Monday, March 7, 2011

Upholstery Class: Week 8.5

Heya Nesters! Welcome back to Monday! Did you guys miss my upholstery class progress report as much as I missed sharing it? {But let's be real, throwing a super fun Jack and Jill baby shower for The Raz was well worth it.}  

 I do have some exciting news to share!  I am taking another class at Broadway Upholstery School! And you know what that means, right? More Upholstery Chronicles for you guys!  My new class started this past Wednesday evening, and I had my old class on Saturday as well! Two in one week! {Hence week 8.5} That means Satine has changed a bunch since you saw her last. Let's get started, shall we?

Last we spoke I wrote, I left you as I was adding the buttons to the back of the chair with the biggest needle I've ever seen in my life. 

And here is the finished result of those...

I'm sorry, I forgot my camera on Weds night! So I used my phone.

She looks pretty spiffy doesn't she?? Here's a look at the back of the chair.  Each button is first loosely knotted with a special slipknot. See those cotton wads? Those are golf-ball sized cotton scraps that are put inside the loops of the knot to prevent the knot from pulling through the fabric. Pretty genius, right?  I thought so at least. I also trimmed the excess twine after tightening the knots and using a final security knot.

Next up: side panels! When I took off the panels in class numero uno, I imagined we would used them as a template for the new panels.  I was wrong!

oy. blurry.
Kevin asked me which panel I should start with.  With a 50/50 shot, I guessed "The bottom?" I was correct! Hooray! But when asked why, I stared back blankly.  The answer is simple!  For the same reason the pleats on the seat face downward, so should the transition line here.  If the bottom panel is put on first, the pleat will face down and therefore will not catch dust and gunk.  Why didn't I think of that?
To start the panels, I used a half layer of cotton to fill them out.  I had the option of going with a full layer but it would look really bulbous and more traditional than the look I'm going for. So, half layer would add the body that I needed without being overkill.  I feathered it out to the fullest part of the transition line and at the bottom of the wood then stapled it in place.

Next I pin tacked the bottom in place as an anchor and pulled the panel tight and pinned in place.  I found that I had to trim the excess fabric and clip it in order to accommodate for the curves.  Since I would be tucking this under, I wanted to be sure to leave at least 1/2" excess to be turned under.  This took quite  a bit of finagling to get it to this point. Finally I pin-tacked this in place as well and tackled the curve right at the front of the seat. Hello Frenemy.  I want you to look pretty but I also want to kick your ass.

Here's a peek at the underside of the chair and how it is finished off. I clipped the excess fabric at each leg and tucked it under to achieve a nice, clean look. The cambric will cover up the last of this unfinished undercarriage.

**That was the Wednesday class, now we're on to the Saturday class. Note: the change in picture quality!**

After both seat panels were complete I went on to the back panels using the same method.


So again, stapled a half layer of cotton in place and then start working the fabric around the curves.

Eventually, it came out like this. She's finally starting to look like a chair again!! I had to pin most of it because between all the cotton and the heavy weight of the mohair, all my pin-tacks were bouncing back out every time I tried to hammer one in. Frustration turned into a solution: Use every upholstery pin in house.

Speaking of frustration, I felt the pain of its presence on Saturday.  I finished up the panels and was excited to start of the part I've been looking forward to the most: nail head trim. 

See that one nail head at the top? Oh yeah, that was my first one. That I was supposed to do on the bottom. I forgot. {Oops. Sorry Kevin.}  See the four on the bottom? I did one. Kevin did the first three to show me how to do them as a chain. Of course he made it look easy. As I tried, and broke four more, I had to pull them out with the pliers.  Smart me I pulled straight back with such brute force, I hit myself in the face with the head of the pliers, leaving a nice little bruise right on my chin.  Love it.  Only me.  {During the same class, I also tripped over my sawhorses and almost landed on my face. Fail.}

After about 45 more minutes and only about three more successful {and about 40 unsuccessful} attempts at adding to the chain, Pamela came and tenderly put a hand on my shoulder and said "Are you okay? You know, sometimes it's better to walk away from it and come back."  Apparently, my frustration was evident on my face. Or perhaps it was the slew of four-letter-words that I was mumbling not-so-under my breath.  Kevin, empathizing with the learning curve of this skill, swooped in and lent me a helping hand.

It took him all of one minute to add all these nail heads. One, by tedious one.  Taking Pamela's advice, I cleaned up my space and hung up my upholsterers hat for the day.  But as soon as I started pulling away, I wanted to run back and win my battle with that damn trim!  It will go around the entirety of each side of the chair so by the end of it, I will be really really good at it. Or at least I hope so.

I will be sad to see my Saturday group dissipate but hopefully the Wednesday class will be just as fun and family-like. Well I hope you, Nesters, enjoyed this week's big changes to Satine as much as I did! I feel like she's finally coming back together! Hopefully next week I can show you more than just more nail head trim!

Happy Monday, Nesters! <3


  1. I read every week. Looks great. Not sure I ever mentioned I added a link to your chronicles on my button tufting post.
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

  2. Nice! I like upholstering vicariously through you :)

  3. She looks so pretty! Those nail heads are definitely going to be worth the extra effort :)

    That's exciting that you are taking another class! Do you have another project lined up to work on or will it be a continuation of Satine's makeover?

  4. Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by and for entering the Plum Pretty Sugar contest. And so happy that you introduced yourself :) Good luck!

  5. Satine is so beautiful. I know you must be really proud of the fantastic job you've done. I'm so glad you signed up for another class. I hated to see the upholstery posts end.


Heya Nesters! I always love your feedback! So dish, because we all want to hear it! <3