This is a snapshot of the renovation of a louis style chair.
The steps taken were:
- strip back to frame
- new webbing on seat
- sew in new springs
- cover with hessian and sew springs to hessian
- fresh hair and fibre
- hessian over and regulate well
- sew roll edge
- second stuffing with best hair and fibre mix
- wool wadding over hair
- calico and then top fabric; william morris 'the strawberry thief'
- seat back reinforced with webbing
- hessian and hair and fibre
- wool wadding
- calico and top fabric
- antique nail trim
- dust cloth
Finished - wood cleaned with linseed oil and white spirits mix, and polished with soft cloth.
Lots and lots going on this week:
Jo is completing the box cushion to go with her beautifully renovated Parker Knoll chair, fabric by Clark and Clark.
Jayne is tying down the springs on the front edge of the sofa - complicated but rewarding work.
Sue has a new project - also a Parker Knoll armchair. She has chosen a modern Harlequin fabric to suit the period of the chair - bottom right hand corner.
Jenny is working hard to progress her wingback armchair - in pink chenille.
Clarissa also has a Parker-Knoll to renovate - she had chosen a strking Jane Churchill fabric.
Emma has finished her first upholstery project: a footstool finished in linen.
Hilary battles on the her deep-buttoned headboard, with a modern box buttoning.
Andrea has made amazing progress on her 1930's Danish rocker - seat on, just need to fit the seat back and it is ready to be enjoyed. She has chosen a wool/tweed, in a colour that is sympathetic to the period.
Karina has started a traditional upholstery project - here she has applied the webbing to the seat base.
Louise has finished the inside wings - all those lines require careful treatment! They
This is the final instalment:
The back is completed, with the side panels attached, lightly fixed with a few staples and then the decorative nail trim attached.
The back was attached in the same way, and the dust cloth finally attached to finish the piece.
Before and after below.
This part covers the upholster of the seat back:
Measure for top fabric ensuring allowance is made for the fit of the fabric under the arms and round the scalloped shape of the top of the seat back.
Place the fabric against the seat and 'fit' it to the back, ensuring a snug fit.
Once you are satisfied with the fit, secure the top centre with a couple of staple to hold the fabric in place, and then mark the cuts for the arms (Y cut), and the bottom corners (T cut) where the back meets the seat. Snip the cuts just short at first to test the fit, and if the fabric bunches cut further to ensure a good fit.
Care is taken around the arms, as in this case they have a flat underside and a curved top - snip around the curve to fit the arm, and then define with piping. Cut the piping away where it meets the side of the chair at the end of the arm - strip the piping out of the fabric sleeve - staple this so as to avoid excessive bulk.
Having cut around the arms, secure the fabric beneath the arms, and then above the arms and top edge working towards the corners - here you can deal with any excess fabric. Snip a 'V' at the edge of the scallop at the back, so the fabric fits well. Then secure the seat at the bottom at the tacking rail at the back of the chair. Work the velvet to ensure a good fit - but do not overstretch so causing pulls in the fabric as this will create an uneven finish.
To continue with the renovation of the armchair .....
The seat back was completed with a second stuffing of hair, over the lumber too, and a layer of cotton wadding. Finally, a layer of polyester wadding was added. In constructing the back, care was taken to ensure that the back and seat would ultimately meet, that it was balanced and square.
The arms were treated with a finish of antique decorative nails, on a strip.
And the seat was upholstered in Harlequin upholstery grade velvet in teal. Care was taken with the cuts around the arm posts, and where the seat meet the back. The corners were treated with folds, to compliment the seat shape. These were pinned in place and hand sewn.
This week there has been lots going - a quick run down for you this week, and here are a few things students are :
Kate has started a new project - a windsor style chair, which was originally on rockers - the seat is in good condition, so we are have refreshed the second stuffing and put on a new calico inter-liner.
Clarrisa continues to work on the Parker-Knoll chair, reconstructed the seat back - here taking time to get those corners right!
Kate has finished her first project - a traditionally upholstered piano stool, using hair, wadding and calico. Beautiful job.
Hilary continues to plan her deep buttoned headboard. Using a picture from a magazine we are working together to produce a similar styled headboard. Here Hilary is using an old sheet to help plan out the buttoning - a trial run before we use the top fabric.
Linda is working her way through a set of traditional drop-in dining seats, suing traditional materials and tools. She has worked on the set in unison to ensure that the finish is identical. We weighted and measured the materials used to ensure they were the same in each seat.
Lisa has put the top fabric on the chair seat and back - taking care to line up the checks in these beautiful wool tweed. There were lots of tricky cuts around the arms and seat back - but it is looking good.
And Jayne has worked hard tying in her new springs on her Bergere sofa - we are tying them down mid spring to allow for a softer finish as Jayne does not plan to use a cushion - it is hard on the hands, but with planning and carefully measured it is coming along nicely.
I was delighted to get involved with the charity, the Furniture station, of Stockport. They do an amazing job taking our unwanted furniture and restoring it so that those who need furniture can get good quality, safe furniture at an affordable price.
Unfortunately some of the furniture donated is unusable, especially chairs, as the labels that prove they are fire retardant have been mislaid. In this case, donations of perfectly good furniture, without labels, has to be turned away.
With a little training, volunteers can now renovate the chairs to ensure they meet fire regulations, and so can be passed to those who need them.
I met a wonderful group of volunteers, who took on new skills like naturals, and produced a set of beautifully upholstered chairs. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon with them.
Please take a look at the work the charity does and see how you can help: click on the links below:
The Furniture Station
This week Lisa has continued the reupholstery of her beautiful 1930's armchair - choosing a gorgeous tweed check. Here she is fitting the fabric to the seat, using specific cuts to fit the fabric to the seat. tip: stripes and checks are always tricky - mark your centres back and front to ensure that the lines are straight - but don't forget to use your 'eye' as well as old furniture is not necessarily true and square.
Louise is continuing with her wing-back armchair in herringbone check (Moon), having machine the pieces for the arms, Louise has fitted these this week. We used the old fabric as a pattern for the arms, and took care with the cuts around the arm fronts and back where the arms join the seat back. tip: when applying piping to curves always ensure that the fabric is cut on the bias to ensure it will stretch to follow the curve - if you don't the piping with pucker on the curve: not a good look!
Jayne is undertaking the challenging but rewarding task of reconstructing a Bergere sofa. Having repainted the frame in annie sloan chalk paints, she has restarted the reconstruction process - webbing on, and the 24 springs are now sewn in place ready for tying down the springs - strong hands and patience required. tip: the springs need to be placed so that they can be sewn securely to the hessian base (ideally catch 3 times through webbing base), and so that when sewn together they are in line and so that the knot (in the spring) will not interfere with the ties. Lots to think about.
Helen joined the group to complete a Victorian ladies nursing chair - we worked together to start the reconstruction of the seat back. First we marked out the position for the collar, which was stuffed with good quality hair and fibre and tacked down before the roll was stitched to create a roll-edge. tip: the hair is twitched to aid a firm edge. It was also well regulated (worked with a regulator) to ensure the hair was evenly distributed. Keep a check on the size of the roll edge, and its height, whilst sewing to ensure a uniform roll-edge. Use the regulator often to help move the hair should you find that the roll is thin in places. An intense but rewarding stage to complete.
Lastly, Natasha has painted this footstool with annie sloan paints and is beginning to reconstruct the footstool by applying the webbing. We worked out how many runs of webbing were required and measured out their position to ensure that they were placed with even spacing - as with lots of things in upholstery, its structure and uniformity aides its strength. tip: leave the webbing on the roll and only cut-off once you have secured both ends - this way you use only what you need and limit wastage. As they say 'waste not, want not'.
More next week ....
Andrea Austin, upholsterer and tutor of Plush Upholstery