Suede stool

Way back in December last year I embarked on a small, quick (ha!) upholstery project in an evening class. I finally finished the piece a couple of weeks ago. I had 95% completed it but then it got abandoned in the chaos of 15 million other things I needed to do more urgently. But now it is done and even photographed, and has been out in public – so it is time to blog!

Upholstered stool

I’ve done a few bits of upholstery before, mainly as a vehicle for showing off handmade fabrics. I have ambitions to do more, and would happily make bespoke fabrics for other people to upholster with – I love the upholstery part but it takes FOREVER. I completely understand why traditional upholstery costs a fortune. This stool took one class to strip down, then I had to sand and paint it.

stool before.JPG

The layers of the seat, during strip down. Getting nails and staples out is hard work and old chairs contain a horrible lot of dust & dirt.

leathercloth.JPG

layers.JPG

Putting the seat back together is more fun.

in progress.JPG

Hessian. Stitching. Horsehair. Hessian. Stitching. Horsehair….

Then cotton wadding

cotton top.JPG

Then calico

tacking calico.JPG

Then I had to make the fabric – I used an old suede skirt cut down to make the main fabric, which is embellished with hand-stitched felt pebbles made from recycled wool felt. Hundreds of them are hand stitched onto the suede before attaching it to the stool.

Upholstered stool

I spent ages trying to come up with a suitable trim – commercial upholstery braids were definitely not what I wanted. Eventually of course it came to me – individual felt pebbles tacked on with tiny black nails all around the edge. The final touch was to nail on extra felt pebbles down the leg of the stool. I took it with me to the Festival of Quilts where it was much admired – and I somehow managed to bash the paintwork so it needs a touch up.

It has probably taken 30hours or so. A labour of love. And love it I do!

3 thoughts on “Suede stool

  1. That looks amazing. What an amazing piece of work. Upholstery looks like one of those things I would love to do and would possibly be quite good at, because hammers hold no fear for me, but can't do cos it's too much for me to do. So I just look at people like you and admire the beauty you have wrought.

  2. Listen, there's NO such thing as a quick evening class upholstery project, Ruth! All such things are measured in decades, or years if you're super-quick & adept. But I LOVE your stool, and am proud to say I've even parked my rear on it, just to prove the point. Happy to report that it works, not just aesthetically, but comfort-wise too. Respect. 🙂

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