Some time ago the courses at The School of Stuff were recommended to me.
This rather sorry piece of furniture also arrived in the house, a refugee from a previous life as a stage prop.
As you can probably guess I decided to do a five day course at The School of Stuff in upholstery and use this bench as my project.
Five days seems like a long time but my main learning from this course was that upholstery (proper traditional style) is quite fiddly and quite time consuming. So without giving the end away I haven’t completely finished, but I thought a post now with all the stages covered would help me remember what I have learnt so far.
Stage one is stripping back. For everyone else on the course who had bought lovely antique pieces this was a very important stage. They had to document all the layers to help recreate the shape and remind them how the elements fitted together. For me with my rather basic bench this was less of an issue.
What I did have to do however was remove an incredible number of staples, dull work.
The wood frame didn’t look like it would be nice enough to bother stripping back the treacle like varnish. So I sanded it down and decided to paint it white.
Then I was ready to start rebuilding. We could have just repaired the springs that were there and used foam again but I wanted to go for a squarer shape rather than a dome when finished. So it was a complete rebuild.
First up I added webbing which is going to support the springs.
Then we worked out how many springs were needed, their size and where to place them. Once in position and evenly spaced I drew around them in red chalk so they would be easy to replace if knocked. Then they were sewed into position.
Then all the springs are tied together using a clove hitch. I found this quite hard as you had to compress the springs slightly, hold them in place, get the distances between them right and tie the knots.
The springs then get a cover of fabric and the tops of the springs are sewn to this as well.
Into this fabric large ties are sewn to give something to tuck the stuffing into.
I think this stuff is made from coconut husks but traditionally it would have been horse hair.
Another layer of fabric this time put on very carefully to form the corners and the shape of the seat. Once covered the stuffing inside is then “regulated” using a needle like tool that allows you to move the stuffing around and even it up. Then some stitches are added through the seat to start to hold the stuffing in place using an enormous needle.
The next stage is to stitch round the sides. Again we sew through the seat and stuffing to start to pull it into shape and form a neat regular edge.
And that’s kind of where I got to. I need to arrange to go back in and spend another day or so finishing off.
I have however got the fabric for the covering sorted. We ordered it via the school from a company called Bute and I decided to go with Lime for the base and Dove for the back rests.
So all ready to go….