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!
Andrea Austin, upholsterer and tutor of Plush Upholstery