Day 166: Reupholster Bistro Chairs


In early March of this year, I purchased a bistro set at the 2 Friends & Junk show. Although creating a space for it in my garden was still a month or more away, I loved the set when I saw it and gave it a temporary home in my bedroom. Today, for my first, I removed the old seat covers and replaced them with new outdoor fabric in a wonderful paisley print.

When I was a child, I’d come home from school and find that the living room chairs or sofa looked different. My mom had made new slipcovers while we were away. Or my favorite old rocker with the wooden arms would be sporting new corduroy upholstery. It was always a fun surprise. Mom was quite the seamstress, making all kinds of household items, sewing clothes for my sisters and me, and creating piles of doll clothes as well. The hum of her sewing machine was comforting and the sound still creates a cozy warm feeling when I hear it.

I, on the other hand, am not a seamstress. But I wanted to replace the fabric on the bistro chairs and since I could do so without any sewing, it seemed to be a task I could handle. I found the perfect outdoor material at Joann Fabrics, a pretty paisley print in teal, green, brown, yellow, rust and cream. Another outdoor project that is under way this week will feature a teal door, so I selected a pattern that brought that color to the far corner of the garden.

I didn’t need a sewing machine, but I did need tools. I gathered scissors, a screwdriver, a drill, the compressor, and a crown stapler. It was simple enough to remove the seats, saving the screws. I tore off the ruffles and using the seat as a pattern, traced around it on the new fabric. I added an allowance for pulling the fabric around the foam topped wooden seat, where I would secure it with staples. I encountered my first hiccup when I didn’t have enough staples to complete the job. Greg, bless him, checked a couple of stores before finding and buying more for me.

Fabric circles cut and ready to go, I stapled one to a seat and prepared to reattach the seat to the chair frame. Next hiccup. I realized the former owner of the chairs had made the seats a bit small and the original holes in the frame barely allowed a screw to bite into the wood of the seat. Greg again came to my rescue. While I finished covering the remaining seats, he drilled new holes in the metal frames, moving the holes further in. The screws now had something to sink into. I was able to quickly finish up. I got much better at handling the fabric and tools as I went along.

I am very pleased with the results! The chairs have a fresh, updated look. The colors are so perfect that I will most likely use them throughout the backyard. I placed the bistro table and four chairs on a corner of the brick patio. What a great place that will be to sip a morning cup of tea or have an outdoor meal.  I feel the satisfaction my mom must have felt when she finished one of her projects. Mom….look what I did!


Original seat covers



New paisley covers

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