We have been busy covering all the details of this reupholstery tutorial for this gorgeous antique settee over the last couple of weeks. Today, we will dive into the final parts of the tutorial! Let’s begin with the finish on exposed wood on this settee…..
reupholstery tutorial 1 & 2
O golly, there I go again getting ahead of myself! Maybe you need a refresher of the deconstructing and the repairs we did on this settee first! Here are those two posts:
OK, so back to the wood sections of this tutorial. Antique furniture often has exposed wood with detailed carving. I love to highlight the wood tones while lightening up the wood at the same time.
I did a bit of sanding with my Surf Prep Rad Pad just to scuff it up a bit. The pads are soft and pliable and go around the curving wood with ease.
Then I pulled out my jar of Miss Mustard Seed White Wax and got to work on this beautiful wood section.
But it wasn’t exactly the look I had in mind. It certainly is lovely in it’s own right, just not the look I wanted.
So I tried another wax. First I used odorless mineral spirits to remove the white wax and once it was dry I used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in the Special Dark color.
Still not what I had in mind.
backflips are a must!
Maybe you think I am fickle and maybe I am, but I couldn’t pinpoint in my mind what I was looking for, I just knew when I saw it, I would know. I often say I have to do back-flips over something before I am sure it. 😆
Once it was dry, I used upholstery weight batting to buff it to a soft sheen.
I also used an old shoe polishing brush to buff the areas in the nooks and crannies.
Once I saw the buffed dark wax, I knew I found what I was looking for.
The next step is to add the upholstery batting. I kept the original horsehair batting because it was in good shape but I knew that adding a new layer of batting would just add to the smoothness and softness of this antique settee.
After cutting down the batting to fit, I added a layer of heavy muslin fabric as the underlayer. I won’t go into detail here but you can see that the sections have to be cut to go around the framing of the antique settee.
You can read more about cutting around the frame in this Victorian Chair Reupholstery post.
See how I have pulled the fabric through to the back and stapled down to the bottom section of the back of the settee? That is what we will do with the entire back of this piece.
Once all the seat fabric had been attached, I then attached it to the front. See the area I am pointing at in the image below? That is where I ran the row of staples while pulling the fabric taught.
When attaching any fabric, start at the center and work outwards, pulling it taught. A Pneumatic staple gun is sooooo helpful!
I went through the same process with the back of the antique settee but as you can see in the image below, I added an additional layer of batting. The layer of original horsehair batting wasn’t in as good of shape as the seating area. So it needed an extra layer of batting.
I used short scissor cuts to go around the curves of the settee as I remvoed the excess batting.
let’s move inside!
The antque settee had to come in the house for the next steps. I would be attaching the good fabric and my workshop can be a bit dusty. You can also see how the back looks after attaching the seat and back fabrics.
See where the two separate? I can still fit my hand in the area from the front and come out on the back. This is super important so that the good fabric can be attached the same way as the underlayer of fabric.
When attaching the underlayer of fabric you only need to use a few staples to hold it all in place. But when you get to the good fabric, be sure to use many more staples. You can see here that they are very close to one another. Think of sewing – the stitches are close to one another to hold the fabric pieces together. Upholstery is similar only instead of thread you are using staples while you connect fabric and wood together!
mapping a plan
Mapping out the back of the settee, I realized it would be best to treat the whole back as one. That meant I would have to sew panels together to accommodate the size of the settee.
I decided the seams would run along the back vertical framing on either side. I found the middle of the settee and the middle of the fabric and lined them up together.
Then I marked where the frame was on each side with a light pencil mark. I also added a 1/2″ seam allowance. I cut the center back piece of fabric as well as enough fabric for the two side panels.
Next, I sewed the seam. I choose to use a flat-felled seam. Sounds fancy, but it isn’t. Let me tell you how to sew this seam!
Stitch the seam right sides together. Then press the seam to one side. Stitching from the top side, run a stitching line approximately 1/4″-3/8″ away from the seam.
This seam just adds another layer of character to the piece, don’t you think?
I also knew that going around the curve would be a challenge. The top curve was wider than the bottom curve.
Pleats were my solution. I folded and pinned as I moved around the curve until it laid flat. Once I was satisfied with the fit, I took off the whole panel, folded it in half and transferred the pleats to the other side. Pay close attention to which direction you make the pleats go. You want a mirror image on the opposite side!
Back to the machine, I top-stitched the pleats down.
Next up was to pull the bottom of the top (hope that makes sense!) through to the back and staple just like I did with the underlayer.
Then it was time to staple the top edge. Rememeber to start at the center and work outwards. Go slowly and pull the fabric taught as you go!
calling it a day!
Whew! That’s enough for one day! Next time we will add the rustic burlap backing and jute trim. I can’t wait for you to see this whole piece finished! I will share all the reveal photos along with a fun wall decor idea in the next and final post of this Reupholstery Tutorial series!!
Thanks so much for joining us for this reupholstery tutorial! You can see how much work it is. But when you break it down in steps, it is certainly doable!
Follow along on our reinvneting journey on Instagram and Facebook. We love showing behind the scences of many of our projects! Feel free to pin any of the images you see for your future reference on your Pinterest boards!
Join our email list below for blog updates and other happenings and I’ll send you a list of our favorite items to reinvent!