Reupholstering a Channel Back Chair

Item # X-HT-200673

Do you have a chair with a channeled back like this one? It may look tricky to reupholster, but if you take your time assembling the back of the chair even a DIYer can get a professional-looking result. We’re carefully breaking down the steps we used to reupholster this simple channel back chair in our latest video so you can revive great chairs like this for your own home.

before and after of this channel back chair.

We loved the lines of this chair, but the yellow velvet fabric was looking dingy and very worn, making this chair the perfect candidate for new upholstery. For the new fabric, we chose a small-scale stripe fabric, P/Kaufmann Early Bird Stripe Sunshine. This fabric’s pattern fit with the scale of the chair and it has 51,000 double rubs, making it a really durable choice for upholstery.

This project features new upholstery skills for beginners learning along with us. As Cindi (our upholsterer) took the chair apart she had to fix the webbing under the seat to better keep the springs contained. In the video she also walks you through the process of creating and stuffing the channeled inside back and shows you how to use Flexible Metal Tack Strip to get a clean, curved edge on the chair’s outside back.

Video Chapters:

  • Calculating Fabric Required – 0:34 min.
  • Removing Old Fabric – 2:12 min.
  • Evaluating & Repairing Seat Springs – 5:31 min.
  • Patterning & Installing Seat – 11:13 min.
  • Patterning & Sewing Inside Back Channels – 21:03 min.
  • Stuffing Channels – 35:27 min.
  • Installing Inside Back – 39:31 min.
  • Making & Installing Piping – 50:39 min.
  • Installing Outside Back – 57:55 min.
  • Applying Piping Along Bottom Edge – 1:06:25 min.
  • Applying Dust Cover – 1:11:38 min.
  • Materials List – 1:14:27 min.

Materials List:

  • Upholstery Fabric (we used P/Kaufmann Early Bird Stripe Sunshine #106611)
  • Nylon Tex 70 Thread
  • Cushion Wrap Silk Film #103933
  • Polyester Batting White #100158
  • Welting Cord (we used the Medium 1/4" Welting Cord #107036)
  • Flexible Metal Tack Strip #106421
  • Cardboard Upholstery Tack Strip #106420
  • Cambric Dust Cover Fabric #106739
  • Webbing (if needed, use Jute Webbing #106824 or 2” Polypropylene #204420)

Tools List:

  • Tack & Staple Remover #104319
  • Rawhide Upholstery Mallet #106423
  • Sailrite® Short Nose Upholstery Staple Gun #121410
  • Assorted Curved Hand Sewing Needles #100100
  • Multiuse Pins 1-1/2" (250 Pins) #102985
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
  • Comfort Grip Rotary Cutter 60mm #9655
  • Cutting Mat 18" x 24" #102990
  • Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS Walking Foot Sewing Machine (100-230V) #300500
  • Surebonder HE-750 Professional High Temp Glue Gun #103684
  • Tape Measure, Wire Cutters, Pilers, Twine, Scissors, Seam Ripper, Marking Pencil, Shop Vac

Many of the tools featured in the video are included in our new Upholstery Tool Kit (#107122). This kit is perfect for beginner upholsterers to be fully stocked. You can find this kit along with other upholstery tools, notions and hundreds of fabrics at