Friday, 23 August 2013

in the shed this week

(and the previous week)… has been a very pretty set of dining chairs. here they are all finished and delivered.

they arrived in rather a sorry state. wobbly frames needed to be re-glued and pinned, and the seats re-webbed and re-sprung. the original hair pads were in good shape, though, so they were recycled. this is what i got up to...

re-webbing and springing

tieing in the springs (re-using the original hessian, hence the random circles from old springs)

re-tacking on the original stitched hair pad, with a bit of extra horsehair for good plumpness

skewers holding wadding in place ready for the calico layer.

they were covered in a tasteful combo of striped Romo linen teamed with something vintage for the back panels, plus about 13m of handmade double piping. they all are lined up ready for the trip back home.

…so that's a typical The Traditional Upholstery Studio week, albeit a particularly time-consuming one. 
i have been meaning to keep up a regular post along the lines of 'what's the shed this week' ever since i began this blog, but it's been a big year and house building work, family and new work adventures have got in the way. i'll catch-up with a 'gallery of highlights' at some point, but for now - hooray! i have made a start 


'in the shed next week' is a sweet little footstool full of holes plus a good tip for creative use of wax crayons. xx

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

an upholsterer's 'can do' attitude (or how it pays to say 'yes')

up until very recently i have been happily ignoring drum shades, finding them a bit too clean cut and papercraft-ish. but these days, not only am i rustling them up for interior designers and their grand clients, i am also teaching crafty-minded souls how to make them too.

how did this happen? 

the truth is, my newly acquired skill came about because i cheerily said 'yes, i can do that' when actually, i couldn't. not yet anyway.

there i was, tapping away in my shed, when a very lovely chap called to ask if i could re-cover his lampshade. 
'yes, of course... i shall be right over,' said i.
it was only when face-to-face with the lampshade in the lovely chap's interior design shop that i saw that what he wanted recovering was in fact a drum shade. o dear. i can cover every shape of traditional shade frame, but drum shades are not the same at all. they are bafflingly smooth-sided. they seem inpenetrably card-ish. they don't even have proper sewn seams. 

'crikey', i thought.

'ah, lovely,' said i. 'i'll bring it back finished very soon'. and trotted off with a bag of the lovely chap's very expensive James Hare silk under my arm with which to cover his shade.

oh lordy...

and so how to teach yourself to cover a drum shade very quickly began in earnest. happily i discovered that it is very easy indeed to create a professionally flawless drum shade the very first time. (there's no wonder craft workshops are bursting with folks keen to have a go).

i bought a kit which happened to be of exactly the desired size from needcraft, cleared the kitchen table of crumbs, and set to work. the kit came with a very handy 20+ stage photographic walkthrough of instructions, so i skipped the You Tube lesson and went for it. 

two hours of serious concentration, snipping, smoothing and careful re-reading of the instructions and the job was done. despite misbehaving on the ironing board, the precious silk stuck to the sticky-backed card with no bubbles or wrinkles. and it was far easier than one could imagine to roll two sticky wire hoops along the edges of a fabric covered panel and end up with a perfect seam at the end. 

and the result?
the lovely chap was thrilled with his perfectly-finished James Hare silk-covered drum shade. yay!

indeed, he appears to have spotted my adventurous spirit and is brewing a 'rather bespoke, sculptural and unusual concept' for his forthcoming christmas window, which will, of course, require an upholsterer's 'can-do' attitude towards lampshades to accomplish. 

'yes indeedy... i can do that!'

oh and here's a little tip to share with novice for drum-shade makers everywhere: 
one thing the needcraft instructions didn't point out was that you will achieve a smarter joining seam by folding the fabric over the edge of the card, instead of having a raw edge on show at the overlap. happily i'd worked this out before snipping the very fray-ish silk fabric. 

tame fraying edges and use tape to fold over and
stick down the raw edge at the overlap