Mar 01, 2012 | Post by: janine rose 15 Comments

Vintage Leg-o-Matic Chairs Rehab | Via Salvage Love

I came across these two amazing foldable chairs at a thrift shop and instantly fell in love with them. I had never seen anything like them before and I couldn’t figure out how to unfold them. After playing with them for 10 minutes and feeling like a complete  moron, I turned  them upside down I found out they were Leg-o-Matic chairs which had directions on how to open and close them and were stamped with the date JUN 1962.  I didn’t know anything about them, but I knew I had to have them.  So, in 90 degree heat I carried these babies home and did some research.

These chairs were manufactured by the Leg-o-Matic Company which produced folding tables and chairs from the 1940′s until the 1970′s and were heavily used in Airstream Trailers for their ease of storage. I just love the look and fun folding nature off them. If you are interested in getting your hands on some Leg-o-Matic’s, they sometimes pop up on eBay and Etsy and I have seen them at a couple of flea markets.

For this tutorial, I show the process of re-doing the fabric on one chair, but did both. I decided to re-cover the seat pads with one of my favorite fabric designer’s, Jessica Jones of How About Orange, Outside Olso Picket Dust fabric for a fresh rehab.

 

Materials:

Muslin

Fabric

Staple Gun

Plyers

Scissors

Stain to cover up the scratches on the chair

Iron

 

With a few folds of the chair legs, it folds up into this great compact, great- for- storage chair. I love that these aren’t your typical folding chairs, they have so much more beauty to them.

Front view of chair folded

Chair lying down folded

A close up of the hinges which are all in great working order.

View of the bottom of the chair unfolded

Close up of Leg-o-Matic details and date stamp

I removed the chair pad by unscrewing the screws that held it in.

With the seat removed I started to remove the fabric, it was old and thin and easy to rip.

To my surprise, there was another layer of fabric underneath the first!

I love to wonder about the life of the chairs,  if one owner re-did the chair twice, or if different owners did it.

I ripped the second layer off to reveal the original chair padding and cover.

Don’t forget to remove all those rouge staples!

I decided to do two layers of fabric for these chairs, one muslin and one the outer fabric.   I did this to add some extra padding to the seat cover without removing the original seat fabric (in true Salvage Love style) ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO IRON YOUR FABRIC! I hate ironing but this is key for making sure the fabric fits without any bulges.

As you can tell, my measurements are not perfect, but that’s okay, in the end it all works out. I started stapling on one side, then the opposite side, by pulling the fabric taut and stapling all the way down, all while checking the top of the seat pad to ensure it is smooth. In order, right first, left second, corners, then top then bottom.

Corners, not always easy! I always try to make a neat fold and cut any excess fabric that will make it look bulky and messy.

After stapling all the way around, checking the corners and making sure it is all smooth its time to put the outer layer of fabric on.

Enter the amazing work of Jessica Jones.

From her Outside Olso line.

I cut out a piece of fabric and tried to get a good idea where I would like the pattern placement. I kept moving it and flipping it until I found something I liked.

I did the same steps for the fabric as the muslin, and cut away any excess bulky unneeded fabric.

Flip it around and voila! Gorgeous!

Now to clean up the back of the seat pad this step is not necessary because how often do people flip over the chair pad? I did it just to make it look clean and nice.

I took a piece of muslin and folded over a half inch on one side.

Stapled it all around ( I fixed that bulging right hand corner but lost the photo I am sorry) I just undid the staples, cut some excess muslin and pulled it tighter, then re-stapled. I then screwed the seat pad back in the chair.

For the wood on the chair, I rubbed a similar color stain over it to cover up any scratches and I was done!

Both chairs done!

Side view

Close up

15 Comments to Vintage Leg-o-Matic Chairs Rehab | Via Salvage Love

  1. Emily
    March 1, 2012 6:41 pm

    My grandparents have like 12 of these — they are brought to every family party! Lots of memories of putting chairs away after big family Sunday dinners.

  2. stephanie marie
    March 9, 2012 1:35 am

    such a great rehab. love the fabric you chose.

  3. Pingback: Vintage Leg-o-Matic Chair Rehab | Doozgle.com

  4. Sam
    March 11, 2012 5:25 pm

    I bought a couple of chairs just like this about a year ago. I love them, but could never figure out how to fold them…there weren’t any directions on mine. Shouldn’t have been that hard, but mine just would not fold (after looking really closely this morning, there were a couple screws that someone had placed to keep the chairs from folding). Thanks for posting the directions and your pictures. Mine are a black pleather that is actually in really good shape and looks fine, but you’ve inspired me to re-cover them. Now I’m on the lookout for the perfect fabric.

    • janine rose
      March 15, 2012 5:48 pm

      Those suckers were hard to unfold without the screws, I can’t imagine how difficult it was with yours! Please share with me when you recover them, I would love to see them!

  5. Pingback: Creative Leg-o-matic chair makeover

  6. Jenn Dawson
    March 13, 2012 5:38 pm

    Well! This is really spectacular – and more – inspiring. I have four of these babies at home (a home I inherited three years ago), waiting patiently for either a new owner or a new look. Because of your post, I decided just now to keep ‘em and give them a revamp.

    Thanks for the great post, excellent instructions, and the answer to one of many questions I have about “what do I do with these?!”

    • janine rose
      March 15, 2012 5:43 pm

      Thank you and you are welcome! The leg-o-matics are so fun, very cool that you have some. Please share with me your finished project when you are done :)

  7. Sara
    March 16, 2012 2:46 pm

    I bought four of these a few years ago when I needed furniture for my first solo apartment. They have a lovely mustard yellow/pleather and I will not be changing the seat cushion. I might give them a little rub with a minwax finish to protect the chairs but I just love, love, love having them for indoor/outdoor use.

    Thanks for sharing your skills and inspiration!!

    • janine rose
      March 16, 2012 5:43 pm

      Ooo the mustard color sounds awesome for them, I would leave them that way too!

      Thank you for stopping by!

  8. SteveW
    December 22, 2012 5:21 am

    Those chairs are so cool ! I have never seen anything like them before.
    I will be keeping an eye open for a couple!

    Also got a really good laugh at myself ! I was looking at the second photo, and said to myself, “that is really neat how you upholstered the magazine rack to match the chair” LOL DUH !!
    Then i read the rest of the article.
    They look really good.

  9. MIMILAURA
    April 6, 2013 10:24 pm

    I JUST GOT 2 OF THESE CHAIR’S,,AND WAS TRYING TO LEARN A FEW THINGS ABOUT THEM,,,AFTER SEEING YOU’R CHAIR,,,BEFORE AND AFTER,,,,WOW NICE CHOICE,,,,LOOKS LIKE I LEARNED ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM RIGHT HERE,,I’LL SEND PICS WHEN I REDO THEM,,,ITS FINDING THE PERFECT FABRIC THAT MIGHT TAKE SOME TIME,,,,

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