Design Dilemma

Hello all!   Thank you so much for all the sweet comments on my one year blog anniversary.  You  are the reason I love blogging!

Now I need your help.  I bought a bergere chair for my shop months ago and I told myself if it doesn’t sell soon I’ll be bringing it home with me. The chair sat in the shop for months with no interested buyers, so home it came.  I have always wanted an antique French bergere but the prices stop me dead in my tracks.  This one is a reproduction, has great lines and was an affordable find from Craigslist.

Here is my dilemma:
I do not like the fabric nor does it go with anything else I have planned for our living room.  I have looked into having it reupholstered but the cost is more than five times what I paid for the chair!  I don’t really want to spend this kind of money on a reproduction so I am thinking….of trying to reupholster this myself!

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know my sewing skills are limited!  The only sewing I have done is to make a few pillows and a tablecloth.  I have reupholstered dining room chairs by just stapling on new fabric. Please tell me should I even attempt this or just put the chair back on Craigslist?  For those that have reupholstered is this something a novice can handle?

If I decide I am crazy enough to tackle this project I’ll be sharing fabric choices with you on a later post. Thanks for your help and honest opinions.


29 thoughts on “Design Dilemma”

  1. Sherry,
    No I can't help you!! But I just wanted to tell you good luck I am having the same sort of dilema myself with my kitchen chairs, I am pretty handy and a self taught artist but SCARED of messing up my chairs! can't wait to read what advice you get. GOOD LUCK!!! It is a wonderful piece!

  2. Thank you so much Sherry for coming over to my blog! I am excited to dig into your archives now. Your header pictures are beautiful! I think we like a lot of the same things.I am following you too!!

  3. Oooh…I LOVE it, Sherry!! But I have only reupolstered seats…not a whole chair! I found a great reproduction at a steal of a price, but had the same problem, so I didn't buy it. You know, Joann, etc. sometimes has classes like that. Do yo have one near you? You might check. I can't wait to see what you decide to do! Happy week!…hugs…Debbie

  4. Hi Sherry~
    Oh I wish we lived closer!!! I would so come help you tackle that chair!! I love the lines it has and it has so much potential for being a beauty that you would adore!! I have checked into upholsters before and have been shocked at the price!! I honestly think, from my experience, the cushion would be the hardest part. The back and seat and arms would be stapling new fabric on like your dining chairs. The cushion would need to be sewn- but you could get cording to make it easier and I think you can do it! If you would like some help from one do it yourself girl to another- let me know and I will try to help in any way I can. But if you decide it is too much to take on, I can understand that too. Good luck on your decision! 🙂

  5. Hi Sherry, I know you can do it yourself, I know I would. In fact I think it would be a lot of fun and sort of easy too. What the heck go for it! Personally I would add a just little bit more padding and to the arm area as well.

    KEEP THE CHAIR… it's a wonderful piece!

  6. Hi Sherry…

    Girlfriend, I say "you can do it"! I haven't done that much reupholstering but I would certainly give it a try! I have a couple of chairs that are somewhat similar in design and I have been studying what to do! Hehe! You know…there are sooo many talented people here in blogland that could point you in the right direction as well! It certainly is a gorgeous chair! Ohhh…I have had my eyes out for a pretty french Bergere chair as well! Best wishes, dear friend! I really think you can do this!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  7. Hi Sherry, what makes this chair difficult is all the piping around the cushions and it's attatched to the chair. In my humble opinion I would work with an upholsterer. Have you considered working out a trade, if you have a shop? Is there anything the upholsterer would like from your shop as a trade for his services? Just a thought, tami

  8. ~*~Ive seen some ladies use the home depot drop cloth as fabric for the covers! That would save alot of fabric $ and then maybe have someone make a slipcover for it? I dont Im not much help in that area!lol.. Hugs,Rachel~**~

  9. I would go to the library and get a book on how to do upholstery. If it was a reasonable cost then just go for it and try it! Or try a smaller project first. I have never done upholstering because I find it intimidating too! good luck…a thought, I have heard of fabric paint…does anyone know anything about that in blogland?

  10. Too bad that fabric doesn't work for you. I like it! I haven't done any upholstering, so I can't help in that area. However, as talented as you are, have you thought about some bartering? I'll bet there's a good upholster in your area who would love a piece from your shop or you. Good luck with it–the chair is a beauty.

  11. Too bad you don't live close to me. I asked an Amish man about doing a wing chair for me. He told me to get the fabric and he would do the chair for $100!!! He does excellent work, so I was amazed. Hope someone helps you, that is a beautiful chair!

  12. I bought a chair at an antiques mall almost exactly the same, dark frame and covered in ugly green – other than that I loved it so much and as it was sturdy decided I would bite the bullet and pay what was necessary to make it special – altho' it hurt!! Upholstery is not my forte altho' I sew well. I had them strip it then I painted and distressed the frame and returned it to them. Already had enough linen purchased earlier so fabric wasn't an issue. They charged $250 which I thought fair as, like yours, there's a loose seat cushion – and I had two rows of cording added. I LOVE my chair – it's in a bedroom right now, however will move back to the living room once I have my new slip covers for other chairs and couch. Having them made too – just too much fabric for me to handle!

    I think if you love it and want to use it in an area where it will be sat on often, you need professional help upholstering. Otherwise, for a piece to use now and then, or as a decorative chair, you could cover it yourself by stapling fabric on casually and then have a slipover made in matching fabric for the cushion.

    If you view my post of Nov. 4 you can see my chair.

    Hope you can keep yours Sherry – Bergeres are so beautiful, especially if you are going for a French look.

    Mary – A Breath of Fresh Air

  13. I think this is something you could tackle, at least in part. Check to see if your local high school or trade school has evening classes in upholstery. Its a great way to get a project finished with the expertise of those who know the "ins and outs" of the trade. The big drawback to this is lugging the chair to class each week.

    If that's not an option and you feel that you could do the base of the chair where its stapling and gluing on the welting then carefully take those pieces apart, trace them on your new fabric and then start stapling and gluing. You said you've done pillows before so you should be able to do the chair back. As for the cushion if this is out of your comfort zone then pass the upholstery dude to make that for you. Hope this helps.

  14. Oh Dilemma indeed. The chair is fantastic! I can only red0 basic bar stools and things like that. I bet somewhere out here is a great tutorial, perhaps you tube it, and you can actually see it done. I am visual and would learn best by seeing it live:) Good luck can't wait to see what you come up with.

  15. Sherry, I sew and have done some basic reupholstering… The cushion would be the hardest part for you, but you could DEFINITELY do the rest.. How about getting just the cushion professionally done? That shouldn't be TOO Expensive… I'm going to go find you a link from a friend of mine… She has great tips!

  16. Sherry, Besides the cushion I don't think it would give you any problems… I just redid a similar chair (minus the cushion) ,and it wasn't bad at all… My friend, Kelly, has a great tutorial for doing seat cushions. IF you can't do that part how about paying someone to do the cushion only? That would be a fraction of the cost…. Ask around at your discount fabric places…SOMEONE should be able to do that cushion for a lot less than a fortune.

  17. Have you considered having someone do the cushions and then doing the rest yourself? Actually, the parts attached to the chair don't require any sewing at all. My friend recently did a chair similar to this one and all you do is make a template and cut the fabric to size, then staple the fabric on (as close to the edge as possible) then cover the edges with decorative cording. The price to have the back and bottom cushions done might not be that expensive.

  18. Sherry, sorry – I can't help you out. But just wanted to let you know that I love the lines of the chair and can't wait to see what you end up doing with it. Good Luck and Happy One year Blogiversary!

  19. Sherry, I love all your ideas and read your blog all the time. I too have a chair I bought and wanted it redone but I have little skills in this area. I found the material on clearance at Joann's and I asked the person who could redo the chair if they would take it apart and I would paint it and so all they had to do was put new stuffing in it and put on my material. It cost me $75, I even thought that was a little much but the chair is perfect. Now she is doing another one for me and I traded some thing from my store for the her work. Just an idea.

  20. If any first-timer could pull off this chair, it would be you. I just saw a great tutorial on refinishing a similar chair. If I can remember where I saw it, I'll pass it along. I think if you followed a great tutorial and took your time, you could do this, Sherry! Just popping in to catch up as I haven't had but a minute a day to blog hop lately. I appreciate your friendship, sweetie.

    Hugs to you,

  21. Yep, you and I are on the same sewing skill level I think. My rocking chair is much more rustic than your chair, so I think my imperfections won't be as noticable.

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