Posted by David Ira Youngdahl on June 04, 2015
copyright david youngdahl 1979
I designed this chart to facilitate estimating yardage and laying-out the parts for cutting so that the pattern will "flow match" on the finished chair
Plans are of little import, while "planning" is essential ―Winston Churchill
When the pattern on an upholstered piece of furniture is properly lain out, you hardly notice that it required any effort to end up that way. In other words, a master upholsterer makes it look easy. When the pattern is laid out badly, the error stands out and the pattern appears in broken chunks. The fabric seems to be "arguing" with the frame and this, of course, is a distraction.
Laying out the pattern on a simple chair IS easy. SO easy that the steps required go unnoticed. The goal of this series is to analyze the steps we take to end up with "flow match" on a wing chair. By flow match, we mean that the fabric pattern lines up nicely from top to bottom and from side to side. Harold Rasmussen used to say, "It looks like it grew there".
Designers have a knack for marrying frames to fabrics in a way that presents a real challenge for the upholsterer. Success requires genuine respect for the Designer. They can't always put into words what they are envisioning and the upholsterer cannot always put into words what the technical challenge is from their perspective. (and when they try, it sounds like whining) While the upholsterer gets the last word, in execution, the Designer and their client get the last word in remuneration. In other words; It is the upholsterer's job to make everybody look good.
The Dying Art of Upholstery (Photo credit: the justified sinner)
Even novice upholsterers have little problem matching an uncomplicated pattern on a simple chair. The essentials are the same on a wing chair but because more parts are involved, a higher level of skill is required. Fortunately, skill at planning and executing upholstery can be gained through proper training and the kind of practice which yields manual proficiency
I will acknowledge that I am releasing this series prematurely. I will not be displaying skill at blogging, writing or at the kind of planning that ought to go into a project like this. People have been asking me to share this information however, and I have mostly held back because of not knowing where to start. Finally, I have decided to show that I am a professional upholsterer at the expense of revealing that I am not a professional writer. PLEASE FEEL FREE to ask questions if the writing does not give you a clear picture of the steps I am teaching.
Most people do not think of Winston Churchill as an upholsterer!
This may stem from the fact that it is a trade he did not ply