Requests for quotes to upholster chairs come erratically and in various ways - website, whatsapp, facebook messenger, phone and email … or at the workshop door.
This was a tentative enquiry with an advertising shot of a chair, a modern design that looks impossible, ... asking if I could cover it. It is her favourite reading chair and replacing it would be a shame.
My reaction was cautious …. this is a tubular chair, there’s nothing to tack onto, or staple … it would be hand sewing. A bit of research and advice was necessary. An upholsterers’ Facebook forum was positive – ‘puzzle it out’, ‘take your time’ – it can be done! And the current manufacturers of the design, Varier, kindly sent details of the chair’s construction and the covers they sell. As it’s a tubular chair, they offer a wool stockinette in half a dozen colours – you just slip it on, pull it up, tuck it in here and there and you are ready to go. 😉
However, the 2020 colour palette is limited. And my client wanted a specific shade of blue to work with her décor. So a beautiful Bute fine bouclé, from the Tiree collection, in a deep dark blue was chosen (Windsor).
– I measured ? – that was fun considering the curves and flow of the chair!
Designed by a Norwegian, Terje Ekstrøm who worked in the 70s/80s, the chair’s frame is tubular steel covered with polyurethane foam.
’My’ chair, an original, has been well loved and never abused. The cover fabric had been carefully darned over the years and this certainly helped to maintain its life, but now it was worn through in places and badly faded. The foam, protected in a black stockinette was fine - nothing needed repairs or replacement. All I did was sew up the stockinette where it had been darned into the old fabric cover and added a fine layer of wadding on the seat and arms. Just a little new added comfort!
My version would have seams that needed to be carefully placed out of view, but I also wanted the chair to look the same, have that centre ‘join’ and create the tucked away informality of the Ekstrøm early 80’s design.
The Bute Tiree boucle wool has plenty of stretch and was a joy to work with, I pleated it, pulled it and wrapped it around the tubular curves hoping my work looks effortless! Using a black waxed heavy thread I was able to sew tightly and the boucle happily worked with me. It took more hours than I expected, but the outcome is so lovely. Another chair I would happily live with, but I gave it back.
I hope it brings many years more pleasure.