The Master Stuffer

Chair 004 Wm


Previously, on Upholstery News…

We had left Jessica and Mike in a bit of a pickle. The springs had just exploded out of the chair with cataclysmic force leaving a tangle of string in their wake. From the point of the eruption tacks had flown forth in all directions culminating in an impressive ricochet off a picture on the far wall of the room.


I have to confess, after all that, I’ve been dragging my feet. The longer, stronger tacks arrived some while ago yet there was always something else to do. Even the ironing. But yesterday morning I returned to YouTube and found something I thought might crack it.

And Behold…!


Chair 006 Wm


Once again, Mike held down the springs as I tied the knots, but with a revision to the process it all seemed more natural, hardly an effort at all. Which just goes to show, almost anything is easy easier When You Know How.

The point of all this is just to have a go. I’ve always loved working with fabric so upholstery was a logical next step. If it turns out I enjoy it, I’d like to enrol on a course and develop the proper techniques. Who knows, it may even turn into something that will earn us some pennies after a while. Plenty of those are needed with some big jobs coming up on the house. And anyway, all that hammering is good for the soul.


Chair 007 Wm


So far it’s proving quite fun.



Hard on the hands, maybe.


Chair 010 Wm


But I get to make a right royal mess.

And to play with some pretty awesome kit..


Chair 009 Wm


Who’s going to argue with that?


2018-02-17T09:55:59+00:00December 5th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Jacqueline December 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Your chair is going to look wonderful Jessica ….. I am so impressed….. although, I did tell tou to do it outside !!!!! It must have been like being in a terrorist attack with exploding springs and all of those tacks flying around !!!! When you go on the course, I bet the first lesson is to make sure that you do the first step in the upholstery equivilent of a well-ventilated room !!!! XXXX

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      You did, and I should have listened. But it’s cold out and a tad blowy. That black stuff is lethal though, the dust that comes off it and goes up your nose. I shall have to find a mask before going back to it tomorrow.

  2. snowbird December 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Lol….that needle sure packs a punch! Glad to hear it’s coming along nicely this time, be nice to see it

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

      Maybe I should leave it there and make that the guest chair for people who tend to outstay their welcome..

  3. Anne @ Life in Mud Spattered Boots December 5, 2013 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Wow, that’s an awesome tool.
    Looks like your chair joined in with Movember.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      It’s a regulator, for pulling the stuffing into place. And for obtaining coffee with menaces.

  4. Sue@GLAllotments December 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Intrigued as to how it all turns out!

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      It’s the next bit where it all might go horribly wrong, creating a stitched edge. Tricky. And where the naivety of thinking that you can learn upholstery via YouTube will be ruthlessly exposed.

  5. frayed at the edge December 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Excellent progress! I’m looking forward to seeing the next stage …… and I am suffering from serious needle envy!

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      I have already been bloodied. That curvy needle has a bayonet end!

  6. Janet/Plantaliscious December 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Oh that does look like fun Jessica, hard work, but fun – and you get to rescue a chair, what, as you say, is not to love. Look forward to the next installment.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      I do love a challenge..
      Glad you’re OK, hope there’s not too much damage to the garden.

  7. Jill. December 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Well done. Sorry, I am still giggling.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      I had better go and clear up the dining room. I had to go out (to get my second ear done) so there is still black fibre all over the floor..

  8. Amy at love made my home December 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Looking great Jessica! Sadly rather less hilarious for the reader than last time, but a lot safer for you and Mike. Although I’m not sure about the way you are wielding that bodkin and the curved needle!!!!!! xx

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:38 pm - Reply

      That curved needle is truly vicious.. even worse than it looks!

  9. Jo December 5, 2013 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    Goodness, rather you than me. I look forward to seeing the end results though, I just know it’s going to look fabulous.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      I wish I had your faith! I take the view that I can always keep unpicking it, until I get it right. Right?

  10. Eleanor from Stitches and Seeds December 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    I have complete chair project envy – the whole thing looks brilliant! Have fun. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

    Eleanor x

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Eleanor. It seemed a good idea at the time… just don’t hold your breath!

  11. countrysidetales December 5, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I’m a bit worried your chair will only fit people with extremely small legs….

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      Blame the French. It’s one of theirs..

  12. Denise December 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Ye Gods! That is one heck of a needle!! Looking like jolly good job so far and can’t wait to see your fabric of choice.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      Given that it will probably all end in tears, it lends a certain frisson to the blog, n’est pas?

  13. Pauline December 5, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    I have two easy chairs waiting to be recovered?! Amazing to see how you are progressing, I’m sure the end result will be fantastic.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      It’s the fact that this chair is one of a pair that worries me i.e. they have to be exactly the same.

  14. Freda December 5, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Bravo for even trying! Isn’t it funny how you can have infinite patience for one thing and zero for something else? I just could not do this…

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      I’ve noticed that too. In fact for me it’s zero for most things, I have to have the bit between my teeth.

  15. Rosie December 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    Be careful wielding those needles as they look as if they could do serious damage! I look forward to seeing how you progress with your project:0

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      I haven’t got to the double ended needle yet… next time! Thanks Rosie.

  16. elaine December 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    It is a rather lovely chair – well done for solving the puzzle – have you chosen the fabric yet

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      A plain linen I think… nothing too difficult!

  17. wherefivevalleysmeet December 5, 2013 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Well done Jessica – the tenacity of you both has paid off. It is a lovely little chair and will look very much at home in your cottage when completed.
    Has a little robin suddenly appeared sitting on one of the rusty ducks? I don’t remember seeing him there before.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rosemary. I will have it done by Christmas. Just not this one!
      The robin has always been there. All this summer I’ve been wanting to get a better photo, but needless to say whenever the camera was set up the robin was nowhere to be seen. Which is so annoying because he loves to sit on the ducks. He cocks his head on one side to listen for worms in the lawn!

  18. Sarah December 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    That needle looks huge! I’m glad this time you have had more success and didn’t give up.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      Wait till you see the double ended one.. that has to go right through the seat from top to bottom. Thanks Sarah.

  19. Sarah December 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    I tried to learn the basics of crocheting via YouTube but it was in the days (about 4 years ago) when Rural broadband didn’t exist so every 5 seconds of so it would freeze and I’d be mid stitch wondering what to do!! very frustrating! all good now though and I have a chair in my bedroom with an ugly seat but lovely legs….you’re tempting me to have a go… 🙂

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Rural broadband in the UK still doesn’t exist! They just call it that. I know what you mean and have to pick my times. Middle of the night is good.. 🙁
      You should have a go.. it’s fun. Just don’t hit your thumb with the hammer. Not pretty.

  20. rabbitquilter December 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to seeing the finished result!! I did an upholstery evening class, years ago, it was fun and I covered 6 dining chairs for a friend, she still had them up until last year when she sadly died. I can remember sweating blood over those seats, but I was so proud of the result, hope they didn’t end up in a skip!!!

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      It is incredibly satisfying doing something like that if it works. My theory is, if I go on a course after I’ve done a bit I will know where I am struggling and be able to pay particular attention to those bits. I haven’t stripped down the second chair of the pair yet, and am looking forward to doing so. Somehow I think I will notice a lot more second time around.

  21. Em December 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    I love upholstering too – so satisfying. That’s a very fine needle you have there…..fine in the sense of good obviously. Can’t wait to see the fabric you’ve chosen.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Fabric is a work in progress. I’m thinking something plain would be easiest, no pattern matching, but we’ll see. Plenty of time to add more samples to the collection!

  22. islandthreads December 5, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    well done Jessica, glad for you it was easier this time, with stuffing and tacks in the air sounds like you could do with goggles and a mask, curved needles can take a bit of getting used to, good luck with the continuing project,

    I hope the ear is alright and not too painful, take care, Frances

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Definitely need a mask for the fibre dust, I’ll be on to that tomorrow. The ear is fine, thank you for your concern Frances.
      It must have been a bit wild up there today, are you OK?

      • islandthreads December 6, 2013 at 8:43 am - Reply

        I’m fine Jessica, thanks for asking, the worst here was Wednesday night/Thursday morning when gusting winds reach over 110 mph. I think the islands suffer less damage because we are aware of the strength of the winds more and so build and live prepared for them, as the storm traveled south I hope you have come through it alright, Frances

        • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm - Reply

          Just a bit blowy here Frances, a few more leaves off the trees was the worst of it for us. I feel for those living out on the east coast or in North Wales. The sea is a commanding force.

  23. Wendy December 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Crikey – better make sure you know where that needle is at all times! You’re making great progress on the chair – I shall be looking to you for advice. We have an upholstery project that needs doing here and we’re looking for the cheapest way possible to do it. So far nothing has been done yet.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure my way is the cheapest.. I may end up ordering a whole load more supplies for my repeated attempts!

  24. Bilbowaggins December 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    And you now know, from first hand experience, the origins of the expression “spitting tacks”.

    Well done, the chair will look fabulous when you’ve finished.

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      You need one hand to hold the hammer and one hand to hold the fabric, so there’s no hand left to hold the tack. Traditionally, upholsterers fed them to the magnetic end of the hammer via their mouths. Personally, I don’t like the taste! Thanks Bilbo, I hope so.

  25. CJ December 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    It’s looking very good so far, clever you. I’ve always fancied learning how to do this kind of thing, you see such lovely things. Looking forward to seeing the finished product!

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 11:06 pm - Reply

      I am forging ahead in blissful ignorance, hoping it will be OK…

  26. Cathy December 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    That’s a lot of chest hair you have used for the stuffing, Jessica, and you say the chair is one of a pair? 😉

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      I wish it was chest hair. I’d be feeling a lot happier about the proportion of it that ended up in my nose. Well, maybe. I’d need to know the provenance..
      It should be horsehair, but apparently you can’t get that anymore.

  27. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA December 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Good job! I am looking forward to seeing the next phase. Where did you find your supplies?
    Here it’s tough, everything is ordered via the Internet. We live in a disposable world now. No one knows how to make or repair things with their hands. I am glad to see a renaissance of theses skills. You may have found your niche Jessica!

    • Jessica December 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      I get everything online. The number of places left that supply it were dwindling here too, but last order came via Amazon. Is there anything they don’t sell?

  28. Linda December 6, 2013 at 1:01 am - Reply

    Oh Jessica….that did make me laugh!
    “Please, Sir”…show us the finished product!
    Enjoy your weekend♥
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      The finished product will come… sometime! You have a good weekend too.

  29. Charlie@Seattle Trekker December 6, 2013 at 1:58 am - Reply

    I would be the first to admit I rarely get anything right on the first try, still this looks like a really fun project and the finished project will be so rewarding.

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      It’s all part of learning isn’t it, the important thing is we keep on trying new things and aren’t afraid to undo it and start again!

  30. Vera December 6, 2013 at 5:08 am - Reply

    Great job Jessica. We have a chair that needs mending, so rather than throwing it on the bonfire heap I am going to have a go at mending it myself after having a browse through YouTube videos which will hopefully instruct me how to do it. Any equipment I need will come after a search on the Internet. What would we do without YT and the web!

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      When you think how little time we’ve actually been using the web, it’s frightening how quickly it’s become an essential part of life. As you say, where would we now be without it!

  31. Linda December 6, 2013 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Progressing well, Jessica, although that needle looks lethal! Hope your hearing is back to normal after the
    syringing sessions.

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

      It is getting there Linda, thank you!

  32. haggiz December 6, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Can’t wait to see the finished result. I’ve got plenty of garlands here to stuff, now you’ve shown how good you are! Julie x

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      I’d love to! Hope you escaped the storm this time.. and the floods.

  33. Mise December 6, 2013 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Intrepid you. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished chair.

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      Intrepid or just plain stupid?

  34. Justine December 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    I’m looking forward to seeing the end result – it looks like a lovely piece of furniture even in its somewhat bald state!

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      Recreating the old chair shape will be quite a challenge. But sitting on it in it’s previous state gave something of a sinking feeling!

  35. Simone December 6, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Whoa! That needle reminds me of my epidural!!!

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply


  36. angiesgardendiaries December 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    That’s an extreme pastime Jessica 😉 Take my hat of for giving it a go. Its a lovely shaped chair and I can’t wait to see the next stage and of course the finished result!

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      I wish I’d done the sensible thing and started with a footstool! Thanks Angie.

  37. woolythymes December 6, 2013 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    you look armed and dangerous with that needle!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      Armed and extremely dangerous..

  38. Helene December 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    Good project, looking forward to the next chapter! I have dabbled in upholstery myself, many years ago, but never done springs – you should ideally have at least 6 arms to manage springs, right? Or have help from someone, very difficult on your own! I have also used one of those curved needles, for sowing leather, but I think mine was slightly smaller and less intimidating! Good luck with the next bit 🙂

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      You’re absolutely right Helene, springs have a mind of their own!

  39. Antoinette December 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Certainly not me! 😉
    Long ago my dad suddenly decided he’d reupholster a set of dining chairs without having any experience. My mother was extremely dubious! Probably beginners luck but they turned out well and I still have one of the chairs and it still looks good.
    I bet your will look great too 🙂

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      More than beginners luck. I have one that my Dad did, bless him… it’s now Mike’s study chair and it urgently needs a makeover.

  40. andreamynard December 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    How brilliant to be able to tackle this! We’re in dire need of a sofa and chairs and I keep dreaming of getting hold of old chesterfields or chairs and recovering but I’m hopeless at this sort of thing.

    • Jessica December 6, 2013 at 11:05 pm - Reply

      I thought I was being ambitious, but I met a lady at a lunch last month whose first project was a chesterfield! I may yet turn out to be hopeless too..

  41. Dorothy December 7, 2013 at 2:18 am - Reply

    I love to see before and after projects, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. It looks like you know what you’re doing!

    • Jessica December 7, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

      I can read up on the theory, it’s making it work in practice that’s hard!

  42. nataliescarberry December 7, 2013 at 3:10 am - Reply

    You go girl! I’m so impressed that you would tackle this project. Good luck! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Jessica December 7, 2013 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thanks Natalie!

  43. BadPenny December 7, 2013 at 9:14 am - Reply

    What a wonderful work in progress & learning experience. I think I’d have got myself into a tangle & tied in knots very quickly !

    • Jessica December 7, 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

      I could and did!

  44. CherryPie December 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    Well done, I am looking forward to seeing the finished result.

    And no I am not going to argue with that!

    • Jessica December 7, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      Wise Cherie, I can vouch for the fact that the point is sharp.

  45. Philippa December 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    ‘I’ve always loved working with fabric so upholstery was a logical next step.

    If it turns out I enjoy it, I’d like to enrol on a course and develop the proper techniques. Who knows, it may even turn into something that will earn us some pennies after a while.’

    I think you may have read my secret heart …

    • Jessica December 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

      I wish you well in your endeavours Philippa. It’s tough trying to find something that you enjoy that also earns you a living.
      It’s going well so far, but the next bit is the most difficult. The stitched edge. I am not renowned for my patience. Perhaps I should have done the course first after all.

      • Philippa December 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm - Reply

        Thank you! I am enjoying watching your upholstery so much.

        • Jessica December 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

          Thanks Philippa. You would laugh if you saw it now.. The chair looks like a big fuzzy bear since I attached the stuffing. I must remember to take a picture before I cover it all up!

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