Guidance for an upholstery project

Forums Weaving Discussion Guidance for an upholstery project


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    • #159544
      Susan Hall

        We have a country Sheraton sofa, circa 1840, in need of re-upholstery and I’m looking for suggestions for period appropriate fabric ideas. When found there were small fragments of material attached which may well have been the original material, a burgundy velvet. Very Victorian but a non starter for us. It was re-upholstered almost 50 years ago in handwoven plain weave wool, (“suiting” my mother called it), from Cottage Craft, in Saint Andrews N.B. This material  stood up well over the years until one of our dogs decided to dig a hole in the cushion. Although it stood up well, I have always felt that this material was rather ‘soft’ as an upholstery fabric.

        So the first question is what fiber? My limited reading suggests that wool is inadvisable because of its tendency to pill. But our experience with this Cottage Craft suiting suggests that at least in this case that may not be an issue. But I’m thinking a firmer fabric might be better, which makes me lean to cotton or cottolin. In a south facing, bright, room, would sun rot be an issue with cotton?

        Second, pattern? I don’t think anything too ornate would work, this is country furniture after all. A smallish  pattern with one or two colours?

        Your thoughts, suggestions or ideas greatly appreciated!



      • #159552

          This rather extensive Master Thesis on UPHOLSTERY FABRIC FOR
          AMERICAN EMPIRE FURNITURE could be interesting to find out which fabrics would be appropriate for the period.

        • #159559

            Hi Susan,

            I just did a quick search on the forum as Ed has done some sampling for upholstery fabric. You can find 2 threads about it right here:



            Hopefully he can chime in with his thoughts as well 🙂

          • #159578
            Susan Hall

              I looked at this thesis a while ago.

              the examples all seem to be more high fashion than we need. A function of the fact that her research had to be based on museum collections, which tend to be of classier furniture. A good bit of research though and good background on how the better classes lived.

            • #159641
              Ed Chapman

                I did a project last year using 8/2 cottolin for the warp and harrisville Shetland for weft. I wove an overshot pattern from Bertha Gray Hayes’ book. It is called Waldenweave.

                I used a sett of 20 epi and washed gently in Woolite to minimize fulling. I got 7% width shrinkage and 12% length shrinkage.

                Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten the fabric onto the chair slipseats. I am very pleased with how it looks and Shetland is a joy to work with. Here is a photo from my sample book.

                Screen Shot 2020-03-16 at 7.05.34 PM

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