This is the final installment in my upholstery project posts, though I feel I should qualify that by saying ‘for now’. I have absolutely LOVED completing this project and will definitely have a go again in the future. And that’s not even all due to the staple gun, although a large proportion of it may have been influenced by it.
All in all the project has taken 3 half days in the workshop along with a few hours of homework to complete. The workshops afforded me the excellent opportunity to learn from the extremely competent Maria, based in Meppershall, who guided me through the process. If you want to know more about her workshops, pay as you upholster sessions, courses or upholstery services you can check out her website Maria’s Upholstery. I will say that whilst she was very happy to embrace me and my enormous footstool project, many of the projects she works on are on pieces that are antique or at the very least of a much higher quality! Having said that, mine was a great beginner project and I learnt a number of techniques that would easily transfer to other pieces.
With the inside edges and bottom lined I was ready to move onto covering the sides – though I will say that the bottom had to be redone a bit as the fabric wasn’t tight enough for a good finish. My staple gun at home just isn’t up to the task!
Using the same back tacking cardboard strip as I’d used on the lid I attached the covering fabric to the top edges, trapping the wadding at the same time. At the corners the card was cut to a diagonal for a mitred edge on the top.
Once the top edge was stapled and fixed in place the fabric was then pulled tight and stapled on the bottom edge to complete the panel. I did the two longer sides first, wrapping the sides of the fabric around the corners ready to put a finishing edge on when the shorter ends were done.
The shorter ends were finished exactly as the longer edges had been except that we got more metal edging to allow a crisp edge along the corners. This was all great until the folly of my fabric selection became clear. It was too thin and just wasn’t able to cope with the metal edging as it shredded the edges leaving holes and metal showing through.
Without additional fabric to play with and in the interests of getting it finished, Maria kindly made me some edging with scraps of my fabric over some more cardboard tape to cover over the offending sections.
Had I known this was going to happen I could have stitched the edges instead but by this point there was no return! Perhaps it’s not perfect but after the trim was hot glued into position it looked pretty tidy and was a massive improvement on what lay below. I was so engrossed in fixing the issue I forgot to take a picture of the edge before we fixed it – you’ll just have to take my word that it wasn’t good!
The last step in the workshop was to finish the bottom with black base cloth, and as if the staple gun wasn’t cool enough already, it was loaded with black staples to complete a really smart finish. Black staples in the epic staple gun? Kick ass. Also, a really professional, crisp finish.
I brought all the pieces home and reassembled it with the hinges and legs and here it is:
This is where it lives in my living room. A massive improvement on the gold stripes. All that’s left is to scotch guard it within an inch of its life to prepare it for life in our house with 3 beautiful but messy girls. It has already been used a launching platform for several jumping competitions. Standard.
Just to finish, these are the main lessons I learned from the process:
- If you’re going to this kind of workshop, strip the piece before you go to save time.
- Make sure your fabric is durable, if in doubt, ask for advice – really for upholstery it should be fire retardant too.
- It’s essential to mark where the holes for the fixings are so it’s easy to find them ready to reassemble. I can’t tell you how frustrated I was when I realised I had forgotten to do this for the base. It made it so much harder!
- Learning from a master is always a genuine pleasure, and it’s worth paying to do so.
Just in case you’re wondering – I’ve not received anything in return for writing about the workshops I went to.