The Louis XV chair is an elegant reminder of the past. With beautiful curved lines and vibrant fabric, the seat is an official piece of art. With only three cushioned parts — the seat , back and arms — upholstering a Louis XV chair is relatively simple. Almost anyone can do it one day using simple hand tools.
Pipes or Buttons
Most Louis XV chairs have piping surrounding the perimeter of the upholstered components. Piping is a circular or round strip of material used to hide staple lines. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull on the current piping from the seat, rear and the pads on both arms. When you purchase new material, purchase piping which fits or accents the cloth. If the seat has alloy buttons across the perimeter instead of piping, pry them away using a small screwdriver. If they’re in great shape save them. Otherwise, buy new ones.
Use a staple remover to remove the staples around the perimeter of the upholstered components. If the staples break, use diagonal pliers to pull them out. Wear gloves to avoid blisters. Gently pull on the cloth off the seat , back and arms. Keep the bits intact as much as possible. They’ll be utilized as templates to cut new fabric.
There may be different configurations of batting or burlap under the fabric on the seat and back based on when the chair was built or how it was designed. It may have cotton batting, foam, burlap or a combination of all of these. If everything is still in great shape, don’t remove it. If the foam or batting is crumbled, bunched up or flattened, remove it to reveal the springs. Springs are tied together with horizontal pieces of jute twine across the top. Replace broken jute twine if necessary. Utilize horseshoe nails to reattach loose jute twine into the seat frame. Use short pieces of twine to tie individual springs into the horizontal twine on top.
Replace batting with a comparable product. Cut replacements using the old bits for reference and staple them on. If the burlap webbing is loose, then stretch it using pliers and staple it tight. When it’s torn or shredded, replace it. Replace foam that is pitted, flattened or ripped. Use 1-inch-thick upholstery foam for the seat. Use 1/2-inch upholstery foam on the back and arm pads. Cut it to shape using the old bits for reference and glue it in place with contact adhesive.
Guns And Fabric
Cut equal pieces of fabric using the present fabric for a template. Cut the pieces a minimum of two inches larger than the template to give you something to work with. Center the fabric over the seat , back and arms. Utilize an air-powered staple gun to secure the fabric. Use upholstery staples using a 1/2-inch crown and 3/8-inch legs. This kind of staple gun shoots staples hard and quick. Use caution and wear appropriate eye protection.
Stretched And Wrinkled
Staple the material at one corner using the old staple lines for reference. Move diagonally to the next corner. Stretch the cloth moderately tight and repeat stapling. Do all four corners. Go to the middle point between corners. Stretch moderately and staple. Work around the cloth, stretching and stapling in precisely the exact same manner. Repeat the process on all four sides until the staples are about 3 inches apart. Begin pulling harder on the cloth between staples, removing wrinkles as you go, stapling it tight. If the cloth has patterns or lines utilize them for reference, then pull on the cloth until the patterns and lines align and are straight, adding staples as needed to ensure straight lines. Trim the fabric off with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch flap. Fold the flap over and staple it to supply a clean, folded edge.
Cut a 45-degree bevel on one end of the batting. Staple the mitered end of this piping over the above stapled line at one corner or edge. Press the piping into position, stapling it as you go around corners and along edges. Cut a matching 45-degree miter on the end where the two pieces come together. Optionally, use hot glue to secure the piping if needed. Another alternative includes brass buttons instead of piping. Hammer them in side by side to hide staple lines.