An antique Victorian chair can add a touch of elegance to a living room. Victorian furniture from the early 1800s to the turn of the 20th century featured wood frames in mahogany, walnut, rosewood or ebony with plush upholstered backs and seats. Upholstery was often done in deep-buttoned or tufted for a highly decorative appearance. Replacing the deep-button upholstery on an antique Victorian chair requires some practice to produce quality job. The look is achieved by pulling the fabric through inches of padding and allowing pleats to form on four sides of the button.
Taking accurate measurements is important for professional-looking deep buttons on your antique Victorian chair. Measure the seat and back and allow an outside border of 4 inches on all four sides. To find the field for the deep button pattern, subtract the border measurement from the length and width of the project to give you the field to be deep-buttoned.
Creating a Pattern
Traditional tufting patterns form a diamond shape slightly taller than they are wide. Typically, no button is placed in the exact center of the field. A field area might accommodate two diamonds in the height and four diamonds across if each diamond measures 11 1/2 inches high and 8 1/2 inches across.
Before you can begin tufting you have to prepare the base by stretching webbing across the frame and securing it with staples, first in one direction and then weaving the webbing across in the other direction. Staple burlap over the webbing to prevent the foam from falling through the frame and altering the tufts.
Preparing Foam and Burlap
Keep your pattern even by drawing the diamond tufting pattern on the foam. Drill out the holes where the diamonds intersect to indicate the position of the buttons. Mark the hole pattern onto the burlap by placing the drilled foam on the base and marking it through the drilled hole. Cover the foam with batting.
Adding Fabric and Buttons
To determine how much fabric you need to reupholster your antique Victorian chair, use a soft tape measure starting at the 3-inch mark and poke it through each hole. Use button twine and a mattress needle to secure the button to the fabric. Poke the needle down the foam hole and through the burlap and webbing, and secure the button with a slipknot. Finish the project by installing batting to cover the ties and make the underside neat. The last step is to admire your handiwork and enjoy your newly reupholstered antique Victorian chair.