One regret I have in life is not paying attention to my mother when she was trying to teach me to sew like her. Oh, I learned the basic’s but my mother was FABULOUS with her craft. My entire wardrobe was made by her and I am talking about designer looking clothes. She made our prom dresses, my cheerleader uniforms and even made my sisters wedding dress and the entire wedding party dresses. All of the draperies in our home were made by my mother and my favorite was a box of beautiful Barbie and Ken clothes that she made for me one Christmas. I have to say, that was my most memorable Christmas. I could NEVER even attempt to make some of the articles that she so masterly accomplished.

Getting back to the DIY story here, I have had my Grandmother’s chair for about 25 years. I always intended on recovering it but could never get up the courage. I could just imagine stripping it down to the bare parts and not being able to accomplish my task. At least I could just drape some fabric over it and not ruin it. But I needed a rocking chair for our cabin so I finally got the courage to try. It is not perfect, not anything as beautiful as my mother would have been able to achieve but I must say, I am a “little” proud of myself. I managed to get the fabric back on, it is usable and I didn’t ruin one of my treasured heirloom’s.


  1. You will need the following tools:
  2. Needle-nose pliers
  3. Camera or notepaper and pencil
  4. Scissors
  5. Stape gun and staples
  6. Batting
  7. Upholstery fabric
  8. Upholstery tacks

Carefully remove the fabric on existing piece or chair by removing the tacks or staples with pliers.

Write on each piece the location it came from your chair and the number in which it was removed. . It is a good idea to take detailed pictures of the chair from all angles and of each piece removed.

Try not to rip the pieces you remove because they will become your pattern.

Remove batting if needed. check springs and webbing. Repair if necessary.

If there is any wood that needs sanding and painting, do so now. Let dry

Cut a piece of batting to cover the chair back and seat if needed. Staple each piece in place.

Lay the original upholstery pieces, wrong side up, on the wrong side of new fabric, watching for the grain, placement of pattern or motifs, and direction of pattern. Pin in place and cut around pattern, leaving 2-3 inches of excess fabric beyond the stapled edges of the original pieces. This will give you fabric to grasp when stapling.

Re-apply each section to chair in reverse numbers. Pull fabric on each section taut, folding under edges and staple in place. Use as many staples as necessary to secure the fabric and keep it smooth. Refer to your pictures as often as necessary. (This was a life saver for me, having pictures)