Man Corner: Recovering vinyl bar stools (on a regular sewing machine)
September 4, 2013
Before and After
**Edit: I sewed this completely on my regular home machine. It is a Brother HE-120 so pretty basic and any sewing machine can sew this project. I used a Schmetz size 16 needle, Coat Clark All Purpose Thread and a piece of matte scotch tape on the bottom of my regular machine foot. The tape reduces friction when top stitching.
My husband owns a motorcycle shop and is always bringing home cool motorcycle stuff for me to fix up man-style for his shop. A few years ago he scored a pair of stools from another motorcyle shop. These stools were practically in the dumpster when my frugal-minded husband snatched them up knowing he had a crafty wife at home. The stools have seen better days back in the early 90's (umm, maybe) but even then it looks like they were all looks and not much comfort. I took one look at them and knew I could do better.
We started with 2 yards of black vinyl since my husband has since found a third stool. Since each stool seat is approx. 14'' in diameter and 4'' high I calculated that 2 yds would cover it. Next, find and mark the center point. This makes it easy to measure the diameter. Now measure the diameter, at least twice moving the ruler as you go. This means measure it one way then pick up the ruler and measure it another way. Yes, it is a circle but not all stools are perfectly round and since this stool is old it might be out of round and warped. It was but my average was 13.75''. Your vinyl will stretch a bit so go with the average measurement not the smallest or the largest. add 1'' to your circle measurement for seam allowance. Now, measure how tall your seat is. To calculate how big to cut your band, use a circle calculator and find the circumference and add 1'' for seam allowance. This is your band length. The height of the seat plus 2-3'' (for pulling and tucking) is the width of the band.
Now on the reverse of your vinyl draw your circle. Draw and cut your band. Sew the short ends of the band right sides together. As you pin the band to the circle, clip into both about 1/4'' and keep the pins in the 1/2 seam allowance just to be sure not holes show when finished. Next, start sewing about 2'' past the band seam and sew around to about 2'' before the band seam. If you have any measurement discrepancies or stretching you can easily adjust the band size without ripping any seams. Finished stitching.
See my band was too big but easily fixed
Clip all the way around just shy of the seam. Finger press your seam towards the band and topstitch it in place. Now trim that seam to 1/4''.
Take 1'' foam (this is double the thickness of the foam I removed) and trace your original circle measurement on to it and cut it out with scissors. I used standard chair pads. Remove any old fabric and using spray adhesive attach your new foam to the seat base. Wait 30 min (time for a glass of wine!) then slide your seat cover over the base. Flip over your stool onto a clean smooth surface since vinyl can scratch. Using a staple gun start on 4 "corners" of the compass of your base and attach your cover. Work around the entire circle until your cover is secure. Flip is over and sit yourself down.
Our stools will be going behind his front desk for the employees to sit on and for me when I come to visit and take my turn behind the counter. My bum is really looking forward to the new seat covers and increased foam thickness and density. Now its your turn to fix up your bar stools whether it is for your husband or your kitchen. Trust me, you'll feel better and its so easy!
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