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DIYdiy projectsUpholstery Basics

upholstery inspiration: geo maze barrel chair

by Amanda Brown


Although warmer weather and full blooms remind us that the grey days of winter are officially behind us, nothing rings in the season of margaritas (on the rocks with salt, please!) and outdoor fiestas like Cinco de Mayo. This month on Upholstery Basics, we create a geometric maze of colors with a simple striped fabric and feed our appetites for Mexican heritage and upholstery inspiration. Salud!— Amanda

Photography by Mel Cole of Rollins Cole


The full post continues after the jump…

Since I found this piece over a year ago, it’s been lovingly referred to as the turtle chair at Spruce. Green shaggy felt and tortoise shell back were no match for my vision and a staple gun.

A visit to one of my favorite Austin shops, Tesoros, produced a Guatemalan textile in a rainbow of stripes.

To make the geometric pattern, I cut fabric pieces on the bias, match the stripes, and seam them together to make a zigzag.

The back and seat screw together, so I remove the back to make padding and upholstering the seat easier. To reinforce and line the textile, I attached a layer of muslin over the padding.

By changing the direction of the stripes at every seam on the seat, I created a series of diamonds and a striking visual at the front of the chair.

For easier access, I flip the seat over to attach the last few staples to the bottom of the chair.

Are all of my seat staples concealed?

A mark on the padding helps line up the seam from seat to back.

To cover the barrel back, I drape fabric over the padded back and arms and mark the fabric where the stripes match and pieces meet.

Then I cut out the pieces and sew them together.

To conserve my Guatemalan textile, I sew a scrap of fabric to the bottom edge of the inside back and use it to pull and staple the fabric to the chair. When the back is attached to the seat, this fabric is concealed in the crack.

Back to stapling.

Pleated to perfection.

When the inside of the barrel back is complete, I bolt it back in place.

Webbing and burlap cover the surface of the outside back.

Followed by Pli-grip.

I drape the outside back just as I did before.

After sewing the pieces together, come a layer of Dacron and attaching the fabric.

The last few staples attach the outside back to the bottom of the chair.

Let’s get this swivel base out of the way and attach the dustcover.

Don’t forget to clear the screw holes!

One good dusting, and it’s finished! Creative pattern matching, seaming, and placement transform the turtle and a simple stripe into a psychedelic tribute to Mexico. All it took was a little imagination and a sewing machine.

Photography by Mel Cole of Rollins Cole.

Striped fabric available at Tesoros.

For more DIY upholstery and inspiration, visit the Upholstery Basics page or the Spruce website.

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