How to Recover a Parson Chair

After I bought and refinished my kitchen table, I started looking for chairs. I knew I only needed 4 because the condo is small - only 651 square feet! When I have company for dinner, I figured I'd make it work somehow.

After visiting several stores and not finding anything I loved, I decided to search kijiji. After a few options I liked fell through, I decided on a set of four parsons chairs. They were a dark brown pleather and had little tears in them - the owner must have had a cat! She was asking $80 for all four, but when I mentioned I'd be reupholstering them she dropped the price to $60 - so $15/chair wasn't too shabby!

Here's what I used to reupholster the chairs (plus a sewing machine)

I took the chairs apart and enlisted the help of my favourite seamstress - my Mom! Here's what they looked like before (with the back already taken apart from the seat):

As you can see, they were in pretty rough shape. After discussing our options, my Mom said that it would be easiest to cover right over the pleather as opposed to taking the pleather off and completely reupholstering them. Plus, if stains get on the fabric they won't sink into the chair. Seeing as I've already spilled red wine on one, easy stain removal was important!

I bought this fabric from Designer Fabrics downtown Toronto for $12/meter.
The first thing we did was measure the width of the back of the chair. We then measured the fabric and pinned it so that we'd know where to sew. I'm using the term "we" very loosely... It was mostly my wonderful seamstress who figured all of this out. She even made sure that the pattern matched up perfectly on the seam down the sides.

The plan was to cut a long piece of fabric and fold it in half so that we could sew the fabric together like a pillow case down the sides and to slip it over the back part of the chair. This meant we had to sew it perfectly so that it was snug enough not to wrinkle, but not too snug that we couldn't slip it over the top. Luckily Because my Mom is so skilled, it was perfect on the first try, but we had extra fabric just in case. (Notice that they were sewn with the fabric inside out).

Here's what it looked like after step one of the process. I cut the extra fabric off of the bottom and the back and stapled it to the wood (just where the staples were in the pleather). You can see that it was one long piece of fabric that started at the front on the bottom, and went over the top of the chair and down the back. That way we only had to sew the sides.

See how perfectly the sides match up?! She's amazing.

Above you can see one chair that I had already finished (cut off the extra fabric and stapled) and the two beside it still need to be finished.

Here's a close up of what it looked like with the staples. It didn't have to look perfect because the bottom half of the chair would fit right in and cover all of that. Unfortunately I didn't take a photo of how I recovered the seat of the chair, but it was just like wrapping a present! I made sure the pattern was straight and then folded the sides around the bottom and stapled them.

And here's what they look like now!

Budget Breakdown
Chairs - $60 for 4
Fabric - $68
Staples and staple gun - already had them