Ugly Ducklings


Poor Nauga.  He may have a face only a mother could love, but really, he’s not beyond redemption.  First off, he’s the star of many a classic vintage ad campaign:

naugahyde naugahyde2

Which are glorious in their own right.  He’s also, as the first picture tells you, the proud owner of an excellent vinyl ‘hide’ that does a pretty good imitation of leather.  Our very own bargain (so much of a bargain that I can’t actually tell you, it was so absurdly cheap) Parker Knoll recliner was covered in Naugahyde – but sadly, it had seen better days.



The seat cover had split, the headrest was cracked and kind of gross feeling, and the back corners had worn away – so, as I decided at the beginning of February to tend to some of our own needs, it was time for a makeover.

I found a beautiful wool plaid that matched the colour of the Naugahyde perfectly – this was important, as I wasn’t planning to recover the entire chair, just the bits that needed it.  I started with that cracked cushion.  The foam inside was ok, so I wrapped the whole thing in dacron padding and stitched up a box cushion cover.  After wrestling the foam into the cover and hand stitching the last seam closed, it was buttoning time.  For those who don’t know, buttons are attached with a particularly vicious looking 12 inch double ended buttoning needle – it’s great fun and I stabbed myself twice.  I reused the original buttons to help link the new cushion to the existing parts of the chair, and I must say I’m pretty pleased with the result.  My daughter thinks they look like chocolate buttons, and I’m inclined to agree.IMG_20160210_101053687

Then it was on to the headrest.  I unpicked the stitching on the original, so that I could reuse the end pieces – again, to help tie the whole look together.  Using more lovely wool, I hand stitched the bottom of the fabric to the top of the chair, then folded it back over the cushion and stitched the roll closed.  Then, again by hand, I stitched on the Naugahyde ends.  When you’re doing this much hand stitching, especially through quite a tough fabric, your fingers get sore and it helps to wear a leather glove on your sewing hand.  This does make you look a bit odd, though.

The final section was the back; luckily this didn’t interfere with the reclining mechanism at all.  Having cut a section of wool to size (making sure the pattern lined up with the headrest, naturally 😉 ) I simply stapled the bottom edge under, carried on with the staple gun up the sides, making sure to keep the lines of the plaid nice and straight, and then, you guessed it, hand stitched the top edge to the back of the headrest.  And here’s the end result:IMG_20160212_103257371_HDR

Much improved, don’t you think?  From ugly ducking to beautiful swan…

The Happy Chair Company Collages The Happy Chair Company1

‘Til next time, vintage lovers,

H xx (and the Nauga…)

(all Naugahyde images via Pinterest)




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