If you have a sweater you love but no longer wear, there’s another way you can give it a new life: Better still, you can give an old piece of furniture new life, as well. Adding some texture or color to a tired piece of furniture with this unique DIY is both simple and thrifty. You can create a truly one-of-a-kind piece with just a few tools by following these steps.
To starto re-covering a chair seat, stool, or cushion, you’ll need a sweater you wouldn’t mind cutting up, some fabric scissors, a flathead screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a staple gun, and some upholstery lining (if the previous lining is damaged or if there isn’t any).
How to remove old furniture upholstery lining
Begin by turning your furniture piece upside down so you can see all the lining and staples or upholstery tacks. You will usually see some black or gray lining that keeps everything on the underside of the seat looking neat. Carefully remove the staples that attach the fabric, as you can reuse it once the new sweater upholstery is in place. If it is damaged, get some new lining and use the old lining as a pattern to cut it to fit. Once you’ve gotten the lining free, you can put it aside.
Remove the old upholstery and staples
Next take a look at the edge of the old upholstery. It will likely be held in place with staples or upholstery tacks. Use your screwdriver and pliers to remove the staples. If the old staples are difficult to remove, try putting your flathead underneath the fabric and pulling up from underneath. Sometimes, spreading out the force will help loosen stubborn staples without having them break and get stuck. If you do end up with staples that break and you can’t get the pieces all the way out, you can use a pair of nippers to cut them short and then a nail set to hammer them flush so that they don’t stab you.
Add lining, cushion, and batting
Once the old fabric has been removed, take a look at the batting and the cushion material inside. If it’s intact, you can begin re-covering your seat by cutting the upholstery lining to the same size and shape as the previous upholstery, using the old upholstery as a pattern. If the padding needs to be replaced, you can get new foam and batting and cut it to fit. Make sure to note the approximate depth of your cushion for an accurate fit.
Hold the foam in place once it’s cut, then stretch the batting over top of it, stapling one edge along the bottom of your seat and then stretching it and stapling the opposite side beginning in the middle and working towards the corners. Then staple along the other two sides, holding the material firmly enough to pull out any wrinkles. Repeat this procedure with the upholstery lining, stapling it about a half inch from the edge all the way around.
Attach your salvaged sweater
Once your piece is lined and cushioned, take your salvaged sweater material and spread it out flat. The sleeves should be removed at the shoulder seams, and the fabric can then be cut and spread flat. Orient your sweater fabric in the desired direction to get the pattern lined up and to cover your seat. Make sure the right side of the sweater fabric is facing down and place your seat upside down on the material. Then, pull the back edge up and staple it along the bottom of the seat on one side about a half inch from the edge of the material, pulling it taught. Then pull the other side taught and staple from the middle out, chasing the wrinkles towards the corners. Staple along the sides next and then at the corners, fold any winkles inwards and staple and trim along the edge.
Last, replace the old (or new) lining, turning the edges under, and overlapping the edges of your upholstery material to create a clean edge. Then, turn your piece back over and enjoy.