Re-covering a drop-in seat
The only tools you will need are a pair of scissors, a tape measure, a hammer, a mallet and a chisel. The materials needed to cover the padded seat are a sheet of wadding big enough to cover the top of the seat, a piece of calico to fit over the seat, a piece of upholstery fabric for the outer covering of the seat (big enough to go over the top of the seat and the underside of the frame), 1cm (%in) fine tacks and black upholstery linen or hessian for finishing the underside of the seat.
With the seat upside down and using the mallet and chisel, remove the tacks securing the old hessian. In the same way remove the tacks that hold the old outer fabric covering in place. Open out the hessian and the old fabric and use them to make paper patterns for the new pieces, making sure that the pattern allows for an extra 5cm (2in) all around for either turning under or stretching over the underside of the frame.
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Remove the old top layer of wadding and discard. Beneath this should be a layer of calico, under which is the horsehair. If necessary, remove the old calico, but if it is sufficiently intact, keep it in place. Cut a new piece of calico using the paper pattern made from the old outer cover. Lay the seat upside down on the calico and bring the sides up and over the edge of the frame. Using the hammer, secure the calico with a tack at the centre of each side. Smoothing the calico as you go, add tacks along each side of the frame. Pull the calico taut over the corners and tack. Fold a pleat to each side of the tack and trim away the excess fabric. Turn the seat over. Cut a new piece of wadding to exactly the same size as the top of the seat. This is a soft layer that prevents the spiky horsehair from coming through the fabric. Lay the wadding on top of the seat.
Using the paper pattern made from the old outer fabric, cut out a piece of fabric large enough to go over the seat to the underside of the frame. Lay the seat (with the wadding on top) upside down on the new outer covering. Tack the fabric to the frame.
Using the paper pattern made from the old hessian, cut out a fresh piece of hessian. Turn under the hem and fasten the hessian to the underside of the frame, tacking at 2.5cm (lin) intervals.
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