Keeping it local: Upcycling my wing back chairs

After acquiring two wing back chairs from a friend whose Mother was having a clear out, it became my mission to up-cycle them to suit my living room. Great in principle.


In practice, it has been a little more difficult.

Finding the fabric

After browsing through fabric samples the idea soon fixed in my mind that I wanted tartan, but it had to complement the curtains that I had made a few months before.


After searching all the Manchester based fabric shops I know of, and scouring the internet for samples, I ventured to Macclesfield on a recommendation.

It was worth the drive. In Shufflebotham’s I found a soft furnisher’s paradise. The shop is full of the largest selection of fabrics I have ever seen, it was like walking in to Aladdin’s cave! And, more importantly, they had exactly what I was looking for. Luckily I had taken a sample of my curtain material with me, so I was sure that it was perfect.


I was so pleased with my find that I took my Mum there a few weeks later and she managed to find some amazing curtain material.

From now on, all my soft furnishing projects will start there. Well, all except for the cushions I made to use up the leftovers using the easy to follow envelope method, featured on Kirsty’s Homemade Home.


Finding an upholsterer

I don’t know whether anyone else has this problem, but every time I try to arrange work in the house I am surprised by the lack of response from businesses. All too often, what starts out as an optimistic search becomes a case of giving the job to the one person who responds.

After experiencing the same issue with upholsterers, I was struggling to find someone to take on the project. And much as I would have loved to learn – I didn’t fancy my chances of doing it myself.

Happily, one afternoon mooching round Levenshulme Antiques Village, I spotted someone upholstering a chair. After a little more digging I found Fabians Antiques. For the first time, I was able to speak to someone face to face about my chairs. I arranged a measure up so I knew how much material to buy, and within days, the first chair was on it’s way to be recovered.

I was a little nervous watching the chair being squeezed in to the back of a Toyota Yaris, but it only had to get round the corner, so I figured it would be ok. I was initially told that the chair would be ready in less than a week. Several unexpected sewing machine incidents and a few house calls later I was starting to worry about whether I would actually see it again. Patience was, as always, a virtue and my chair eventually made it’s way back to my living room. The second one was taken away and after two more weeks, both had been safely returned.


The finish is not perfect, but that is one of the quirky joys of handmade and I think they look great.



Shuffelbothams: 8 Gunco Lane, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 7JX, 01625 423304
Many suitable materials starting from £12-£15 per metre. The material I used cost £32 per metre, but when you find material that’s exactly right, you just have to go with it.

Also try:

Abakhan: 111-115 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LN, 0161 839 3229

Leons: 419 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester, M21 8ER, 0161 881 7960


Fabians Antiques: Levenshulme Antiques Village, The Old Town Hall, 965 Stockport Road, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3NP, 07582 294 743

Also try:

Funnily enough, I spotted a lady upholstering a chair at Levenshulme market recently. She may also be worth a call.

Faith in Fabric: 07730 277 403


5 Comments On This Topic
  1. Carol Johnson
    6 years ago

    Chairs look great, love the material and the cushions look fab.

  2. bill Sutcliffe
    6 years ago

    Looks comfortable so expect you to become a lounge lizard now!!

    • Becci Johnson
      6 years ago

      Thanks. I have to fight the cats to sit on them!

  3. Becky C
    6 years ago

    Hi Becci, I have very similar chairs I want to do. How much did the reupholsterer charge per chair roughly if you dont mind me asking? What did the project cost you all together? Just trying to budget to get mine done! Thanks Becky

    • Becci Johnson
      6 years ago

      Hi Becky,

      Thanks for your query. I’ve emailed you with the costings that you asked for but please let me know if you have any further questions.

      Thanks for reading my blog.

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