Diy upholstered settee…How I did it.
Finally after about a month this DIY Upholstered Settee is finally completed.
I’m warning you in advance that this is only part 2 of 3. There are just so many steps that I don’t want to cram them into one post.
The big delay was the fabric. It wasn’t in stock for almost 2 weeks and then when it did come back in stock, they only had 3 yards and I needed at least 5 yards. The second delay was me having to drive across town twice to get my foam because it wasn’t cut correctly the first time.
When we last left off, I completed the frame of the settee.
Before I could go any further, I had to solve an issue that was caused by my novice jigsawing skills.
The top of the back legs were not even and flat so I cut 1/4″ pieces of wood to length and attached them to the fronts of the legs with lots of wood glue and finish nails. I planned on adding nailhead to the seat back and I wanted them to all lay flush and even. I let the glue dry overnight.
Below you will find a supply list that was needed to complete this portion of the project.
(3″) HD Foam
(4″) HD Foam
(5 Yds) 54″ wide Upholstery Velvet Fabric
(5 Yds) 36″ wide cotton muslin
(2 Yds) 45″ wide Calico (Quilting Cotton)
(20 Yds) 3-1/2″ Jute Webbing
(5 Yds) Welt Cord
3/4″ Dacron (Polyester Batting)
Heavy Duty Staples (1000 count pk.)
Permanent Spray Adhesive
I wanted my seat to have some flex to it. I didn’t want it to feel like I was sitting on a piece of foam that was sitting on a piece of wood. Jute Webbing was the way to go. It flexes just a tiny bit but holds a ton of weight. I ordered a 25 yd roll of 3-1/2″ 9 lb Jute Webbing from Online Fabric Store. Using a Heavy Duty Electric stapler and 5/16″ staples, I secured the end of the webbing to the seat frame. I cut a piece of 1x pine to 2″ to use as a spacer.
After I laid my webbing in one direction, I stretched and stapled the opposite ends using my homemade webbing stretcher.
Essentially it’s just an 8″ piece of Poplar 1×3 with some finish nails nailed through the end. I’ve read that others use the dog brush but I don’t have a dog and I forgot to order the stretcher when I ordered the webbing.
You have to pull the webbing so tight that if you were to toss a tool onto the webbed piece, the webbing will bounce it right back to you.
I continued my 2″ spacing and stapling routine weaving the webbing under the opposite piece until I webbed the entire settee.
I strategically placed the staples where they would not be in the way of the stapling of the upholstery fabric.
When I webbed the seat back of the settee, I stapled closer to the inside edge of the poplar boards so that the webbing would not interfere with the nailheads. I bought an electric stapler just for this project and the webbing was still really hard work. I have the calluses and swollen hands to prove it.
What should have taken me about 25 minutes took me 3 hours. The main reason being that you cannot operate it with one hand. You need to use both hands to keep the staple from pushing back when you pull the trigger.
Before I tackle another upholstery project I’m going to buy a pneumatic stapler.
In the photo above you will notice that the legs are still white. At this point I stripped them and stained them in Rustoleum Ultimate American Walnut. I should have done it before I even assembled the settee but I wasn’t sure if I was going to paint, stain or spray paint them.
Next it was time to add the foam. In order to keep the foam from breaking down and being squished through the little square openings in the webbing, I attached some Calico (quilting cotton) to the seat and the seat back. I stapled it securely in place.
I sprayed the fabric and the foam with permanent adhesive a little at a time. Then I pressed it firmly in place and let dry.
I used 3″ thick super soft foam on the back of the settee and 4″ thick firm foam on the seat. For the back, I had the foam cut to 3″ shorter than the actual back on three sides and 3″ shorter on the bottom.
For the seat, I had the foam cut to exactly 24″ deep x 46″ wide, the exact measurement of the seat. I used my bread knife to bevel the edges of the foam. In hindsight, I wish I had not beveled the foam on the seat. I actually prefer the more boxy look.
Next I covered the foam with Dacron (Polyester Batting) and stapled in place. Then to give the settee more shape, I covered everything with cotton muslin.
This makes adding the fabric much easier. You don’t have to pull, tug and handle the fabric as much because the muslin keeps the Dacron in place. Notice that on the side, I stapled on the side of the back and not directly on the back of the seat. I wanted to leave as much room as possible for the staples that secure the fabric to the back of the settee.
Now the settee is ready for the upholstery fabric. I measured the settee to get the desired lengths of fabric and I cut as I went. First I cut the seat fabric. Because I added 4″ foam and needed to cover the seat and staple on the underside, I needed to cut my 56″ wide fabric to 66″ long.
I centered the fabric over the seat good side down and pinned the corners for sewing.
This fabric had a little give to it so it was difficult to get a precise corner so I did the best that I could. This is one of the reasons I wish I had not beveled the seat foam.
After both corners were pinned, I sewed the corners in and draped the fabric over the seat right -side-up.
Using fabric scraps I sewed welt cording for the front legs and for the entire back of the settee. Roughly 10 feet or cording.
If you are going to use velvet, I’m going to warn you that sewing with velvet is a real pain in the ass. Sewing machine feet don’t like the pile on it and you have to sew really slow to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in your feed dogs.
I stapled the welt cord to the front legs then I cut a few pieces of chipboard with my rotary cutter.
To keep the fabric from pulling back from the legs, I placed the fabric over the welt cord upside-down. Then I stapled a small piece of chipboard over the two layers. The chipboard was lying as close as it possibly could to the edge of the welt cord.
Then I pulled the seat fabric back and tucked and stapled it around the frame.
Once I staple all the way around, those little wrinkles will disappear and the fabric will look tight around the legs. I pulled the fabric really tight through the back of the seat and secured with staples.
Then I adjusted and folded the upholstery fabric around the back legs.
I trimmed away the excess fabric and moved on to the seat back.
I cut the fabric for the seat back from the bolt. I needed the entire width of the fabric but only 32″ of the length.
Again I fitted the fabric piece over the seat back.
I tucked the fabric in place just how I wanted and then I put a tiny cut with the tip of my scissors in the fabric right where it needed to wrap around the back leg. Then I cut into the fabric making a big valley to ease around the back leg of the chair.
I pulled the middle section of the fabric through the back of the seat and put some staples in the top of the seat back.
I put three in the middle and one on each end.
Then I pulled the fabric tight and stapled the bottom of the seat back smoothing the fabric as I went along.
I neatly tucked and wrapped the fabric around the leg and secured with staples on the inside of the seat back.
When I stapled the fabric at the top, I left as much space as possible at the top of the seat back to leave room for the welt cord and back fabric.
I took the other 8-1/2′ of welt cord that I sewed previously and secured it to the outside back of the settee. I only put a staple every 6″ or so to anchor it.
I very neatly turned the corner and secured the cord with two staples.
Working from the underside of the welt cord, I hot glued the cord to the back edge of the frame on all three sides. That way, the cording will not move.
I clipped the excess welt cord at the bottom of the leg just above the welt cord that I placed around the back legs. Then I trimmed all the excess bulk fabric around the welt cord. Bulk is bad in an upholstery project. Too many layers and excess fabric/batting keep your staples and nailheads from staying in the wood.
This is where I will leave you for today. Next I will show you how I finished the back of the settee. I know you are probably dying to know how much this cost so I’m putting together a cost breakdown for you. I’m still editing photos but I hope to wrap that up tomorrow.
If you missed the first part please read Diy Settee Pt. 1