FAQs

You will source your own fabric and trimmings for your chair, but we have a list of fabric providers, including suppliers of specialist fabrics such as silk or leather.

Auctions are the best places to find chairs that are in need of reupholstering or restoring.  But be careful about what you are buying.  Make sure that the chair is all in one piece and not wobbly (unless of course you are taking the chair restoration course when a rickety chair would be ideal!).  If you buy from an auction you cannot take it back if you find there is something wrong with it. The-saleroom.com has a list of upcoming auctions.  If you are in doubt, buy from a second hand shop or antique shop, as you will be able to take it back if you find an unexpected problem.  Beware of ebay  because you cannot tell how good the frame is.  You are totally reliant on the seller’s description and sometimes they are themselves unaware of problems.

Something small!  Our storage space is limited so we cannot accommodate large armchairs or sofas or chaise longues.  Small projects are also less daunting than big projects.  Whatever you choose, make sure that the frame is sound and not wobbly.  Otherwise you may spend all your valuable upholstery time doing chair frame restoration.   The age of the chair doesn’t matter.  You can do antique or modern chairs, but be aware that the techniques are different for modern and older chairs.  If you want to learn traditional techniques, you should try to get an older chair.

Traditional upholstery is appropriate for older chairs - from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - and uses natural organic materials such as horsehair or coir (coconut) fibre, hessian or linen, and tacks for fixing, and employs sophisticated stitching techniques to make firm stitched edges. It is labour intensive, but involves real skill and is a treat to do. Modern upholstery is usually more appropriate for post-second world war chairs and uses synthetic foam as a stuffing, and staples for fixing, and is normally much quicker to do than traditional upholstery.   Reupholstering modern chairs is not always easy though, because they were usually mass produced so the manufacturers often used moulds for the foam fillings whereas we have to cut and shape them, and they had plenty of opportunity to get the templates for the covers right.  We only have one go!

It is sometimes possible to make up a missed class.  If you are doing the project based evening upholstery class it is usually possible to come on another night to make up a class you have missed.  But you can only make up classes you have missed within the 12 week term.

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