Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Louis XVI Chairs-Learning upholstery

Happy Fall to Y'all ;)
It's so nice to have some relief from the blazing sun, however it is still in the upper 80's and quite humid here.  But the mornings are cooler and the breeze is back so while I'm not able to bust out the riding boots, jackets and scarves (well I could but I'd look like a crazy person), it's a nice break.

This post is long overdue-I took an upholstery class over the summer at the Austin Upholstery Studio that was AWESOME! It's taught by two accomplished upholsterers (Mike and Paulette)  who run their own shop where the class is taught.  They keep the class sizes small so it's really fun and I met a lot of wonderful people, all of whom had a different reason for wanting to learn upholstery.  You can bring any kind of furniture piece too, from a stool to a couch (however you probably won't finish that couch within the 6 wk class time)  I chose to redo a couple Louis XVI antique chairs I picked up last year that have been collecting dust in my garage.  I won't get into too much detail on how-to's as you can find many tutorials online already and I didn't take pics of every step unfortunately.

First we had to strip them, which I did mostly at home.  These were stuffed with hog hair! What they used back in the day.

All stripped and ready to be painted-I painted them in an antique white before taking back in to the studio.

I think I have mentioned somewhere (etsy, facebook, or maybe here on this blog) that many of my family members are painters (artists), upholsterers, seamstresses, and antique restorers.  So by osmosis I guess, I picked up a few things-including the confidence to attempt some of these.  But WOW, do I know my limits, and upholstery is definitely one of them.  It takes so much patience, skill and diligence.  I more than a few times felt like I had gotten in over my head, and it didn't help that I picked one of the most difficult styles to reupholster :p

These chairs had springs in them, which are completely hand tied and meticulously retied with twine until all are sitting straight, pulled down to different heights and tensions, and tightly connected to each other...all to create the perfect curve and support of the seat.  My fingers were raw after the first hour and it took almost 6 hours for me to get the first one done :[

The blue tape was to mark the direction all the springs were to be facing. 
You then cover with burlap and begin the process of creating a seat-something I didn't get pics of but it's lots of foam, edge-roll and poly filling.
That's Mike, one of my instructors helping me decide how to do the corners.
Once the class was over I still had homework to do;  affix the welt cording with a glue gun and reapply wax to seal the frames.
And Voila!  Ready for a new home :)

I just love the details these chairs have!!

Dark wax helped to showcase the lines and curves better.

Well that's how I spent some of my summer.  I still have 3 more of these beauties waiting to be redone, it may be until next summer before I get the courage to try again though!  We'll see.  Thanks for reading, more soon! XO


  1. You did a great job! I did upholstery before, but didn't have any instruction... I really like to do it!!
    The chairs are beautiful Congrats!!

  2. I am impressed. I just got an old rocker that needs new upholstery, but I am not at a place to do that timewise.

  3. I am so impressed! I found you on Miss Mustard Seed.

  4. Lovely information . I appreciate with the upholstery information which is true to the best of my knowledge

  5. The chairs turned out beautifully! Very nice job. Good luck with the rest!

  6. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.

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  7. nice

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