be precise and work with a meter.

Center a striped fabric on a recliner

  • Follow the direction of the stripes and especially, take its bearings to center them in the right place, both on the seat and on the backrest.

Fix the fabric of an armchair to the nail of upholsterer

  • Appinate the tissue with 3 mm seeds.
  • To remove them, then to retighten the fabric before nailing it definitively.
  • Use a hammer tapestry with magnetic head (magnetic).

Sew the cover of an armchair

  • Adjust and fold the fabric according to the configuration of the feet and angles.
  • Cut the surplus.
  • Like a hem, finish in hidden points with the curved needle.

Fix the jaconas canvas under the armchair

  • To hide the straps under the seat, finish by laying the jaconas canvas (here gray blue or brown).
  • Cut out the fabric and nail it with 6mm seeds.

Practical advice

• Choose a heavy-duty fabric such as thick canvas or wool velvet, and do not neglect quality. Avoid tissues that are too soft.
• To conceal seeds (small nails), lay stripes.
• Tools and supplies are available from furniture fabric specialists, some seating conservators and the Internet
(vergez-blanchard.fr, fourniturestapissier.com, artapisserie.fr, bricodeco.net...).


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