This Won’t Hurt A Bit

And so. Onwards.

A New Year already full of the joys of spring(ing).


Chair 011 Wm


High chair..



If you try this at home (I know, I know), DON’T make your first ever upholstery project a chair with a round frame. It complicates everything ten fold. And every single book you look at, every YouTube video you consult, they will be using a nice easy (square) chair for demonstration purposes. Doh.


Chair 012 Wm


All those lovely curves create extra fullness in the fabric.


It’s all feeling a bit more industrial than my normal sort of project. The black fibre that I’ve used for the stuffing is dreadful stuff. It sends heaps of dust and little strands of itself everywhere. Including up my nose. So I’ve had to use my decorating mask, as the deep red grooves now etched into my skin will testify. And of course that’s all very well until I need my reading glasses to see where to put the tacks. I have walloped my finger with the hammer twice today. Luckily, this time, the nail did not turn black.


Chair 013 Wm


Β Coming on


A double pointed needle takes a bit of getting used to. I have learned, for example, that it is possible to incur a stab wound in the hand and the thigh simultaneously. And I used to think curtain making was bad for bloodletting.


Chair 015 Wm


Β Stitched edge.

First attempt…


2018-02-27T10:52:15+00:00January 9th, 2014|Tags: |


  1. snowbird January 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Oh my….RESPECT! It’s looking wonderful. I’d prefer the round chair any day, it’s a little treaure. Now….what’s going on with the legs eh? eh???? xxx

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Mike has painted the legs. If I don’t protect them from harm the chair could well end up as evidence in the divorce court.. πŸ˜‰

  2. Pauline January 9, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Amazing, it is going to look so beautiful and be really comfy! I wondered about the legs too, very sensible to protect them.

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      I have had a test sit upon today, it seems quite comfy but hopefully the rustling of the stuffing will be masked under the layers yet to come!

  3. 1gus1 January 9, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    It’s such a pretty chair and you’ll be so pleased – fo
    r all sorts of reasons – when it’s finished.

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      It’s half of a pair, so then I’ll have to do the other one. And make sure that it is exactly the same..

  4. Jill. January 9, 2014 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Well done, so far, not too many injuries. Just watch out when the final cover goes on that it isnt blood stained. Done that!

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Luckily the stains that are there already won’t show πŸ™

  5. rabbitquilter January 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful shaped chair, it will be well worth all the blood and blisters!! I did an upholstery evening class years ago, so I know what you are going through – and about the black stuffing!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it, I re-covered SIX dining room chairs for a family friend and they were still in use until she passed away last year! I have to say, I am toying with the idea of doing upholstery classes again!!

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      It is strangely addictive, I think I would enjoy going on a course now. The black stuffing is ghastly.. I dread to think what it is doing to the hoover.

  6. Sue@GLAllotments January 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Sounds dangerous. No gain without pain eh?

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:22 pm - Reply

      Too true. But the sense of achievement is all the better for it.

  7. Crafty Gardener January 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Your project is coming along nicely. We’ll soon be seeing the finished item πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. It will most likely go in fits and starts. But New Year is a good time for starts!

  8. Eleanor from Stitches and Seeds January 9, 2014 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    I have serious upholstery project envy! It is a beautiful chair and it looks like you are doing a beautiful job. xx

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Thanks Eleanor. I’ve already unpicked the top line of stitching. I thought I was getting the hang of the roll edge about half way along, so better to redo it than have a lopsided seat!

  9. Denise January 9, 2014 at 7:49 pm - Reply

    Bravo, that woman! I know the roundness of the chair is causing grief, but round seats are sooooo much better than square – it’ll be worth all the blood letting in the end!!!

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      I hope so Denise. It’s the top fabric that will be the big problem. I can’t get away with nips and tucks there.

  10. Rosie January 9, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Just looking at that needle makes my eyes water! It is a lovely chair though and the roundness of the seat so appealing. Look forward to see the completed project:)

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      It is a fearsome thing that needle. I am still worried that the seat is rather high, but hopefully when the back and arms are stuffed it will look more in proportion.

  11. Sarah January 9, 2014 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Oh dear that chair does seem to give you some challenges and injuries! When it is all complete hopefully you will have many hours enjoying sitting on it and admiring your work.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      So far I am enjoying the learning process, but I don’t know what I would do without all the videos on the internet. The answer to a problem always seems to be out there somewhere. They don’t supply the sticking plasters though.

  12. Abby January 9, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    The second photo looks like a wacky exhibit in a Gallery – you know ‘Chair with hair’ – this year’s Turner Prize winner………

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      It had been sitting in a corner of the dining room all over Christmas in that state. In subdued light it looked very odd indeed!

  13. Jayne Hill January 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    It looks amazing but I don’t like the sound of your stab wounds :{

    I am having to Resist Temptation Very Hard because we have a lovely auction house in town and every Thursday they have a General Sale ….. I really do not need any more projects!

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      I know, I love going to those places. That’s what got me going on upholstery really, thinking what I could do with something battered and cheap if only I had the skills.

  14. Amy at love made my home January 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    Wow Jessica, this is amazing. You have done such great work here. I am so glad that the tacks have stopped attacking you, now you just need to get that needle under control by the sound of things! I hope that you love them when they are done, I am sure they will be fabulous. xx

    • Jessica January 9, 2014 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      I think I will love them BECAUSE they are done! Thanks Amy. It’s actually quite good fun, sore fingers aside.

  15. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA January 9, 2014 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Or ” you’ll feel a little pinch”, usually a lie or the medical person telling you this has never had personal experience of it. Still a super job Jessica! I can tell it will be lovely! Nice it’s a joint project too.
    Can’t wait to see what’s next.

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 12:48 am - Reply

      Or “a little scratch” as it seems to be here.
      I have to work out whether to put the next layer of stuffing on the seat, or make a start on the back and arms. The books say the former, I think originally they did the latter.

  16. nataliescarberry January 10, 2014 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Bravo! You go girl! You are doing a splendid job! I’m so impressed. I would never attempt such an endeavor. Blessings, Natalie πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      I’m glad to have got this bit done, was definitely wondering whether I should have started with something simpler!

  17. Virginia January 10, 2014 at 6:51 am - Reply

    You’re doing a great job Jessica. It’s years since I upholstered a chair, and I have not done a round one, but I wonder if making a pattern of the shape – not like a ‘normal pattern’ but a cardboard shape that replicates the curve might help make the second chair be both the same height and the same degree of slope…. ? Or has the internet given you a better answer to the pair problem?

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

      That’s a good idea. It will also help me get the two arms right on the same chair. I will definitely do that. Thanks Virginia!

  18. haggiz January 10, 2014 at 7:16 am - Reply

    I used to be a phlebotomist and we always said ‘just a sharp scratch’ as we stabbed our unsuspecting patients with a needle, but I never wielded anything as ferocious as that! Have you got the fabric yet? Looking forward to seeing a finished product x

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      I am waiting until I get a bit nearer finishing before investing in fabric, but I think it will be something fairly plain. Minimise the problem of the curves and focus attention on the shape of the chair. Perhaps a really nice textured linen?

  19. frayed at the edge January 10, 2014 at 8:22 am - Reply

    The chair is looking really good – I am looking forward to seeing it finished. I laughed at the comment from haggiz – a sharp scratch to them is severe pain to me!!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm - Reply

      Next time I need blood taking I’ll just invite them over here on an upholstery day.

  20. Antoinette January 10, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

    WOW! I think it is looking wonderful!
    But I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of you when you’re holding that needle ;-)!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      In the photo one of the points is buried in the chair, I should have drawn it back a bit to show the real horror!

  21. Jenny January 10, 2014 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Wow, that looks like a lot of hard work, but with every step it really does look good. That is a serious needle!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      It’s a very clever needle too. When you are stitching through huge thicknesses, or negotiating your way through the spring cavity without getting caught up in anything, it really helps to be able to go in both directions.

  22. Cathy January 10, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I am afraid this has given pangs of…..well, I am not quite sure what, knowing I have a lovely Victorian nursing chair we bought at auction about 14 years ago still waiting to be reupholstered…..I have got the tools and bits, so perhaps if I found (ie looked) for some fabric I might get on with it. Mine has a round frame πŸ™ but no arms πŸ™‚ and I look forward to seeing more progress on your project to spur me on…. It’s looking great so far!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      I was really unsure how I would get on with it, and I don’t have endless patience as a rule, but it is really good fun. Go for it!

  23. Em January 10, 2014 at 11:55 am - Reply

    VERY impressive indeed!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Need a day or two off now to allow needle punctures and twine burns to heal.. thanks Em.

  24. Wendy January 10, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I am so impressed; it’s looking terrific. Ouch to those stab wounds, but that needle has always looked a bit scarey. After the difficult round frame, I imagine if you tackle a square frame next, you’ll find it so much easier.

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      Totally the wrong way round, but the next project will be a footstool. So I can sit on the chair with my feet up!

  25. wherefivevalleysmeet January 10, 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to seeing the chair finished Jessica, as I am sure you are too. Round is so much more attractive than square.

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      It is provided I can achieve an equally neat finish. I’m thinking it will need a seam around the front edge of the seat.

  26. knitsofacto January 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    I am in awe! Kudos Jessica, seriously. Just try and avoid further injury m’dear, I hate to think of upholstery as something one must pay for in blood!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks Annie. I am beginning to discover why it is so expensive..

  27. SeagullSuzie January 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Looks and sounds like a health and safety nightmare….I never knew it could be so bloody! However it’s starting to look great and what a lovely creative hobby.

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      It’s great to be acquiring a new skill, I guess injuries are the price to pay for inexperience. Hopefully I will improve!

  28. Caro January 10, 2014 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Such a beautiful chair! I glanced at the photos, didn’t realise the black fluff was stuffing and thought you’d covered your chair with black mohair wool! … which would have been pretty cool really! Then it all made sense when I saw the burlap! I re-upholstered a couple of old wooden dining chairs that I found in the street a few years back; had a fancy to use Cath Kidston oil cloth for the seats. No.No.No. SO stiff to work with! wish someone had told me how tricky it would be before I cut the fabric! Manage to get it done so I have deep respect for your endeavours! Good luck with the second chair … !!

    • Jessica January 10, 2014 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      It would be pretty cool..! My first inclination was to go for drama and an overly large pattern on the fabric. There’s a lovely Sanderson one with massive fern fronds which would have been appropriate given the woodland setting, but having discovered how difficult the curves are to manage, plain is good!

  29. young at heart January 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    oh my….how very clever…’s going to be fabulous!!

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

      I hope so, but however it turns out it will set me up well for going on a course and honing the techniques!

  30. elaine January 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Can’t wait to see the finished product

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 9:54 am - Reply

      It may be some while at current rate of progress!

  31. CJ January 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    It’s looking good, I’m very impressed. You do make me laugh with your upholstery tales, I hope you’re not in too much pain.

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Only sore fingers, they will heal!

  32. wherethejourneytakesme January 10, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    After watching your demonstration I went straight on to Google to find an upholsterer for my little retro chair – I know when i’m beaten before I start. You are doing really well – you will be able to relax on your little chair when it is finished – nursing your scars!!

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 9:57 am - Reply

      If I can do it Viv, I’m quite sure you can!

  33. Virginia January 11, 2014 at 12:25 am - Reply

    Looking at your comments about choice of fabric … I’d suggest some design – like ferns rather than a small repeating pattern – rather than plain, as plain will draw the eye to the shape, whereas the larger, more random design will provide interest to distract from any imperfections in the shape … not that there will be any, will there!! But it’d give you ‘wiggle-room’…….

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 10:22 am - Reply

      I was going for ease but yes, a plain fabric will show up the slightest imperfection. Having overcome the hurdle of the stitched edge, I think it’s time to start collecting samples. I can get some longer returnable lengths to drape across the chair and we can see what we think. Thanks for your help Virginia!

  34. woolythymes January 11, 2014 at 12:42 am - Reply

    I think I drew blood just looking at that needle!!!! (nice job, though!!!!—REALLY nice job!)

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Thanks Steph. Long way to go..

  35. Sarah January 11, 2014 at 6:18 am - Reply

    I am beyond impressed! They say that antiques must have many stories to tell…..imagine what your lovely little chair would say about you and your injuries!!!!

    • Jessica January 11, 2014 at 10:29 am - Reply

      My DNA will stay on the chair forever. I wonder if anyone will ever find it?

  36. CherryPie January 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    After all your hard efforts, it seems to be coming along nicely.

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

      So far so good.. thanks Cherie.

  37. Marian January 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Wow! You did it! Loved the story around it and the experiences you share with us. Can’t wait to see how it evolves.

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:53 am - Reply

      Upholstery wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, it’s harder work, but onwards! Thanks Marian.

  38. Willow January 11, 2014 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    We have an old wicker chair that was my grandmothers it has a seat that needs this type of repair ~ dare I !

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Yes! Go for it. It’ll be very rewarding when it’s done.

  39. Simone January 11, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Looking good! I have a chaise longue that needs upholstering- do you fancy tackling that when you finish?!!!

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

      How long can you wait??? πŸ˜‰

  40. Pats. January 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I say old socks, FIrst Class!! Triffic job. You need a good pair of farm gloves for using that needle. When we sheared sheep, the wool was packed in 8′ wide rectangular shaped hessian bags which we sewed up along the top with just such a needle……and…ohh, the language! Hence…the woolsack. I’m better at wrapping fleeces, that’s an art too. Well done, you!

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      And just like hessian and stuffing I’ll bet it didn’t stay still to be stitched. Brute force needed to hold it all together with one hand and poke in the needle with the other.

  41. Rosie Nixon Perthshire Photographer January 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Oh it’s adorable – I love old furniture that is shaped like this. Worth the blood and numb finger nails πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      Almost worth it.. πŸ™‚

  42. Caroline Taylor January 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    This is great, I love the stuffing photo!

    • Jessica January 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      A big hairy bear of a chair! I still wonder whether I used too much.

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