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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Replacing Rush Seats - Upholstery Tutorial - Step by Step

I love my dining set, a gorgeous table with 6 chair and 4 leaves so it can extend to seat 12.  This was my first really nice furniture, and it is still a favorite.  In 1972 I had the opportunity to buy a few things from the LA Furniture Mart through a designer friend that I met.  She took me to a showroom that specialized in Europen imports.  I saw this table and chairs and just fell in love.





Without any leaves it is 54 inches round and comes with 4 side chairs and 2 captains chairs.  The leaves have full aprons too, so it is glorious even when you use all of them.  The ladder back design is so pretty and so are the spindles and the spoon feet on the legs.   This is my problem, Forty Three years later, the rush seats have deteriorated.  I have looked for someone in the area to replace them, but only found 1 person that said she might do it and that it would be approx. $125 to $150 a chair and it would take her a while to get to me.  The side chairs are all still in perfect condition, so I have been on a mission to figure out how to save the captains chairs and not have to pay that huge price and to be able to use them now, not someday.


First up, I need to take all the rush off.  After studying how they are made, I see that these small strips of wood around the rush are just tacked on, 


With those carefully taken off, I moved the chair outside to remove all the rush.


Wow, this is a mess.  I have to cut part of the strips to get them to unravel.


Finally all done, I do have a big pile of rush .


The frame boards amazed me that they weren't stained.  Now I want to be able to put a new seat on these chairs but still leave them so I can have the rush replaced if I choose to in the future.


I don't want to staple the new seat cover to this frame, so I stained it to match the rest of the chair.


Hubby and I took a piece of fiberboard and traced off a template for the entire seat.


Once that was done we then traced it onto 1/2 inch plywood and cut it out.


Checking to see if our seat is going to work.


Next I covered the plywood with 2 inches of foam cut to the outline of the plywood, then covered the foam with batting and a piece of an old white sheet.  I flipped it over and started stapling the batting and sheet to the underside of the plywood seat.  To start, put the staple in the center of each side, pulling the fabric and batting tight over the foam.  Then continue around each side in the same manner, making sure you do each side a little at a time, this will keep the fabric tight and smooth.   This is especially important as you are stapling on the finished fabric.  If you are using a pattern, this will make sure that the pattern stays centered on the seat cushion and you won't have any one area pulled to tight.  I put one staple in on each side of my center staple and then turn and do the opposite side the same way.  Then the next two sides and etc.  When everything is done and nice and tight, check your fabric, make sure the pattern is perfect, then do small pleates for the corners, making sure the fabric is smooth and tight and staple well.  Trim all the excess fabric and batting off, turn the cushion over and enjoy your hard work.


Looks fabulous.  Now I can cover it with my designer fabric and if I want to change it in the future, all I have to do is take the designer fabric off and add a new pattern or color, I won't have to redo the foam or batting.


TA-DA ALL DONE.  This is the finished chair with the new fabric and the wood strips replaced all around the seat.  Nothing is screwed to the frame, so it can be put back to original with rush in the future if I choose to.







I really like having these chairs with upholstered seats, it brings more light and pattern to this end of the room.

Great save for now and the total coast was only $48.  That is a win, win for sure.

You can still link up to Inspire Me.  So much to see so check a few things out.

I am joining the following parties.
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28 comments:

  1. Wow! Your chairs look fabulous, Marty! Great job!

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  2. You did a fantastic job, Marty! They look great.

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  3. I love the upholstered seats. So comfy and the fabric is great. I also appreciate the thoughtful way you recovered them so you'll have the option of rush seats in the future! Great post!

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  4. OMG dear Marty your talent is no ending! Your chairs look awesome, and I adore the material and I also adore that runner you did! You are gonna make me buy a sewing machine ASAP! I had one several years ago and gave it away to a cleaning girl...shocks! I'm sure she loves it still.
    I would love to DIY runners, napkins and pillows like you, lol!
    Enjoy your week.
    FABBY

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  5. Marty your seat looks great and so do your chairs. Wink! Love the new fabric.

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  6. The chairs turned out great Marty and what a wonderful tutorial!

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  7. The fabric really does lighten up the pretty wood furniture on that end of the room. I have a set of rush-bottom chairs in the attic that need a little help, so I am definitely filing away your instructions.

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  8. Okay! You amaze me! I would have been terrified to take the rush off. They turned out Fabulous!!! :)
    ~Liz

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  9. Wow, the chairs came out beautiful, Marty. It's amazing what we can do when we have no other feasible choice.
    Have a great week.

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  10. Nice !
    Fantastic job! Hugs from Serbia,
    Cale

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  11. Gorgeous! You did an amazing job. The fabric is beautiful! xxx Maria

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  12. I never would have thought of replacing the whole seat. What a great idea! I love how they turned out.
    Eilis@MyHeartLivesHere

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  13. Your chairs turned out great, Marty!

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  14. My BIL use to do the rush seats for Clore Furniture company in Madison, Va - very tough job - but they looked like yours. I like the upholstered chairs so much more now with the side rush chairs and the backs all match.. That, my dear, makes a statement, not to mention the brilliant fabric you chose. This is definitely a win, win. Judy C

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  15. Wow just in the nick of time. I am getting ready to upholster my dining room chairs and had no idea on how to do them. Thanks for the great tutorial. Your chairs are beautiful.

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  16. Wow!! What a beautiful transformation!!! xox, Emily

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  17. They look great, Marty! I'm glad you found a solution without having to pay so much to have the rush redone. Love the fabric you chose, too!

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  18. A very loud BRAVO and a standing ovation for a project so beautifully and creatively done!...love the fabric..the chairs look amazing Marty!!!

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  19. Love the way they turned out! I've been recovering my chairs for years, every time I get tired of the look it's off to the fabric store to buy something new. My set was a hand me down and when I decided to recover I put more batting to make the seats a little more comfy. Think I'm getting the urge to make a change soon!

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  20. The chairs look awesome, Marty. I especially love the fabric choice. Great job!
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  21. The chairs look awesome, Marty. I especially love the fabric choice. Great job!
    Hugs,
    Patti

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  22. Oh wow Marty...your chairs are outstanding! I love the new fabric you chose...so pretty. I applaud your bravery in taking on such a big project like removing the old worn rush from your seats. Definitely a job very well done!
    Thanks so much for sharing at SYS and have a wonderful weekend!
    XO Barbara

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  23. Oh wow Marty...your chairs are outstanding! I love the new fabric you chose...so pretty. I applaud your bravery in taking on such a big project like removing the old worn rush from your seats. Definitely a job very well done!
    Thanks so much for sharing at SYS and have a wonderful weekend!
    XO Barbara

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  24. Ladder back chairs are my favorite! The new cushions look amazing, I love the fabric you chose. You saved a ton DIY-ing this! I'm so glad you stopped by our link party last week, I hope to see you again this Wednesday!

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  25. Marty - thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop! I have featured you on my Tuesday Treasures. Hope you have time to stop by and take a look!

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  26. your chairs are beautiful.. I sent both my grown children down to get 4 of the ugliest chairs with the bottoms chewed completely out.. it was a old abandoned house. I was going to use them outside by putting flower pots in them. Now I have been given an old table family heirloom table, Has two captain chairs but not anymore chairs. so guess what I need to paint two of the best of those chairs and make a bottom out of them. thank you for the idea

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  27. Just removed the rush seats from 4 oak ladderback chairs bought on auction. I had the plywood underseat made and am just getting ready to lay out the foam and fabric. Thanks for posting this online to reinforce that my plan was going to work.

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