How To Reupholster A Chair Without Removing Old Fabric?

Discover the art of chair rejuvenation through a remarkable technique that allows you to reupholster without the hassle of removing the old fabric. Unveil the secrets of transforming worn-out chairs into stunning showpieces, all while preserving the original fabric’s nostalgic charm.

In this expertly crafted guide, we will navigate through each meticulous step, providing you with the knowledge and confidence to embark on this transformative journey. Embrace the joy of reviving your beloved chair, creating a sense of belonging and pride in your home.

Key Takeaways

  • Assess the condition of the old fabric and remove it carefully, saving any usable pieces as templates.
  • Remove cording and buttons to make reupholstering easier and save time.
  • Remove and replace fabric on the top part of the chair, using the old fabric as a pattern for cutting the new fabric.
  • Replace fabric and foam on the top half of the chair, ensuring a smooth and even padding.

Step 1: Carefully Remove Cording

What is the proper method for removing cording from a chair without removing the old fabric? When it comes to reupholstering a chair without removing the old fabric, removing the cording is an essential step. To do this properly, you will need a seam ripper or a small pair of scissors. Start by locating the edge of the cording where it is attached to the chair.

Gently insert the seam ripper or scissors underneath the cording and carefully cut the thread that holds it in place. Take your time to avoid damaging the fabric or the chair frame. Once the cording is removed, you can proceed with reupholstering the rest of the chair without having to remove the old fabric, saving you time and effort.

Step 2: if Tufted, Remove Buttons

After removing the cording, carefully proceed to remove the buttons if the chair is tufted. Tufted chairs have buttons that are typically attached through the fabric and padding. To remove the buttons, locate the attachment points and gently pry them loose using a small flathead screwdriver or a pair of needle-nose pliers.

Take extra care not to damage the fabric or the surrounding area while doing so. Once all the buttons have been removed, set them aside for later use if they are still in good condition. Removing the buttons will allow for easier access to the old fabric and make the reupholstering process smoother.

Step 3: Remove Fabric on the Top Part of Chair

Remove Fabric on the Top Part of Chair

To begin the process, carefully lift and detach the fabric on the top part of the chair, ensuring not to tear or damage it in the process. This step is crucial as it allows you to access the underlying layers and prepare the chair for reupholstering. Here are five important things to keep in mind during this step:

  • Use a seam ripper or small scissors to carefully remove any stitches holding the fabric in place.
  • Take note of how the fabric was originally attached to the chair, as this will help you when reupholstering.
  • Gently remove any staples or tacks securing the fabric to the chair frame, being cautious not to damage the wood or upholstery beneath.
  • As you remove the fabric, take care to keep it intact and in one piece, as it will serve as a pattern for cutting the new fabric.
  • Pay close attention to any padding or foam beneath the fabric, as it may need to be replaced or repaired during the reupholstering process.

With the fabric removed from the top part of the chair, you are now ready to move on to step 4: using the old fabric as a pattern to cut your new fabric.

Step 4: Use the Old Fabric as a Pattern to Cut Your New Fabric

Using the old fabric as a guide, carefully measure and mark the new fabric to ensure an accurate and seamless fit for your chair. By following this step, you can maintain the chair’s original shape and dimensions. Start by laying the old fabric flat on your work surface and smooth it out.

Then, place the new fabric on top, making sure it aligns with the old fabric’s edges. Use a fabric marker or chalk to trace around the edges of the old fabric onto the new fabric. Pay close attention to any curves or intricate details. Once you’ve marked the outline, carefully cut along the lines to create your new fabric pieces.

Step 5: Replace Fabric and Foam on Top Half of Chair

One option for replacing the fabric and foam on the top half of the chair is to carefully remove the existing fabric from the chair frame and attach the new fabric and foam directly on top. This method allows you to preserve the original fabric and avoid the hassle of completely removing it. Here are five steps to help you replace the fabric and foam on the top half of your chair:

  • Begin by removing any staples or tacks holding the original fabric in place.
  • Lay the new fabric over the existing fabric, making sure to center it properly.
  • Smooth out any wrinkles or creases in the fabric.
  • Use a staple gun to attach the new fabric to the chair frame, starting from the center and working your way outwards.
  • Trim any excess fabric and secure it with additional staples.

Step 6: Now for the Seat

With the top half of the chair successfully reupholstered, it is now time to move on to the next step: tackling the seat. This part of the process requires careful attention to detail to ensure a smooth and comfortable seating surface.

To begin, gather the necessary materials: fabric, foam padding, staple gun, and scissors. Start by cutting a piece of foam to fit the seat dimensions, making sure it is slightly larger than the seat itself. Place the foam on top of the old fabric, making any necessary adjustments to ensure a snug fit. Next, take the new fabric and lay it flat on a clean surface. Center the chair seat on top of the fabric, making sure to leave enough fabric on all sides to wrap around the edges.

Step 6: Now for the Seat
Materials Needed Fabric Foam Padding Staple Gun Scissors
Steps Cut foam to size Place foam on old fabric Lay new fabric flat Center seat on fabric

Starting from one side, pull the fabric tightly over the foam and staple it to the underside of the seat. Continue this process on the opposite side, and then move to the remaining two sides, pulling the fabric taut and stapling as you go. Make sure to fold the corners neatly for a professional finish.

Once all the fabric is securely stapled, trim off any excess material. Flip the seat over and check for any loose spots or wrinkles. Adjust as needed and trim any stray threads. With the seat completed, you are one step closer to fully reupholstering your chair and creating a fresh new look. Stay tuned for the next step in the process: adding the finishing touches.

Step 7: Make Your Cording

Before moving on to the next step, which is adding the finishing touches, it is essential to complete Step 7: Make Your Cording. This step involves creating a decorative cord that will be used to cover the staples and give your reupholstered chair a polished look. Here are five easy steps to make your cording:

  • Measure and cut your fabric strips: Start by measuring the length of the areas where you want to add the cording. Cut fabric strips that are about 1.5 times the length of these areas.
  • Fold and press the fabric strips: Fold the fabric strips in half lengthwise and press them with an iron to create a crease.
  • Insert the cord: Place the cord in the crease of the fabric strip and fold the fabric over it.
  • Sew the fabric strip: Use a zipper foot on your sewing machine to sew the fabric strip close to the cord, ensuring a tight fit.
  • Trim and secure the ends: Trim any excess fabric and secure the ends together with a few stitches.

Completing this step will give your reupholstered chair a professional and finished appearance.

Step 8: Attach Your Cording to the Chair

Attach Your Cording to the Chair

Attach the cording to the chair by carefully positioning it along the edges and securing it with upholstery pins or a staple gun. This step is crucial to give your reupholstered chair a finished and polished look. Start by placing one end of the cording at a corner of the chair and use the pins or staple gun to secure it in place.

Then, follow the edge of the chair, making sure the cording is smooth and tight, and attach it at regular intervals. Once you have gone all the way around the chair, cut off any excess cording and secure the loose end. This technique not only adds a professional touch to your chair but also enhances its durability and longevity. To help you visualize the process better, here is a table showing the materials and tools you will need for this step:

Materials Tools
Cording Upholstery pins or staple gun
Scissors Measuring tape
Fabric glue (optional)

Step 9: You’re Done! Now Go Take a Nap. You Deserve It

After completing all the steps of reupholstering the chair, it is time to relax and reward yourself with a well-deserved nap. Reupholstering a chair can be a labor-intensive process, and you have put in a lot of effort to restore your chair to its former glory. Now that you have successfully completed the task, it’s important to take a moment for yourself and recharge. Here are five reasons why you should take a nap:

  • Napping can improve your mood and increase productivity.
  • It can enhance your memory and cognitive function.
  • Napping can reduce stress and promote relaxation.
  • It can boost creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Napping can improve your overall health and well-being.


Can I Reupholster a Chair Without Removing the Old Fabric?

Reupholstering a chair without removing the old fabric is possible, but it depends on the condition of the existing fabric and the desired outcome. It’s important to consider factors such as durability, aesthetics, and comfort before proceeding with this method.

How Do I Remove the Cording From the Chair?

To remove the cording from a chair, carefully examine the seam where the cording is attached. Use a seam ripper or sharp scissors to carefully cut the stitches holding the cording in place. Take your time to avoid damaging the fabric.

How Do I Remove Buttons From a Tufted Chair?

To remove buttons from a tufted chair, you will need to carefully detach the buttons from the fabric and padding. This can be done by cutting the thread that attaches the buttons or by carefully removing any screws or fasteners.

Can I Use the Old Fabric as a Pattern for Cutting the New Fabric?

Yes, using the old fabric as a pattern for cutting the new fabric is a common practice in reupholstering chairs. It ensures a proper fit and helps maintain the original shape and design of the chair.

How Do I Attach the Cording to the Chair?

To attach cording to a chair during the reupholstering process, you will need a cording foot attachment for your sewing machine. This specialized foot allows you to easily sew the cording onto the fabric, providing a neat and professional finish.


In conclusion, the art of chair rejuvenation through this remarkable technique offers a transformative journey for furniture enthusiasts, allowing them to reupholster chairs without the hassle of removing old fabric. By carefully following the step-by-step guide and utilizing the old fabric as a pattern, individuals can breathe new life into their worn-out chairs, creating stunning showpieces that seamlessly blend nostalgic charm with a fresh, revitalized aesthetic.

The process not only preserves the original fabric but also adds a touch of craftsmanship to home decor. So, embark on this creative journey, reviving beloved chairs, and fostering a sense of pride and belonging in your living space.

Leave a Comment