Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Eliot School: Upholstery Class

I've been wanting to learn how to reupholster furniture for a long time now. Anyone who visited my college apartment might remember a sadly unsuccessful attempt at a gray chair in my living room. After reading about The Eliot School on Apartment Therapy I finally decided to sign up for a class.
The school is located in Jamaica Plain in this adorable old school house.

Class started last Wednesday, so I officially have two sessions under my belt. So far, I'm absolutely loving it. The teacher is great and has worked in the business for years, so I feel like my free chair found on the curb in South Boston is in good hands.
At the beginning of the first class I pulled out my camera to snap a before picture...and this is what I got.

No good, right? It appears that P's point and shoot is on strike. I attempted to continue the documentation with my iPhone, but sorry if the pictures aren't great...or focused at all. I'm awful at taking pics with the do some people make them look great? is the "before" picture. P spotted this down the street from our house some time last year and after a careful inspection for you know what we carried it home. And then I reinspected it again and again...and then I hoarded it away in our storage unit. Hoarding is ok if you have a storage unit, right? Right?!? Ok....

When I walked in the door the instructor informed me that it might take multiple sessions to do a fan chair, so I didn't waste any time getting all the gross old fabric, cotton and foam stripped off.

Everything was so old that it all will have to be replaced, including the springs that you sit on! So, at the end of class one I was left with a wooden frame, which we checked for sturdiness and then glued and clamped any wobbly parts. My iPhone missed a picture of that step, my bad.
During class two I removed any remaining staples and tacks in the frame left over from the old upholstery. Then I started rebuilding! So exciting. The first step was to turn the chair upside down and redo the webbing for the seat.

All the pieces are attached from front to back, then you weave in the pieces from side to side...pulling everything tight tight tight with one of these.

Then the webbing is attached to the arms. This is just to form the surface for the cotton to attach to, so it doesn't need to be as tight.

Then repeat for the back of the chair.

That's as far as I got in class two. It seriously has been so fun so far...and I can't wait to pick fabrics. Apparently that won't happen for a while, but I may or may not already have a couple of swatches I've been carrying around!

PS. If anyone has any recommendations for a good, small, point and shoot camera, let me know! I think I know which one I want, but would love to see what you think.

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