Reupholstering a Channel Back / Fluted Back Chair

This video is brought to you by Sailrite Visit for all your project supplies, tools and instructions Got an old chair with channeling? Watch this video and learn how you can easily transform a channeled back chair with new decorative fabric from Sailirte to give it an updated stylish new look. This video tutorial was developed to show a beginner or upholster enthusiast how to DIY. Why pay a professional to reupholster your old chair, do it yourself and save! Here’s Cindi an expert seamstress and upholster to show you how it’s done ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬We are getting ready to start this little channeled back chair. And it is in really good condition, all the stuffing is still here. And I would like to measure it right now and see what yardage were going to need We only need a width and length measurement being sure to include enough fabric for the sides and excess for stapling The back is 27 high and I am not going to measure the width on that because it will just take a whole width because of the channels There is about 31 x 25 Don’t forget extra fabric to make the piping So the seat is 22 inches deep, so I know I need 22 inches up the roll of the fabric The back is 27 high and the outside back is 25 high We will have some scrap that can be used for piping, but it is not a bad idea to add an extra yard to your calculations to cover the piping and so you have a fudge factor So if I add those three together, I come up with 74. Divide that by 36 and you get just over 2 yards Also we will use a cambric duct cover for the bottom of the chair, that will take less than a yard So, for this chair we need 3 yards of decorative fabric from Sailrite and 1 yard of Cambric Dust Cover fabric from Sailrite So we are going to start by taking off the dust cover underneath. Using needle nose pliers or a wire cutters, as shown here, is helpful for this job And I can already see we have a broken spring right here, that we are going to have to repair We highly recommend the Tack and Staple Remover for upholstery jobs like this. You can get it from Sailrite. This chair is old enough that it was done with nails, and it’s been recovered once, at least The Tack & Staple Remover tool comes with the Upholstery Tool Kit from Sailrite We have the outside back completely off and we need to take this batting off. And save it because we will want to put it back on when we are finished And all of this batting comes out, but save it also Now there is cording on this, that’s the next thing to come off the back and then we will do the inside back Now that we have the outside back off I am working on the inside back. One thing I want to remember, is there is a seam right here And it is only there probably because they cut the fabric a little too short. I do not want a seam right there when I put it back together This piece is also attached right here. That is the inside back! Remove the piping at the bottom of the chair and then the chairs decorative fabric covering the seat. I have the back mostly released I am going to go around and hammer some of these in so I do not cut myself on the nails or staples that are still left in there

Before I pull this all the way off. You can see how they tightened up the back of the seat by putting just one or two nails just right in here. So, when we put it back together that’s probably a good idea. And there is the seat! It is always a good idea to check out the foam, springs, and strapping of the seat bottom before moving on, we will do that now This is original to the chair and if it is possible to keep it there I certainly would It is a really nice batting, keeps you from felling the springs. And it is not something that we can buy anymore. I am lifting this up so I can see if and make sure that there are no springs pocking through here, because this is the time to repair that, if they do need to be repaired. This piece right here is called an edge roll. It keeps the wood from being felt on the edge of the chair If you’re padding or foam needs replaced or firmed, up consider buying new foam from Sailrite I am going to tear some of these strips off they are rotted anyways and see what is going on with this spring right here. If it just needs to be tucked back in somewhere and then replace these I am going to tack these back down in, looks like they loosened up a little bit over time Looks like this center spring is broken, but it has just come loose. So, since we took the webbing out in there, we can see that it was not broken. And we do not want to take this apart any further than we have to and end up having to tie up all the springs. I can see that, and what happened is this came unhooked from this strapping. So, I am going to re-web it here and here and attach the spring back. And see how strong that looks and I might string some more webbing through it after I get the center done We are using a polypropylene webbing from Sailrite, but you could purchase the Jute webbing from Sailrite, it is a more traditional webbing used in upholstery Throughout this video we will be using the TC-08 staple gun from Sailrite, this is a long nose stapler here, but we also sell a short nose version which will save you a little more money. These staple guns work great and are very reasonably priced at Sailrite And I want to keep this springs above the webbing I want to pull this really tight! The short nose stapler and staples are also included in the Upholstery Tool Kit Usually for most upholstery applications a 3/8” length staple is best and since this is an indoor application galvanized staples are fine And then I am going to go, I am going to put two across here because this strap is in the way. So, to stay on either side of that strap is what I want to do If you are interested in the Upholstery Tool Kit from Sailrite here is a quick view of what you will get in that kit Even though this webbing is fairly decent, its old, so I am going to run another one through the front, because that is what is going to take the most wear on the chair, is the front Now I notice that the chair has been, these straps were tied to the springs which is what keep the springs in place on the bottom. So, I am going to take the twine and a curved needle and just go around again and reattach the springs to the webbing. And this will all be covered up after we put the dust cover on. So, it does not have to be beautiful I am trying to catch the springs where ever I can and attach the webbing to the spring I know you can’t see it but right there

is the spring, underneath so I have caught it with the twine and right here is another piece of spring. So, I am going to go through those layers of webbing and just attach it together I have gone all the way around and attached… actually I need to go back in the center and do the center one that was loose. A couple more times and then I will tie it off and cut my threads When I tie it off I just do one loop through put my needle in the loop and pull it down tight and that tightens it up right next to the webbing You can tie it off to an adjacent leg if you like also Now that I have the bottom all secured I am going to put this back in place and get ready to cut my seat fabric. Now if we look at the fabric that we have chosen, since it is a stripe, we want to look at it and see if there is anything that is predominate that we want in the center of the seat. And this red stripe looks predominate to me, so I am going to make this the center of my seat. I am going to put a pin to mark the center And I am not going to cut any of these cuts here, I am going to do that as I put it on the chair. So, I am just going to cut a big rectangle right now Right now I am just placing this on the seat and making sure I have enough fabric on all sides and that my center line is in the center I will take a tape measure and measure probably from here to here and make sure I am in the center. The other way you can check that is to look at your strips and make sure that your stripes are balanced on each side. The width of my legs is 18.5 inches, so I want the center to be 9.25 inches. And I can do the same thing back here. Start by securing it in just a few places in the front And make sure everything is still straight And snug it down in the back. And now I am going to put a couple on each side Now I can take my pin out. I am ready to get the front corner in place. What I want to do is pull the fabric this way first, so that this line stays consistent across the side of the chair. And I am just going put a couple of staples in there. And this will pull down towards the front of the chair. And keep everything lined up with our stripe When we put this cording on, this is going

to come up around here and cover up those staples This is the old cording we will be making new cording for the area a little later on in the video. I am just cutting up right along the edge of the wood on the leg. I am just going to trim some of this off the back. And then pull the rest of this underneath And I am going to do the same thing over here I am going to cut right up along the edge of the leg. Until I get to the base of the chair and pull that under also. And I will trim this off after I get the rest of the back done. And I am going to do the same thing on this side, pull it around to the front so that my stripes stays level This is the little cut that goes along this part of the leg to pull it tight back here So I am going to cut along this piece of the frame. Almost up to the wood. But I want to cut it and test it and cut it and test it So I do not cut it too far That is as far as I want to cut that piece it fits good around the wood there and it is going to be covered up by the back when we put the inside back on. So before I staple anything there I am going to get the rest of this fitted. So now I am going to cut along this line of the wood. This piece right here is the cut that was on the original piece right here Because there is a big open area right here, we want this fabric to slide down underneath there and be pulled to the back. The outside back is going to come down along here. So you can see how those two little cuts made that all fit in there really easily. Before I put too many staples in that I am going to come over here and do the other side I think I am going to stop cutting there and start stapling. The back panel will come down and cover up any fullness there, but I think I got it in place so the back panel will cover up anything else. You can see when I pull down and back everything straightens out And my outside back is going to come down along this line and go underneath the chair, so all this back here is going to be covered up I am just going to put a couple staples in this piece that we left here that is going to keep the seat tight back there but again

the back is going to come up against that And before I do this one, I want to pull all this around tight like I did on the other side I want this to go around the leg back here so I am going to cut up along the leg again And the seat is on Ok, we are going to work on the inside back next and it has these channels in it and those are sewn in. So we have to take them out in order to get these out and have a pattern for a new piece I have the stitching taken apart on this side and you can see that it is stitched again right here and this is a completely separate piece. So, I am going to take it out and lay it off to the side and when I take these out I am going to lay them all in order because they are not the same size. The center will be longer than the side will be and I want to be sure I put them back in the way they came out So then you just have to keep taking all these channels out and lay them in order so you can put them back the same way So here is what this looks like now that we have torn it apart. We do need to add a stretcher onto the bottom of it. We don’t want to have a seam right here, So I am going to leave that, um, pinned together. Because I want to cut that all in one piece, from here out Each of these seams line up with these seams when you put it back together. And you start at one end and sew here and then here and then here all the way across. So you have all your channels made If my fabric was solid instead of a stripe I could cut this all in one piece and just mark these lines with a pencil or something a marker. But since we have the stripe I want the stripe to be centered on each one of these channels. So I am going to cut these separate pieces and put them together so the stripe is centered I could measure these channels if they were straight, but up here you can see there is a curve that needs to go around the corner of the chair frame. So, I am actually going to cut them apart and use these pieces as my pattern rather than measuring And I actually only have to cut half of it apart. So, I am going to cut, I have one, two, three, four, five… So this is the center, I am going to cut this half apart and make this half a mirror image when I put it back together I am going to make these, this is the center and this is the top. So, this is one, two, three and this is the top of all of them, so I get the curves in the right place when I put them back together. Here is the stripe that I used for the center, so I want to make I use the same stripe on the center of these pieces, so I am going to mark that right there Lay that so it is centered on this piece I am ready to cut my first piece and I put

a few pins all the way around I am going to cut this along the edge of the fabric where the seam needs to be. But when I cut out here I am going to cut bigger so I have plenty to work with when I pull it around the side of the chair So any side that was seamed together with another panel should be cut along the raw edge, but any side that is pulled and stapled can be cut larger to aid in tensioning when applying to the chair And I am going to number this one on the back, just lightly with a pencil. So that I know which one it is and I am going to do it at the bottom so it is never going to show. And then I want to take this one and lay it over right sides together and cut the same thing because it will mirror image on the other side on the back of the chair I am also going to put a pin on this one too designate the right side. So, I going to look again at the center that I used on the seat and mark the same line over here… which would be right here And then I have piece number 2 and this is the top So this one I also want to cut along the edges, because it gets seamed on both sides, it makes a full channel in the center of the chair So, I am going to cut it the same size as the original This one is number 2 and I need to turn it over and cut another one just like it on the same pattern We have skipped ahead and here they all are cut out So here is my 6 pieces each one is a mirror image of the other one and I am not going to sew these all together. I am going to sew them to the backing piece and that’s going to hold them all together. So I am going to start on one end and work my way across this piece. This piece does not have any big holes in it, it is still in pretty good shape, so we are going to reuse it. If you did need to make a new piece for this, you can cut some sort of twill heavier fabric and draw lines where these seams are. You don’t have to do this in separate pieces. You can just draw lines and stitch on the lines you just drew. But since ours is in pretty good shape we are just going to reuse it So, I am going to put these two pieces right sides together. And I am going to stitch them to this seam. I do want my edges to be fairly even when I do this It is important to pin these sections together prior to sewing

So you can see that I have made a little pocket for the outside piece of batting to go into And then when I bring this one over, I will make the pocket for the second one Now I am going to stitch this channel in and I have the back and two of the front pieces Cindi did not hold the trailing threads before creating her first stitch or two, so they were pulled under the assembly and got caught or tangled up. No, problem, but it is always recommended to hold trailing threads prior to sewing a few stitches on most Heavy Duty sewing machines I am stitching on the original line that was there, so that my channels are the same size they were originally And I am going to stitch all the way to the end of this Now I am going to flip this over and lay this next piece over top of it right sides together And stitch these two to this seam. I don’t want to catch in all this other stuff, so I am going to fold it back So I have two layers of fabric and the two layers of the backing If I had to replace this and there was not a seam here, I would just be following the line. And I would even be sewing it a little differently. I would be sewing it flat like this with the line under here and stitching right here. But I would not have to fold it all back to get it out of the way And I am just going to keep doing the same thing until I get all the way across We have skipped ahead, all the channels are now sewn in I am going to leave this edge open so that I can form this around the corner of the chair the way I want to. And here is what we have created. The channels for the cotton batting to go back into. So, I have both ends open, this is the top where the curve is and this is the bottom. This is what it looks like on the front And I am going to add a stretcher onto the bottom so I have plenty of fabric to pull down when I get it on the chair. We will cut some scrap fabric for the fabric pull or stretcher as Cindi calls it This is the piece I am going to use as the stretcher on the bottom, it will never be seen. The seam down here will not be seen It will be tucked under the chair, the back when we get it on there. When I add this on I am going to put tucks in it, just like that as I sew, every three to four inches. Which lets this piece that you are pulling around in the chair take the curve I may end up trimming some of this off, but I would rather have some to work with rather than not have it there The Sailrite Ultrafeed LS-1 Walking Foot Sewing is a great canvas and upholstery sewing machine, it is heavy duty and is also portable. It

is being used with the Ultrafeed Collapsible Sewing Table. Get yours today at When I get all the way across this it will look like I added a little skirt to the bottom A second scrap piece of fabric is required to go the full length. Coming up next we will show a very simple way of stuffing the channels I am going to cut a piece of this silk film to go around my cotton so it will slide into the channel easier. And this is two layers so I am going to open it up. This will not make any noise so we can leave it inside the chair when we get finished with it To stuff channels usually professionals use what is called “Upholstery Channel Tins” they are rather expensive and for the occasional do it yourselfer a tool that seldom sees use except when channels are required And this tube goes in this channel, I still have all of these to do. This one is the end and we will not put that in until we put it on the chair. And then this one goes here, this one goes here, and this is the other side. All these little pieces we will put in when we get ready to staple the chair down and that everything is stuffed nicely So, instead of using the upholstery channel tins lets show you this little trick which will save you money and we believe it is also a much easier method to employ By using a shop vac with the hose end up against the stuffing the silk film creates a temporary vacuum tube, compressing the stuffing to almost half its size. This makes it easy to insert in the channels When I put these in I want them to be about the same length all the way across and leave some at the top so you have this fabric to pull over the top of the chair Here is what it looks like with two of our channels instead and we have two more to insert We are using the cotton batting that we took out of the chair, but you could use Polyester batting for the stuffing if you needed to replace it. Here you can easily see the stuffing compressing using our silk film method There is the third channel. One more to go After I get them in place where I want them Make sure they are all about even at the top and even at the bottom. Then I can cut this extra film off. There is the four channels filled. And we will fill the ends when we put it back on the chair Before we start to put this piece on, we want to measure the center which someone has already done. But I am just going to go from where that wood connects to where that wood connects And then bring this seam in the front piece back so I know that it is centered. And I am just going to start by putting one tack

right there to hold it in place while I work with it. And I also want to make sure that the bottom is centered and I use that stripe as my center so I want this seam to come down and end up at that stripe This piece of cotton batting has to go in out here, so I have to kind of keep that in mind as I am working with these and make sure that they are over far enough to fit this back in There is a piece of the wood frame right in here that this stretch needs to go around So I am going to start clipping that until I get that to go around nicely You can see that I have got spots here that need to be filled. That’s what all these little pieces are for. They go back in there to fill out those spots. So I am going to stuff that first before I start stapling anything And I do that from the back. This area will all get filled in with batting to hold all of this in I put a few staples in there to hold that in place while I stuff it You can see how that cotton batting fills out that space that you end up with when you first put it on I am going to open this up and tack this part of the base down to hold it in place and start working on this side also There is a spot right there that I am having trouble getting batting into, so I am just going to have keep pushing from the back till I get it where I want it and get that little spot right there and get that filled out Cutting slits in the fabric that relieves the fabric that is going around the wood frame may also improve the way it looks I am cutting some of this batting to lay up here on this wood so we do not have such a sharp edge along the wood. To soften that a little bit The first staple that Cindi used when attaching this needs to be removed so the fabric can be tensioned appropriately, that is not uncommon with first tack staple I am going to

start pulling this side around here and I do not want to pull it too tight because it will want to pull this seam out. But I do want to be snug and smooth. I am going to start in the center and work my way up towards the top and down to the bottom I want this line in the stripe of the fabric to stay straight and even along this edge My outside back piece is going to come down along here so anything that is under here is not going to show I am just going to start tucking this around the corner There is no rules, just what looks nice I cut my stretcher to go around this piece of the frame that is back here, so I am going to tuck these down in towards the back and towards the sides Now repeat those steps for the other side I am going to go ahead and finish tacking the bottom down, that I have not tacked down yet. So it will stay in place when I try in fill in those gaps in the front I am going to use the white batting because I am not going to have enough of the cotton that come out of it, I want to fill it in a little bit more and this will work Must have more loft to it, because it is actually working better than the old cotton See how those gaps are getting filled in with the polyester batting. Now you can trim some of this extra off and get it out of your way I am going to trim up this back leg so I can finish pulling this underneath and this to the back And all of this will be covered with our outside

back Once this is done we can move on. We will be installing the outside back panel next, but before we do that we need to make piping or sometimes referred to as cording And all of this will be covered with our outside back I am going to go ahead and cut the outside back before I cut my pieces for my cording to make sure that I keep enough for this back piece and I do not cut it all up. So here is my pin that was the center on the other pieces. So I am going to use the center again on the outside back Now I am just going to fold it in half on my center line and cut the other half of the piece The next thing we need to do is apply the piping that was orginailly on this around the back edge. And because it is a curve I am going to cut my piping on the bias so it goes around this curve nicely and that it also will not ravel To cut it on the bias I am going to fold this up at a 45 degree angle and make my first cut right here. And then I cut my cording 1 ¾ inches wide Here we are using the Clear Acrylic Ruler a Rotary Cutter and a Cutting Mat all available from Sailrite. These three tools make the job of making cording easy and are highly recommended. These tools and a lot more great tools are available in the Upholstery Tool Kit from And I am only folding this up so that it will still fit on the mat Now when I seam this together I want it to make one big long strip and on this fabric I want the strips to all to be going the same direction from one strip to the next. So, I am going to turn this top one over and just lay it on there and then when I sew I am going to sew from that angle to this angle And that will give me a strip with the stripes all going in the same direction and the seam on an angle so it is not so bulky And you are just turning it over and laying right sides together. Now I am ready to stitch this and add the cording. I am going to stitch my cording seams together from the angle to the angle And clip them apart then you have one big

long strip. Then I am just going to lay the cording in the middle of it and wrap it around There is a tunnel in the foot that is going to carry the cording as I sew And the machine will do the work for you When I get to the seam I am just going to open it up and flatten it out so it is not so bulky there. That is also why I did the seam on the bias because it spreads the bulk out along the seam along the seam instead of laying it on top of itself Now I am ready to apply the piping up around the back of the chair. And I want this to be right along the edge of the wood When I put these staples in they don’t have to be right up next to my stitching because I am going to use the flexible metal tack strip to go along the whole edge to apply the fabric to the back. And this is why I want to use bias cording because of this curve, the bias will take this curve much nicer than a straight cording will And here also I can just feel the edge of the wood right here, so I am going to run the cording right down along the edge of that wood So that is the cording applied all the way around the back of the chair If you remember when we took the chair apart this was all stuffed with batting which keeps the front nice and firm. So, I am going to put all that back in And this piece covered it all I think I am going to change this and use the Polyester Batting because it is smoother than this and toss this piece. It will make the back look smoother when it is finished This does not have to go all the way to the edges, it is just to cover up all of those bumps underneath There hopefully it will not be quite so dangerous that way. I am going to apply this flexible

metal tack strip about a half inch away from the stitching on my piping. And each hole on the edge gets on leg of the staple in it The Flexible metal tack strip is great for upholstery applications where fabric panels need to go smoothly around corners, or straight a ways, a nd a finished edge is required I am going to end this where the break is in the two pronged pieces. Use a wire cutter to cut the Flexible Metal Tack Strip Before we lay the fabric on here I am going to start to tap these down a little bit so they are partially down before I try to pull the fabric around them The raw hide upholstery hammer comes in the Upholstery Tool Kit I going to measure the center between the legs here so I get my stripes centered on this piece also So there is my mark right there, I want my center of my strip to be right there. I want my center of my stripe to be right there I am going to put one staple to hold that in place and make sure I have enough fabric in all the other areas of the chair Cindi will tack down the bottom edge with the stapler Here she is working at the top edge of the chair I am pushing this down into the edge of the flexible metal track strip. My cording is here and the tack strip is underneath. As the tack strip is pushed down when we hammer it down, it’s going to tighten all this up Use your fingers and press the fabric up against the small teeth of the Flexible Metal tack strip And all this extra fabric gets trimmed out of here. It is wise after positioning the fabric along one edge (this is the top edge) to cut away the excess fabric before pushing the flange of the tack strip down more So, I am going to go all the way around and get it secured like that and then go back and finish putting the edge down You can just use your fingers to pull that up onto those little prongs You can actually use your fingers to start pressing it down before you use the hammer Cindi has not yet hammered it completely down anywhere, first she will insure that the fabric panel fits snug on all three sides with the prongs bent or hammered almost completely When she is satisfied she will then hammer it down completely all three sides giving it a very nice finished look including the curved corners

This fabric is a little bit light weight I actually like using my fingers to get it started better, because that way I have to hit it less times with the hammer. I do not want that piece of metal to go through the edge of my fabric Now she is satisfied and she will hammer it down all the way completing the finished look to all sides and at the corners At the bottom of the chair she will finish off stapling there and cut around the legs Now I can trim the back around the back legs Then it will be ready to put cording around the bottom of the chair I am going to use this cardboard tack strip to secure the cording to the chair, so I am going to cut it in pieces so that it stops and starts. So I want the edge of my cording to be up against the edge of my wood The cardboard tack strip comes in the Upholstery Tool Kit And the edge of my tack strip right up next to the stitching on the cording. When you want the tack strip to go around a curve, just cut little strips in it and it will curve Now I am going to trim this off, even with the bottom of the chair and put a couple staples right here. And then I am going to trim the cording off so that it will lay right over the top of it and put some hot glue on it to hold it in place So I am going to cut the cording right up close to the stitching. I am not cutting the stitching. Cut that little piece out. And I can use hot glue to lay that right up on top of that edge of the back chair fabric There is a groove in the wood on the leg of the chair that I want to run my cording in as I go around the front. So I am going to staple right up next to that groove And I am going to trim the seam off the cording again, so I can hot glue that down

Now we are ready to join the back edges together, so I am going to cut them off so they overlap about 3 inches. And undue the stitch on one end of my cording. And cut off this extra cord right next to the edge of the other one Then turn this at an angle, so it is not so bulky and tuck this one inside it. And finish stapling I am going to cut the dust cover for the bottom of the chair so I am going to do just a rough measurement. It is 23 x 23. Now when I put this dust cover on I am going to fold under the edge so that it is finished on the edge nice and neat. Put a few staples in the front Then go to the back. And put a few back here Then I am going to put a few in each side and cut around the legs Now I am going to cut around the legs. I am just going to cut right down the center of this leg. And turn all that inside On the back legs I am going to cut down both sides to go around the leg The channeled back chair project is now complete and it looks great! This is a great do it yourself project for anyone who has a little bit of a DIY spirit We are all finished with our channel back chair. Thanks Cindi! Coming up next is the materials list and the tools that we used throughout this project You will find hundreds of great indoor decorative fabric that will work great for chairs like this at Sailrite. If you have questions about our products or fabrics be sure to give us a call. Notice that most of the tools we used are included in the Upholstery Tool Kit from Sailrite To see more great upholstery make over videos click on a video snapshot here! For more free videos like this be sure to

check out the Sailrite website or subscribe to the Sailrite YouTube channel. It’s your loyal patronage to Sailrite that makes these free videos available, thanks for your loyal support! I’m Eric Grant and from all of us here at Sailrite, thanks for watching!