Since you have arrived at this page, we know that you are interested in learning how to reupholster furniture. We may just have the answers that you are looking for. Reupholstering is a skill that just about anyone can learn. Some of the work requires attention to details. People who do not have patience might have difficulty.
Why Should You Believe Us?
Over the past 35 years we have had a full-time shop. During that time we have also taught a continuing adult education class in upholstery at the local community college. We have upholstered (new frames) and reupholstered furniture from homes, offices, restaurants, hospitals, museums, furniture stores and interior designers. Some projects were very challenging and unique.
How-to Pamphlet Became eBook
Students in our upholstery classes and customers who came to our shop to buy supplies had many questions, which we answered. We began to put together a pamphlet on the basics of upholstery/reupholstery that answered frequently asked questions. That pamphlet grew into an eBook with pictures demonstrating the written how-to steps.
We can’t help you with automotive upholstery. However, we can teach you the basics of reupholstery. The basics apply to all types of reupholstery—including automotive.
Where Should You Begin To Learn How To Upholster?
If you want to learn how to reupholster furniture, the place to start is with some simple reupholstery projects. Some examples would be a throw pillow, an ottoman, a piano bench, or a plain seat on a kitchen, dining room or desk chair.
It is easier to learn the basics step-by-step on simple pieces. You will actually learn faster beginning this way, rather than on something more complicated. Once you have mastered the basics of reupholstery, it is easier to advance and learn some of the more difficult steps.
When we taught the upholstery class at our local community college, some students brought club chairs, recliners and other large pieces of furniture. These pieces were far too advanced for beginners.
They did not learn very fast; and they were not able to finish their projects. And many of them said they wish they had started with a simpler project, as we had advised.
Mastering the Basics
Like any other skill you want to learn, the best place to start is with the basics.
The students who began with simple projects learned much faster and completed them. Applying what they had learned on their first simple project, they were able to begin another project during the upholstery course.
You will always use these basic skills in upholstering and reupholstering, whether you are a beginner or a professional.
After you have learned the basics, some of the advanced skills can be easily learned. And many times, using a little common sense, you can figure out how to do the advanced skills on your own.
Simple Padded Seats
Simple padded seats are often called slip seats. Believe it or not, there is much to be learned from reupholstering a simple padded seat first. When you do advance to doing a larger piece of furniture, you will complete it faster and make fewer mistakes.
What Can You Learn From Simple Seats?
Even simple seats may require much more than putting on new fabric.
Remove Old Cover--Removing the old cover requires taking out existing staples or tacks. You would gain the experience of handling a few upholstery tools.
Examine Padding--When you examine the seat padding, you may discover that it needs to be replaced entirely with new padding. Other times, the padding is in such good shape that it may not need any attention. But sometimes, you may need to put a thin layer of padding on top of the original. Whatever the case, you will learn to examine padding and how to replace if necessary.
Measure and Cut Fabric--You will be measuring the seat for fabric (being sure to add extra on all sides for handling while fastening to the base or frame), and cutting the fabric. In the beginning, using a fabric that is rather plain or a small overall design maybe easier to work with.
Position New Fabric--You will position the fabric on the padded seat before fastening it to the frame, either with tacks or staples. There is a sequence to follow. Your step-by-step instructions will show you what they are. Hopefully, your instructions will also be illustrated in pictures.
Attach Fabric to Frame--When you are applying the fabric to the frame, you will be smoothing the fabric tightly as you fasten it. If the fabric is too loose, you get wrinkles. If the fabric is too tight, you get pull marks. Every fabric will feel and stretch differently as you work with it.
Finish Corners--Following step-by-step instructions will aid you in learning to finish the corners correctly. And they will look good too. This is a very important technique to learn. You will be using this knowledge on future jobs.
Welt optional--The only sewing you might do for a slip seat would be a strip of welt, if you trimmed the bottom of the chair seat with it. Some chair seats have welt attached to bottom edge for trim and others do not.
Attach Dust Cover--Last, you could attach a dust cover to the bottom side of the completed slip seat. Usually, this is a black material referred to as accord. Nowadays, it is made out of synthetic material. Occasionally, some slip seats do not have dust covers. It certainly gives a very professional look.
Finished Seat--Once all these steps have been accomplished, you will be ready to attach the finished chair seat to the chair frame.
Look What You Learned from a Simple Seat
- How to:
Use various small tools
- remove old cover
- measure and cut fabric pieces
- check padding and replace it if necessary
- positioning fabric on seat
- making fabric the right tightness
- sequence of attaching fabric
- finishing corners
- attaching dust cover
- re-fastening finished seat to chair frame
Optionally, you may have sewed welt and attached it to the bottom edge of the padded seat.
Who would have thought that you could learn so many basic techniques from doing a simple seat? It is much easier to learn these finer points on something simple rather than having to learn them at the time you are doing a big, complicated piece of furniture.
Importance of Learning Basics of Reupholstery
The importance of learning the basics of reupholstery cannot be overlooked. If your goal is to be able to reupholster additional pieces of furniture in the future, you will always use the basics-- no matter what you reupholster.
Every reupholstery project will afford you an opportunity to add to the knowledge you have already learned. As you learn and apply each instruction, you will become better at your new skill and gain confidence in what you are able to accomplish. As your skills increase, you will be able to confidently tackle more difficult and larger projects.
More Information about How to Reupholster Furniture
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