September 15, 2008

Eames Lounge Reupholstery Project

More progress on the chair over the weekend! I'm moving into the upholstery stage - The wood pieces are stained and poly-ed and beautiful!

I didn't document the small step before this post - ripping out the old welting strips and welting cord - there's wasn't much to see, and it's fairly self explanatory. You could also skip this step and buy new welting cord, but I want to reuse as much as possible, and this way I know the measurements are correct.

I ordered 3 yards of 54" inch wide vinyl which came on a card board tube. After using my seam ripper to rip out the old welting cord, I measured the length of each, and the longest piece was 94". In order to have continuous welting strips (instead of piecing together shorter pieces) I used a razor to cut through the vinyl 10 inches from the top, giving me enough width for the four 2 1/4 inch wide strips and enough length for the 94" length.

Next I used my rotary cutter and quilting ruler to cut the strips - fast and easy!

Then the welting cord sewing! I placed the cord in the center, folded the strip and pinned. Through trial and error, I discovered that If I pinned at the farthest edge, it helped control the twisting. This was a pain in the butt, and I still had some twisting - due to the thick material and feed dogs I think.

On to vinyl cutting, I took the original ottoman piece and cut a rectangle big enough to give me wiggle room. I marked the positions of the button holes.

Then I used my (frustratingly dull) leather punch on the smallest setting to punch the button holes as well as holes in 2 small pieces of vinyl to act as reinforcements, which I glued (using E6000) to the back, careful to line up the holes. The leather punch makes a perfectly round hole, making it less prone to tearing.

Foam! I rough cut the foam to the shape of the existing foam, and then used my electric knife ($4 thrift store find - cuts foam like butter!) to trim and pare down the edges. I angled the edges so the new foam would blend easily into the old and make a nice rounded shape.

Next I used my trusty tube turner (basically a long thin crochet hook from JoAnn's) to push through the old and new foam and through the holes I punched, to grab the button strings and pull them back through to the back.

I wanted to get the buttons at even depths, so once I threaded them both, I marked 12 inches back from the ends to use as guides. This doesn't work, because when I pulled, the marks were too far away from the wood to do me any good. Next round I will mark 1 inch away from the button!

This was a bit tricky - I pushed the buttons in from the good side, and then pulled and held from the back, and quickly stapled in a zig zag pattern. My new electric staple gun works well, but I have to make sure I firmly hold it to the plywood to get the staple to go in all the way - I will still have to tap most of them in with a hammer.

Buttons on! One too depp - so I'll have to re-do, but otherwise, I'm pretty impressed with myself, and I'm super eager to keep going!

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