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First upholstery lesson

I’ve always fancied learning how to upholster, and I put my name down on a course at Sussex Upholstery a few months back. At our new flat there’s a run-down ‘summer house’ which I’ve already earmarked as a painting studio, and who knows, maybe I could do upholstery in there too. Once we knew we had the flat, I said yes to a place on the course, and had my first lesson today.

Business owner and teacher Louise Neville had two newbies to contend with, but we listened and learned and by the end of our first session we’d made some progress. At the other end of the room was a lady pulling apart an old chaise, clearly a dirty business! The big old springs hanging off it were scary enough! I took along a simple drop-in seat pad to work on. I wish I’d taken a photo of it first (duh) but basically it was a velvet covered seat that had seen better days and was very saggy.

Louise explained what all the tools were for and went over a few safety precautions.

Upholstery tools
A few of the tools

My first job was to turn over the seat pad and remove the underside fabric cover, followed by the green cover fabric. This meant taking out about a hundred tacks, using a special tool and a mallet…

Seat pad
Starting to take it apart…

And just when I thought I’d removed all the tacks, yet more appeared… flipping the seat over I took off the hessian cover and then the saggy webbing. Louise pointed out that with just two jute strips in either direction this seat was never going to stay firm for long.

Stripping a seat pad
Stripping the hessian layer and saggy webbing


Stripped seat pad ready for reupholstering
Stripped and ready to be re-upholstered!

So onto the re-upholstering… using a rather complex-looking gadget to create the required tension in the webbing, I laid down new webbing in the pattern Louise showed me. The two hour lesson flew by and I didn’t quite finish this stage, so more next week!

New webbing on seat pad
Two more new webbing strips to go…

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Published inUpholsteryRestoration work

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