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Chaise Longue with a Modern Twist

This piece came to me with the original fabric on it, which was lovely, but very worn. The original fabric was a bit itchy to sit on as well and the springs were falling out of the bottom, which isn't the best. It had some nice carving on the wooden frame, so the decision was made to stripe back the wooden frame and the seat and rebuild it.

First job was to strip it right back and strip off the varnish. I use a gel paint and varnish stripper which is good for fiddly bits. It's the kind of stuff you want to use in the open air and not get on your skin! I've found that a palm sander in better for the flat bits. This piece hadn't been very well upholstered in the first place and all sorts had been used for stuffing, newspaper, wood shavings, whatever they could find.

Put the finish you want on the frame first before you upholster. This frame just had a clear wax, but you don't want to risk getting it on your fabric once you've finish upholstering.

The rule is only upholster what you need to. This seat had webbing with springs and a stitched edge. The first stage is webbing. You need a webber for that and you can't staple the webbing it has to be upholstery tacks, believe me I've tried.... There are different types of webbing. I use standard jute as it's whats easily available to me. If you can get the one with a stripe though it's better quality.

Next its the springs, you need to get an even placement, stitch them in place underneath and then tie them down. Tying down the strings is the hardest bit. I think it was on this job that I learnt leather work gloves were necessary. Pulling cord tight shreds your hands. Not pretty.

Then it's building up the layers of hessian and stuffing and a lot of stitching. A lot of stitching. In total there's 3 layers. This piece had a stitched edge as well. A stitched edge is method of stitching stuffing in place to form a square edge. This is what gives the seat it's shape. You then put even more stuffing on top which gives you the squish.

Traditionally there is a layer of cotton wadding, but I use modern polyester wadding its easier and cheaper and the effect is the same. On top of this is a lining fabric and finally you final upholstery fabric.

I use a staple gun for this. It's quicker and does less damage to the frame. Its easier to get neat pleats with a staple gun, I've brought some cheap ones for classes and they work fine. When you're working with pleats on a rolled arm they should go downward form the top, so that when you run your hand from the top of the roll down they don't ruffle.

Once you've got you're lining and top layer on its edging. Edging can make all the difference, we considered black and white and decided on the black since it brought out the black sketchy lines on the fabric. On the back I had to make a cardboard panel that I covered in fabric. I did this to achieve a neat finish where there was no carving and a lot of bits coming together. Mount board is good for that. I put my edging on with a glue gun. It's not a easy as it sounds!

And voila, you're done! I think the Kandinsky style fabric works well on this piece since the carvings on it are very geometric and asymmetric. Granted it's a statement piece, but a statement piece can make a room.

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