How to Learn Reupholstery


The craft of reupholstery requires training, but can easily be learned with determination, dedication and effort. There are several methods for learning to reupholster furniture. Choose the method that works best for your circumstances to create a new career in upholstery or simply learn to upholsterer furniture for family, friends and personal use.

Things You'll Need

  • Books
  • DVDs
  • Visit Upholster Magazine Online (see Resources below) for an upholstery primer that details the basics of reupholstery--including tools, supplies and equipment--and offers tutorials on cutting and sewing upholstery fabric, installing a zipper and recovering a dining room chair.

  • Call a local community college or university and ask if they offer upholstery classes. If they don't currently offer a class, ask if they have plans to offer one or if they know of another college that does.

  • Call the adult education department in your city and ask if they offer an upholstery class. Their programs are designed for adults who desire to learn a new trade without taking a full college course and they sometimes offer reupholstery classes.

  • Contact local sewing shops and fabric stores and ask if they offer classes. Sewing is one of the most important reupholstery tasks to learn so many sewing shops offer free or low-cost upholstery classes.

  • Apply for a job in an upholstery shop, a boat factory or a furniture factory. On-the-job training is an excellent way to learn the art of recovering furniture.

  • Volunteer as an upholsterer's helper. Call a local upholstery shop and ask them to train you to reupholsterer furniture in exchange for volunteer labor. The work would involve such tasks as removing old furniture coverings, sweeping and shop clean-up, help with furniture pick-up and delivery and other general labor. In exchange, the upholsterer would teach you reupholstery.

  • Purchase a book such as "Complete Step-by-step Upholstery" by David Sowle and Ruth Dye, 2009; "Singer Upholstery Basics Plus: Complete Step-by-Step Photo Guide" by Steve Cone, 2007; or "Upholstery: A Beginners' Guide" by David James, 2004.

  • Purchase an upholstery training video. Beacon Fabric offers four DVD training sessions that teach basic to advanced reupholstery and upholstery repair techniques.

  • Take a reupholstery correspondence course from Foley Belsaw Institute. They provide everything needed to begin and will teach you about upholstery tools, padded furniture, sewing upholstery and slipcovers, restyling and creating custom furniture and more.

  • Watch free upholstery videos online at Spirited Lady Boutique (see Resource below). Choose from adding welt and recovering a boxed dining room chair seat, working with web, burlap and foam, sewing upholstery seams and other topics.

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