We got a lot done during week 4 of our upholstery class.  Janice attached the striped fabric panel on the bottom of her chair and positioned her buttons along the back.  Karen got the channeling for the back part of her couch sewn and stuffed.  We will be so happy when we’re done and don’t have to haul our pieces across town & in and out of the fabric store!

Janice’s Chair

Here is Janice’s chair at the beginning of week 4.


Today’s class consisted of attaching a panel of the striped fabric along the bottom front of the chair and attaching the buttons.  Her homework assignment from last week was to get some buttons made. She actually had two sets made by a local upholsterer – this set of striped ones and a plain set.

For the bottom front panel there is piping that runs along the top and bottom.  The top piping was sewn to the panel and the bottom was stapled to the chair.


Before attaching the striped panel, strips of plain fabric were attached to the chair legs to cover the area above the striped panel.

The striped panel with piping was then positioned and stapled in place.

A thin strip of cardboard stabilizer was attached to keep the piping in line.

Batting was then stapled underneath the fabric.  Notice that the batting extends a little above the top of the striped panel.

This is how it looked after the striped panel was installed.

The striped panel was then stretched around the legs and stapled to the side of the chair legs.  The last step was to finish off the front panel by stapling additional piping to the bottom.


Now it’s on to the buttons.  The buttons were first strung with long strands of string.


George demonstrated how to position the buttons, then Janice took over for the final measurements.  For the most part trying to measure a curved surface was difficult, and not exact, so eyeballing it was the final result.


A huge needle was used to thread the string from the front of the chair to the back.  All of the button threads were pulled through first.


To tie the buttons to the chair a French knot is done, with a piece of fabric or fiberfill positioned inside the knot. It is finished off with a regular knot.

Here is a little video on how the buttons are tied.

Janice wasn’t sure which set of buttons to use, so she tried both.  What do you think? (Please excuse the lighting in the pictures.  The room has flourescent lights which seems to be affecting the color).

The final choice will be revealed in our next upholstery post- week 5.

Karen’s Couch

Here is Karen’s couch at the beginning of week 4.  She can’t wait to get started on replacing the back channels.  Remember, she was going to reduce the number of channels from 18 to 7.

The first job was to finish stapling the cardboard edging along the piping on the bottom of the couch.


Next, Karen worked on the channels.  “Wedges” of fabric were sewn together to form the front panel for the channels.  To determine the size of each wedge, take the dimension of the top edge of the chair that the cushion covers (50″ in this case), divide by the number of channels (7), and add 1″ for the seams and ~1-1/2″ for the puffiness (50/7 + 1 + 1-1/2 = ~9-3/4″).  This is the width of the top of the wedge.   Then measure across the bottom and do the same calculations (36/7 + 1 + 1-1/2 = ~5-3/4″).  This is the width of the bottom of the wedge.  The length of each wedge should be enough to wrap over the top of the chair and down through the groove between the seat and seat back, allowing for puffiness and stapling.  Here are the wedges sewn together.

The back channel panel was made the same way as the front panel but using burlap.  The size of each wedge is the same as above, except you do not add the 1-1/2″ for puffiness, since the back of the channel lies flat.  The actual channels were formed by laying the front channel panel on top of the back burlap panel, wrong sides together, and sewing each seam allowance together.

Each set of seams sewn together forms one channel.  The ends were left open so the channels can be stuffed.

Phew!  Glad that bit’s done!  Next the channel piece was laid flat and a line 7″ up from the bottom was marked and sewn.  The fabric below this stitching will not be stuffed, and will slide in the groove between the couch seat and back.

Stuff, stuff, stuff.  Karen found that it took one bag of fiberfill stuffing to fill each of the five center channels.  An empty fabric tube works well to push the stuffing into the channels.


All of the channels should be fully stuffed and have the same firmness.


The next step was to remove the old channel fabric from the couch.  Thousands of staples were originally used to attach it (well, that’s a slight exaggeration)!

George helped, but Karen was still working at it when class ended.  This became her homework assignment for next week.

Lesson for today:  If you are thinking of reupholstering a piece of furniture and using lots of channels – you might want to think twice about it!!!

Only two more classes to go.  Do you think we will finish our projects by the last class???