I ♥ reupholstery class: making a seat

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Welcome to another round of red pictures! The light in the basement where we work is pretty terrible, but at least the pictures are consistent in their red glow. Anyways! The last two or three sessions has been about rebuilding the seat. By last post I had the springs all in place, and in the picture above you can see the stitches from attaching each spring at four points to the jute webbing. It reminds me of a funky houndstooth pattern!

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And…. more tying up the springs with rope and string. The first pass was from the back to the front in the middle of each column of springs, then another pass left to right in the middle of each row of springs. Then a repeat of that between the springs (on both the rows and columns) between the springs, attaching to the rope itself. And finally, a metal wire frame at the top edge of the springs, kept in place with more string. These springs are securely in place now!

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Next a base layer of burlap covers the springs, and are attached with more string and knots. First, around the edge of the metal wire frame, and then across each row of springs catching each of them at 3 spots (8 o’clock, 12 o’clock and 4 o’clock). I took that picture to help me remember the locking stitches used for both these steps. It actually reminds me a lot of a regular blanket stitch (here is post at Colletterie with a tutorial and variations).

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My original “wood-wool” (that’s really what they call it!) cushion was pretty intact, so I got to reuse that. It is just positioned over the burlap covered springs, filled with more wood-wool if necessary, and then some running stitches with a crazy giant double-pointed needle secures this cushion to the burlap fabric underneath. Pulling tightly you start getting a bit of a “buttoned pillow”-look, but I think this is all being covered with shredded wool (real this time), so it won’t be apparent in the finished seat.

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There are still quite a few steps before the seat is finished – the sides are all being filled in with more wood-wool and secured down, the burlap top is sewn to define the edge, the real wool is piled on top, then a layer of muslin, and… I think, at that point finally the real fabric. I was surprised to learn that we are finishing the seat completely before even taking the fabric off the back, so I guess I have to live with that old, red, sort of terrible fabric a little while longer!

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4 thoughts on “I ♥ reupholstery class: making a seat”

    1. Oh great! I’m glad you enjoy it! I’m getting a little impatient to see some finish on it (like the real fabric!), but at the same time it’s pretty amazing to see how it is being built up step by step. Thanks for reading!

  1. How do you hold and stretch the jute webbing? I’ve got this clever idea for an upholstered headboard, and was thinking of using a frame and jute webbing rather than a full slab of MDF that would weigh a ton. But I’m not sure, do you just pull the jute down and staple gun it, or do you fold it over, and/or use special tacks, or what?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Matt! We had a airpressure staple gun at the class workshop, so all the webbing is kept in place with staples. We’d staple through the base layer on the one end, cut off the excess with about an inch to spare, fold that excess over to cover the first set of staples, and then staple down that inch of overlap.

      Next we’d use a webbing stretcher to pull the other end of the jute webbing taut (it’s hard to describe – or really know, as the amateur I am! – how taut it should be, but imaginge a coin being able to bounce and I think you’re good. I’m sure you can do this without a webbing stretcher, but it does help you pull it that last bit. The webbing then gets stapled down to the other side of the wood frame, then the excess cut, and the remaining inch folded over and stapled in place.

      My teacher seemed to be of the opinion that using staples was sturdier than nails or tacks. He’s a pro, so I trust him! Good luck with your headboard!

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