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Upholstery Camp, Day One!

This morning, we started our first day of camp at Upholstery on Broadway (UoB) in Arlington, MA. UoB is a full-service upholstery showroom, shop, and school, which was opened in 2010 by master upholsterer, Kevin Kennedy, and Pamela Powell. They do everything from complete reupholstering & restoration, to custom slipcovers & drapes. Their school runs classes regularly throughout the year on nights & weekends. The camp began this summer with two sessions in July & August.

My project for the week is a pair of classic Thonet chairs made of bent plywood. The original covering on the seat and back is a not-so-lovely stained and torn naugahyde. An upgrade was definitely overdue. Now, I’ve done simple upholstery projects before–like changing the fabric on a seat cushion–but I was never really aware of the process and technique. It’s really amazing how much work goes into redoing a chair…the right way! It’s no wonder that it’s so expensive to have a piece reupholstered professionally.

Here’s how far I got today…

A good rule of thumb is to bring a picture of the piece you’ll be recovering with you while shopping for fabric, so that you make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did. Unfortunately, I completely misjudged how much fabric I’d need for the two chairs, and I had to run out to the store during lunch break and pick out something else. Luckily, I found something that worked really well. Afterwards, I managed to get all of the pieces cut for the two chairs and started covering the seat. I should be finished with the first chair tomorrow.

To be continued…


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