Pauline Stell

upholstery case study before after

I started the upholstery classes in as a new challenge after 34 years working for the NHS as a Physiotherapist. I felt I wanted to do something creative and after a short watercolour class I realised I was no J M W Turner and so decided to try something more practical and hopefully more useful. I started with a simple drop in seat and then a stool and have progressed through a number of styles of chair, both modern and traditional.

I thoroughly enjoy my Wednesdays, my husband teases me it’s the highlight of my week, and he’s not far wrong, by the time the next Wednesday comes around I am itching to get on with my project. Alex is a brilliant teacher, always patient, fun and full of ideas.

Paul Summers - Upholstery

Paul Summers - Upholstery

"This year I have continued the upholstery of a Parker-Knoll chair that I had started previously. I had done the work up to calico, and had fitted the top fabric to the inner back. Now it was the turn of the top fabric on the arms. Arguably the trickiest part as there are several folds, and pattern matching is critical to obtain a neat and symmetrical finish.

On my upholstery course this year I learned how to fold the fabric at the front and back of the arms, the correct method of trimming excess fabric at corners, I appreciated that packing is sometimes necessary to get a smooth finish to the fabric and that I must be more careful measuring the pieces needed!"


You will learn how to use upholstery tools and equipment through a combination of one-to-one teaching, group demonstrations and discussions. Beginners must bring a simple project to the first class. i.e. a foot stool or drop in seat or simple dining chair. Once students have built up confidence to move on, the tutor will advise on a suitable piece to work on. Returning students will be encouraged to work on more challenging projects.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Use the tools confidently and safely

  • Have knowledge of traditional and modern upholstery techniques

  • Share knowledge with your peers through regular group discussions.

Beginners will be advised on a suitable in-class project e.g. a stool or dining chair. Returning students will be encouraged to work on more challenging projects.


There will be materials you need to help with your studies. At the start of the course you will need to make a payment of approximately £40.00 for materials.


You will complete an individual learning plan and provide self-assessment throughout the course. Photos and displays of your completed work will also be used.

Entry Requirements

There are no entry requirements. The tutor will discuss previous knowledge with you to help you choose a suitable upholstery project.

Next Steps

Progress onto next terms 10-week course with us, or if you're interested in setting up your own business have a look at our self-employment and business courses.

Important information

All courses run subject to demand and the content listed here should be used as a guide only. Course content may vary according to a range of factors such as course duration, campus, teaching staff and requirements from awarding bodies. Check our course and fee guidelines for further details.

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