chair reupholstery project: add texture to your fabric + tutorial

foggydress_velvet_chair My good friend Brooke L. kindly gave me this pretty chair that was from her grandparents old house. I knew the seat cover would need reupholstering, but was debating for a while whether or not to paint the wood. In the end, I decided against it – how could I paint over that glossy cherry color?? I couldn’t. After a visit to my local (newly discovered) fabric store, I  found the perfect, deep royal purple velvet to compliment that dark, shiny wood. 




Instead of just covering the cushion with a solid pattern, I decided to cut the fabric in diagonal strips and sew them together to give it more texture and a little contrast. It turned out exactly how I envisioned (which does not always happen). Needless to say,  I love it.


Keep reading for the tutorial on how to make the diagonal-cut fabric design. Then see my Chair Upholstery Tutorial here for how I reupholstered this chair. 

foggydress_velvet_chairBesides a sewing machine, you will need:

  • scissors
  • pins
  • 1 yard (could be more depending on your cushion size) of yummy fabric (I used non-stretchy velvet)
  • fabric chalk to trace (although I’m pretty sure it’s the same as regular chalk, just in a different shape)
  • ruler (yardstick ruler would be best) (and yes I forgot to include it in the supplies picture, oops)

foggydress_velvet_chairFirst, remove cushion from chair.

foggydress_velvet_chairDrape 1 yard of fabric over cushion. We want about 3.5 inches of border all the way around.

foggydress_velvet_chairMeasure 3.5 inches on all sides, and pin.

foggydress_velvet_chairFollowing pin lines, cut away excess fabric (you will have a bit extra- I always like to have more left over for other projects! Plus, better safe than sorry).


foggydress_velvet_chairFlip the fabric over to the back (non-velvet) side. Using your fabric chalk, measure from the corner of your fabric about 3 inches, place a dot there. Repeat. Then draw lines going diagonal (see picture above).

foggydress_velvet_chairOnce you’ve drawn the lines, you can now cut them into strips (see above).

foggydress_velvet_chairStarting at one corner, take two strips and align them as if they’re folded in half, with the velvet sides facing each other (see picture to the right).

foggydress_velvet_chairUsing your sewing machine, carefully sew a straight line to connect the pieces. Repeat with remaining strips. (you can surge or zig-zag stitch afterwards to make it stronger/more sturdy, but it’s not necessary).

IMG_8144The back side should look something like this ^^ ( I surged the ends).

foggydress_velvet_chair The front side should look like this ^^ (all that lint, dang it!)

foggydress_velvet_chair (I started to surge the ends ^^ but then got lazy – ain’t nobody got time fo dat!)

Once your fabric is all sewn together, don’t freak out that the ends are kind of crooked (I sewed the wrong order of pieces ok!). These will be tucked under and trimmed off anyway, so no once will ever know! Then, follow my previous Chair Reupholster Tutorial here to attach your newly textured pattern.


Now take a seat, or better yet, just admire your new pretty, updated chair.


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