My mom has a little spot in her home where she loves to knit but has been wanting to make this spot a bit more comfortable. I had a chair and footstool in my garage which I thought would go well together but needed some sprucing up. So I painted the chair and added a cushion, and today I just finished reupholstering the footstool. Here’s how I did it.
Making over this footstool was similar to how I made over my Vintage Sewing Chair. I used the existing upholstery to help me with both cutting out the new pieces of fabric, and to help me figure out how to construct it. Like my chair, there was also piping to make. So first, I removed the legs and all of the staples. This is the footstool upside down with no legs. The batting and foam all looked good so I’ll reuse them. It was difficult to remove the fabric, which told me that I will have to cut and sew very precisely in order for my fabric to fit well too. Gulp!
I kept the black bottom lining to reuse, and used my seam ripper to take apart the fabrics. I also saved the piping to reuse (but not the piping fabric).
I pressed all of the pieces flat with my iron and used them as templates. I marked the center and midpoints on the edges of my pattern piece so I could center it over my new fabric’s pattern (I wanted one of the brown diamonds in the middle). If you’re using a fabric where pattern placement doesn’t matter, you can skip that step. I traced around the old fabric with a washable pen in the exact shape and size as I want my new upholstery to fit just as well as the old one did. On that note, I also will do a 1/2 inch seam allowance as done previously.
There are two pieces sewn together at their short sides that make up the side of the footstool. I wanted the pattern of my new fabric to be centered on the side of the footstool, but when cutting out my fabric, I realized I should not center it from the cut edges, but where it will “show” on the footstool. So I centered the fabric between the seam that would be sewn to the top piece, and where it would fold down underneath the footstool to be stapled. Again, if you are using fabric where pattern placement doesn’t matter, you can skip all this fuss. As with the top piece, I cut the side pieces in the same exact measurements as before and also used a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Now to make the piping. I took another fabric and cut 2-inch bias strips at a 45 degree angle. I know in my Vintage Sewing Chair post I did not cut the my piping strips on the bias, but I realized that the fabric does make a much nicer curve around the corners when the strips are cut on the bias. So I’ll be doing it that way from now on!
I sewed the ends together like so. I always forget how to do this…it always takes me ten million tries before I get it right! So I’m taking pictures mainly for myself for future reference!
I pressed the seams open and trimmed the seams for less bulk.
Then I pressed the strip in half and inserted the piping against the fold and used my piping foot to sew it closed. The piping foot has a well at the bottom so as you lower the foot onto the fabric, the piping will fit right in and stay in place while you sew. You can also use a zipper foot and sew right up against the piping.
Oh by the way, at one end of the piping, you want the end very close to the edge of the fabric. But at the other end, keep it open about 1/2 an inch or so. This will overlap the other end when the two ends meet ( I’ll be trimming the fabric down when the time comes). I’m going to call this the “2nd end”.
Now to sew the piping to the top piece. I started with the “1st end” of the piping and the fabric are even i.e. not the one pictured above where the piping is sticking out of the fabric. I pinned that to one of the short sides of the top piece. Then when I reached the corner, I clipped the piping seam to help it go around smoothly.
When I went all the way around, I trimmed the fabric of the 2nd end so 1 inch was overlapping the end of the piping, and folded the fabric in 1/2 an inch. Then I inserted the 1st end into the 2nd inch, so that the two ends of the piping are touching and the extra 1/2 inch overhang of fabric on the 2nd end envelops the 1st end. Yikes…I trimmed the fabric on the 1st end a little too much, but in the end, everything looked ok (phew).
Still using my piping foot, I sewed all the way around to attach the piping.
Now to attach the top piece with the piping to the side pieces. But first, I sewed the two side pieces together at both the short sides to make a tube. Then as a test, I put it over the footstool to make sure it fit. Then, took the top piece and marked the midpoints on all four sides, and did the same with the side piece. I matched the two seams on the side piece with the markings on the short sides of the top piece.
Still using my piping foot, I sewed the side piece to the top piece.
Ok, let’s try it on for size. Phew, it fits!!! It’s not quite as tight as the original, but after pulling the fabric taught when I staple, it will look better.
I stapled the bottom edge of the side pieces to the bottom of the fabric, starting with the sides. Then I pleated the corners and stapled them down.
Then I marked the original holes for the legs, and stapled the black lining back on. Then I screwed the legs back in. All done.
I painted the chair with light blue chalk paint with a wash of diluted cream colored chalk paint. I used the same fabric as the piping in the footstool for the chair cushion.
Hope you like your new “knitting station”, Mommy!
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