August 27, 2013

How to Make a La-Z-Boy Recliner Less Ugly: Part 2

If you didn't see Part 1 of How to Make a La-Z-Boy Recline Less Ugly, click here.

I wish I had been able to get better pictures of the process, but I get so absorbed when working that I forget. Also, it's pretty hard to take pictures when you're stretching and stapling fabric. So, yeah, I do my best.

After the seat back being done, I decided to move on to the chair frame, which included the sides, arms, and reclining footrest. This part went pretty smoothly and was easy enough. Rather than sew three pieces together (arms, sides, and front sides), I decided to staple each one on separately. While this helped take out the sewing, it also added it's own challenges, like figuring out how to cover all the staples.

Before I started the chair, I sketched out a plan for the order of applying each piece and how I planned to do it. This helped a lot. I didn't follow the plan, but almost. I was thinking about applying piping to some of the edges, so I drew that in, but then decided against it.


I did the footrest piece first and it was easy--just basic stapling around the edges with the reclining part out and the chair upside down. Originally, there was a semi-attached piece with gathered seams, but besides the fact that it would have been more work, I also thought it was ugly. The simple way looked cleaner and better to me.


I added the front sides, using staples around all the edges to secure, which was also pretty easy. It's important to watch the direction of your fabric if it has a texture or a pattern. Mine had a tiny nap in the velvet, so I made sure to keep it lined up vertically on all the parts.


The reclining handle was looking pretty worn, so I primed and painted it. The picture above shows the white primer, but I ended up painting it a darker grey and then covering it in a few coats of Polycrylic. For some reason, the screw that held the handle to the metal bar wouldn't budge at all. The drill seriously couldn't make it move, so I just had to keep it on, which meant cutting a slit in the fabric to go around the bar.


To get a smooth curve in the fabric on the sides, I cut a piece of cardboard in the right shape and then lined it up on the wrong side of my fabric and drew a line. I then used that line to keep the fabric in the right place while stapling. The rest of the edges were just stapled under normally. The side piece was long enough to curve around to the back and cover the back sides as well, but I didn't take a picture of that here. Whoops.



This shows the slit I made to get around the handle. I glued it closed with Fabri-tac and another piece of fabric underneath.

Here, you can see the side piece on and the arm in progress. Oh . . . the arms. What a pain. I had to be pretty inventive with this part. I took off the foam and batting off the arm (which wasn't actually connected to anything anyway) and stapled the fabric on alone because it made it easier, but it was still hard. I used cardboard on the outside of the arms for the straight line, which wasn't bad, but then I had to pleat the fabric for the front of the arms and staple it in a way that I thought might look good. I had to re-staple several times before I got it to look good with the padding in. After the point of the picture below, I put the arm foam and batting back in and stapled down on the inside of the arm while pulling tightly.


It was pretty much impossible for me to get both arms to be perfectly symmetrical, so they're not. It was close enough for me to be satisfied though. For the backs of these arm pieces, I tucked the extra fabric under the arm in pleats and glued it down. I will admit, the arms were frustrating and briefly made me wish I hadn't decided to do this, but it worked out in the end. (Advice: if you feel stuck, take a break for a day or two and try again later.)


As you can see with the footrest up, there is another piece under that had to be covered in fabric. It was kind of tricky geting the holes to line up just right. I used the old fabric as a template for this part, but it ended up being inaccurate and I had to redo it anyway. Fortunately it was not a very big piece of fabric since I actually cut it twice before I got it right the third time. Man, I feel so professional sometimes.

So, the seat comes last. Will it be hard or will it be easy? Only tomorrow's blog post can tell . . .

1 comment:

  1. This is looking so nice, I'm looking into doing one myself,, You haven't had to sew anything so far? or did i happen to miss it lol.. It looks really good can't wait to see the finished.

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