How To Reupholster A Wingback Chair: 5 Easy DIY Steps

A wingback chair is comfortable, but it can be expensive at times. If you know how to reupholster a wingback chair, however, you can get them for a fraction of the price in thrift stores or just upgrade an old one that you already own.

Reupholstering a wingback chair cannot be done on a weekend if you’re only just learning. You have to break the chair apart to make it look new again. However, with time and patience, you should be able to make improvements until you finish the project.

how to reupholster a wingback chair


Materials Needed For Reupholstering

  • 9 to 10 yards of fabric
  • Upholstery staple gun and air compressor
  • Pliers
  • Staple remover
  • Jute webbing
  • Webbing stretcher
  • Regulator
  • Cotton piping
  • Polyester batting
  • Cotton batting
  • Stuffing
  • Burlap
  • Twine
  • Dust cover
  • Cardboard tack strip
  • Flex-grip


Reupholstering A Wingback Chair


Step #1. Break down the wingback chair

Remove pieces of the chair layer by layer. Remove the existing fabric and trim of the chair, all the way down to the batting. You can opt to save the pieces you tore off as they can be used as patterns.

Remove all the old staples because you will need space for new ones. It is also best to have a flat surface to tuck in your new fabric. You will also need to expose the inner framework of the chair by removing the foam near the bottom edge.


Step #2. Begin reupholstering

Start with the seat deck. You will have to sew a seam in the deck where the arms meet the seat.

Hand-sew through the seam allowance down into the frame of the chair using carpet threads. This will secure the deck fabric to the base of the chair.

Once attached, push the deck fabric through the side opening, under the arms, and pull the front portion down over the edge. Staple the fabric in place.

Using this method, work around the chair. After the seat deck, work on the interior sides, the interior back, and finally, the exterior sides and back. Once the front portion of the chair’s decking is stapled, you can secure the sides and back.


Step #3. Attach the interior side pieces

Using the old piece as a pattern, cut your new fabric, adding about two inches along the edges. Staple the pieces in place and pull back the edge of the fabric through the opening in the back.

Once stapled in place, you can trim the excess fabric using an Exacto knife. Moving to the interior back of the chair, staple the fabric in place across the top and fold it over the edge at the corner. Push the excess fabric through the back and secure it with a stapler.


Step #4. Work on the exterior

Begin with the exterior back and sides when making your side seams. Most will use a metal tape track system, but you can use seams, instead.

Cut your fabric pieces to size and pin them directly onto the chair. Run a line of pins down to the corner.

Sew the side of the seams and trim any excess to remove bulk. Staple the exterior back pieces in place.

Begin with the back top, and then the sides. Make sure to keep the seams running down the edge of the frame.

When all the fabric is on and the excess fabric has been trimmed, use hot glue to apply twill tape. This will cover the staples and will make your chair look more refined.

Using a measuring tape, mark off every inch of the tape with a pen and hammer in a carpet tack at every mark.


Step #5. Make the cushion cover

In making the cushion cover, use the envelope closure method. Cut the top piece first, tracing around the old fabric while adding seam allowance. Attach the side panel portion.

For the envelope closure, the bottom piece of the cushion cover is made of two pieces that will overlap for at least three inches. Cut the two pieces and make a finished edge at the openings.

Sew the pieces onto the side panel portion and line up the edges. Turn the cover right side out and stuff the cushion batting inside.


Tips To Make Reupholstering Easier


  • Follow basic safety rules

Be cautious and work safely. Use good quality working gloves and safety eye goggles when necessary. Put all the loose staples and tack strips in a box to keep people from stepping on them.

  • Take photos

Take photos of each step when you remove the fabric so you can reverse the steps when putting the new ones on.

  • Use old fabrics

If you break the chair apart properly, you can use the old fabrics as templates for your new fabric and covers.



Now that you know how to reupholster a wingback chair, you can take on the challenge of making something old into something beautiful. Whether you are reupholstering your old wingback chair or if you found a good bargain at a vintage store, you can roll up your sleeves to start a worthwhile project. Take it slowly, but steadily, and you will have a gorgeous piece of furniture soon.

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