Upholstery is a craft or art of padding surfaces to make them more comfortable, pleasing or decorative and functional. It began centuries ago, out of necessity, to make hard seats softer. And it has been changing from the first use of crude methods and materials in the beginning to our use of modern-day materials and techniques.
The comfort, beauty, and usefulness of many items we enjoy or use everyday has been made possible through some type of upholstery. Just look around you wherever you are. You will be amazed to see padding on so many things we use everyday in our homes, businesses, leisure activities, and on it goes.
Learning to Upholster
Training and on-the-job experience is required to become an upholsterer. But, many people (or do-it-yourselves) can learn to do simple reupholstery projects or repairs. If they learn how to do basics through books, videos, local classes, they should be able to do some of their own projects, and do them well.
Learning to upholster only requires a very few tools as you begin to learn the basics. If you decide to pursue this craft, you may wish to acquire a few more tools as you need them.
In years past a young person would apprentice with another upholsterer for years to become a professional. Furniture factories also taught their workers some of the techniques of upholstery.
Today, some technical schools train upholsterers. There are many other ways to learn how to reupholster your own furniture through community college evening classes, books, videos.
Brief History of Upholstery
It seems originally upholsters were called upholders because they would hold their fabrics up so the customer could see them. They did not specialize like today. They would make the whole home more comfortable by covering not only the seating pieces and beds but also the walls. They were thought of as home decorators.
Since there were no sewing machines in the beginning, all work was done by hand. Some padding materials were difficult to hold in place, even with stitching in place, before the final cover was attached.
The sewing machine not only helped the upholsterer but it made it possible for furniture to be made in mass quantities. Modern materials, such as foam, dacron, vinyl and other synthetics, have changed the scene of an upholstery shop.
Types of Upholstery
Traditional Upholstery deals with the many facets of home furnishings and furniture.
Automotive Upholstery relates to padding used in automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes and related items.
Commercial Upholstery is usually associated with all types of offices, medical facilities, eating establishments, etc.
Marine Upholstery as the name suggests is all about boats and other vehicles used on the water.
Aircraft Upholstery must adhere to very strict FAA guidelines as they upholster or reupholster the interior and seating of airplanes.
Summary of Upholstery
Many people will find great satisfaction in using their creative abilities in upholstering or reupholstering their projects. Most people are able to do simple projects, and do them well.
We have tried to present a few of the facts about the art or craft of upholstery. It has an interesting history. And you may find it very useful in redoing furniture or simple repairs.