Saturday, 6 November 2010

Have a go at upholstery

Lots of people tell me they're too scared to try upholstery - so I thought I'd share my own experience. In fact this was what got me started down the Make it and Mend it road in the first place.

I had a very old scruffy red velvet nursing chair and a sprung Edwardian dining chair that I was given by my mother and was thinking of throwing out. Instead my friend Joan suggested I have a go at upholstering them, by coming along to the class she goes to weekly in Somerset. I was doubtful but signed on for a week long course and was immediately hooked. Unfortunately I can't show you the step by step photos as they were on a phone that was lost - but here's the finished product

This chair had springs that were still quite reasonable and didn't need replacing - but they did need re-fixing and all the webbing and stuffing had to be replaced. I re-stuffed it with new horsehair - and put the old horsehair in a pillow case and washed it so it was ready to use for my next project.

I found the sewing very relaxing and also got great satisfaction from stripping the chair down to its base essentials, cleaning and polishing the wood and taking out all the old nails and webbing.

I finished the nursing chair in four days and then started on the dining chair. There was no way I could get that done in a day - as it needed new springs and webbing, so I booked myself in for another couple of days in a few weeks time and carried on at home in the interim. When I went back to Somerset I finished it off and also re- covered a cheap footstool at the same time, using matching fabric.

Joan was an inspiration to me - and a perfectionist - she persuaded me to take all the piping off the nursing chair after I'd finished sewing it on - and do it all over again - as I hadn't positioned it quite correctly. I was really glad afterwards.

This was my first attempt at doing any form of sewing or craft work in almost 30 years. Since then I have been unstoppable and rediscovered my youthful interest. I find it deeply satisfying and very relaxing. So have a go - you won't know what you're capable of until you try.

My upholstery course was at  Lilac barn where the very capable Cherry taught me all the basics. She runs regular courses in upholstery and other crafts -  in a lovely location in the Somerset Levels >> Lilac Barn Craft Courses
or check out your local adult education centre.

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