This week, things have moved along quite a bit with the student's projects:
Lisa has secured the hessian over the first stuffing of coir - time was then spent regulating the stuffing to bring the hair forward in readiness for the stitched edge, and to work away any unevenness in the stuffing - ready for the stuffing ties to be sewn in place and the stitched edge to be created. Here we decided staple the hessian in place - needs lots of staples to ensure it is securely fixing - if not the hessian will pull away when stitching.
New student Denise brought a modern bedroom chair as her first upholstery piece. Having stripped the piece back to the foam, we started on the recovering of the seat back - refreshing the foam (which was in good condition) with a layer of polyester wadding and then fixing the top fabric in place with a staple gun.
Jayne is working on the seat of her Edwardian armchair. She has completed the stitched edge. Here she is sewing in the bridle ties ready for the second stuffing - the picture on the right shows the second stuffing in place - just needs to be teased and tussled a little before the calico is applied.
Kate is delight to be at the buttoning stage. As Kate had not buttoned before we started by buttoning in calico - to get the feel of the buttoning process before working with the top fabric, and to better establish the buttoning pattern. Here, the buttoning pattern has been transferred onto the top fabric with a tacking stitch, and Kate works each button in place with the help of a regulator, carefully helping the folds along as she goes, starting in the centre and working outwards. The red buttons in the slate grey velvet is quite striking, and compliments the red painted woodwork. Very good first buttoning.
Hilary is taking great care in the restoration of her child's nursing chair. Having completed the fluted top, and piped edge, she is hand stitching the seat edge on place, befoe stap
This project involved the restoration of a gentleman's fireside chair.
As with many projects of this nature, the upholstery appeared sound initially but the true condition is only revealed once the top fabric has been removed.
Whilst competently recovered, the upholsterer had merely patched the poor upholstery beneath.
What was required to restore the chair was:
The reconstruction of the arms, with a webbed foundation and a generous stuffing of hair and fibre mix, this was then then stitched to hold the hair firmly in place and to create the distinctive shape of the arms - these are particularly wide and flat. The arms were treated to a second stuffing of the best hair stuffing and wool wadding before the top fabric was applied (it was treated with a fire retardant chemical, or I would have also used a FR inter-liner).
The seat was taken back to the first stuffing, and once a repair was made to re-enforce the stitched edge, the seat was rewarded with a fresh layer of hair and fibre stuffing, wool and polyester wadding - I like to use the polyester wadding as a final layer as it compensates the somewhat lumpy finish of my current batch of wool wadding!!
The seat back and arms, were fitted, pinned and machined together with a piped join - this piped join was also sewn in place to hold the arm snuggly in position. The arms were pinned, and trimmed, and temporarily pinned in place whilst the back was sorted.
The seat lumbar was also treated to a fresh layer of wool wadding and a little extra fibre where needed before the top fabric was stitched in place at the lumbar and pinned in place before being stapled into place.
Given how broad the chair is, the outside back of the chair was produced from three machines panels, with the machined seam sitting along the outer edge of the arm. This was also pinned in place and temporarily tacked to ensure a good and even fit, before stapling in place. The chair was finished with a traditional gimp of the client's choice.
It was a delight to restore this chair, and to work with client's who are willing to invest in the proper restoration of a beautiful Victorian heirloom. It is fit for another 100 years now!
I have started a wordpress blog which I shall aim to link to this site - so please take a look at http://plushupholstery.wordpress.com too. And enjoy!
Andrea Austin, upholsterer and tutor of Plush Upholstery