Did you know that jeans fabric has been invented 300 hundred years ago? Since then, jeans were worn as an uniform by workers and inmates, and also were used for haute-couture fashion garments on catwalks in Paris or New York and Milan. I can’t imagine a fabric more popular than this one.
And here’s my contribution to its development: a brand new upholstery for an office chair that was about to be thrown away. I saved it, and gave it a new appearance. Its new look makes me wonder how comes the furniture stores hardly sell couches or chairs with this type of upholstery.
This chair was still functional, but his faux leather was so damaged that you could hardly say the difference between this object and a Jurassic Park dinosaur.
I said to myself it was worth trying to re-upholster it. What could go wrong? In the worst case scenario, I would have thrown it away. So I grabbed some old jeans, the sewing machine, and the screwdriver, and here’s what I did next. It’s not the easiest project in the world, but this is not rocket science either.
First Step: Disassemble the Chair
Let me tell you from the start that this project is not the easiest I have ever made, but it’s reasonable in terms of effort and required skills considering its result. You could cover all the chair in fabric and have it fixed there for good (upholster it). I’d rather use a cover, sewing different pieces that I could later undress and wash, since my boys usually work as an unstoppable human stain factory.
Let’s see what you need for this project.
- 3 pairs of old jeans
- a detachable zipper for the lower side of the backrest
- a cord long enough to tighten the lower side of the cover for the seat
- multipurpose foam in the same size as the seat (optional, if needed)
- sewing machine, along with the proper thread and needles
- upholstery stapler for fixing the fabric on the arms
- screwdriver in the proper size for the screws
First, you have to disassemble the chair into pieces: the backrest, the seat and the arms. Remember where each screw goes so you could properly put all them back at the end of the project. Mark them with a number, to keep them in order, so you won’t miss them.
Upholstering the Arms
For this part, total upholstery for the pads is the best option. Cut a piece of fabric big enough to wrap the pad and fix it on the inner side using the stapler. Be sure you leave the screw holes uncovered, by chopping small pieces of fabric on each side, as you see below.
Use as many staples as you like, since the fabric has to be perfectly fixed below the pad.
Second part is the seat. I had to find a way to repair the pillow too since it was thin and old, so I grabbed a piece of multipurpose foam and I’ve placed it below the cover.
As for the cover, I cut a pair of jeans and used the legs for sewing it. I cut off the thick seam that you can usually find on the inner side of the leg, and I turned each leg into a plain piece of fabric. I sew them together to have one big piece of fabric for the whole seat cover. The seams that used to be on the outer side of the leg are now disposed beautifully on each side of the seat. To cut the cover, I left enough fabric to wrap the seat, the sides plus another 5-in, then I cut the corners round, as you see below.
Stretch the jeans on the seat as it should be at the end of the project, and fold the fabric on each corner, for a neat appearance. Sew it and cut the excess to keep the same length. You might need to cut again to round the corners, but it’s ok, you just have to look for a straight line on the margins.
Next, you have to fold the fabric on the inside and sew 1.5-in from the margin, as you see below. You will use this seam for the cord, so you could tighten the cover on the seat.
I wouldn’t say it really hard to do it, would you? Just take a look at this intermediate result, and you will be really proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. And more is still to come!
The last but not the least. I’ve used another pair of jeans, and took the same steps for using the lower side of the legs. Here I go again with two pieces of fabric, in the same size as the backrest. I’ve cut two more pieces of fabric for the sides, and cut them round at the upper corner, following the line of the chair.
After sewing them all, I got something similar to a pillow cover, with 6-in of fabric left loose on each side, so I could easily dress the backrest with this cover. The zipper had to be on the lower side, so here it is! I had to make one more fold close to the zipper, on each side, to keep the fabric tight on the sides, but loose in the middle, where is more pressure on the cover while sitting.
That’s all the sewing for this project, now let’s get back to the screwdriver and the screws.
Assembling the Chair
Do you remember what you did when disassembling the chair? Basically, now you have to take the same steps in reverse. But before that, there is only one more thing to do.
Each of the parts has holes for screws in them and you need to be sure they are all accessible for screwing. Since some of them are covered in fabric, you have to pierce the fabric to make room for them. Use a sharp object, like a screwdriver or scissors, to make the holes visible and press the fabric around them. Be sure that the fabric is stretched as it should be while sitting, in order to prevent these holes from ripping.
Fix the screws and tighten them, and you’ll get a brand new chair with the fanciest cover you can make from ucpycled jeans!
It took me a few hours to cut, sew and screw my new chair, but it worths the effort.
I just can’t understand why you never see new couches and chairs dressed in jeans. They are awesome, and it’s incredible how resistant is and how good it looks in almost any environment. Am I right?
What do you think of this project? Would you give it a try? Share you thoughts and you might help another DIY-er develop his or her new project!