IMPORTANT NOTICE: We are no longer offering live workshops – check out other upholstery learning opportunities here

Kerri & Almira show off upholstery workshop projects

Kerri & Almira with their upholstery workshop projects

Learn the three R’s of upholstery working on your own chair!

  1. Repair: Learn how to tell if a chair is worth the work you will put into reupholstery. Take care of a wobbly frame with glue or screws, perform minor spring work (if needed), and gets things generally tightened up before you begin rebuilding the upholstery padding.
  2. Restore: Spiff up the frame with a light cleaning, OR go for a complete transformation with paint or refinishing (best done before class). Need new padding? Choose natural materials (natural latex foam & wool batting) or conventional – learn the difference between them.
  3. Restyle: The FUN part happens with your new fabric! You can also create an updated look with some minor adjustments to the padding & design (add a welt here, some buttons there).
3 people working on chair upholstery

Students work on their chairs during the workshop with Carla (in the red shirt :)

2 views - student & chair - before and after

Before & After: Deb chose a 50’s style rocker

3 images of beginner chair under deconstruction

Carla demonstrates deconstruction of an open-back chair

How do I know if my chair is right for the class?

The best beginner-level chairs have:

  1. An upholstered seat and back
  2. Open arms with minimal or no padding (or no arms)
  3. Simple backs (buttons and some tufting is okay)
  4. Check out my Pinterest board ‘Ideal First Upholstery Projects’
  5. Ottomans are okay too!

Important Note: I want you to be successful! My goal is to help you complete your project by the end of the workshop, with no loose ends. So… your chair must be pre-approved prior to registration.

Not permitted: oversized pieces, projects with major foundation issues, spring work, channeling, attached cushions or significant style changes. If you are interested in tackling more complex skills, please try a small project first. Intermediate/Advanced workshops are available for those who have successfully completed a beginner level chair and would like to move on to a more advanced level.

4 chair images

4 examples of chair styles acceptable for the Beginner Chair Upholstery Workshop

What the Workshop Includes:

• Two full days (16 hrs) of FUN & hard work (bring plenty of elbow grease!)

Yes, an intensive couple of days, but don’t worry – we’ll have good music and plenty of breaks (lunch, snacks, tea, and sometimes even dancing)!

• Intro Videos + Handouts:

As soon as your registration is complete, you’ll receive a link to view & download a series of videos & handouts, including:

  1. Class overview – what to expect when you bring your chair for the weekend workshop.
  2. Worksheets + Guides to help you get started.
  3. Instructions for deconstruction of your chair – depending on the complexity of your project, you may want to get a jump on the tear-down so you can complete your chair by Sunday afternoon of the workshop.
  4. How to evaluate your chair’s condition. If you determine that your chair needs structural repairs, a new plywood seat foundation, or refinishing/repainting, you’ll get guidance on how to get this done or do it yourself before the weekend session.
  5. How to measure and calculate how much fabric to buy for your project.

• (optional) Zoom video meet-up for Q&A:

Two weeks prior to to the weekend workshop, you’ll have a chance to meet your fellow students via zoom video, share your project and get your questions answered.

• We provide:

  • use of all tools and sewing machines, thread, spring twine, tufting twine, staples, adhesive, covered button molds and hot glue
  • professional tips & tricks of the trade
  • helpful charts & handouts that you can take home and use on your next project :)
  • a memorable experience and and skills that last a lifetime!

• You provide:

  • your pre-approved chair
  • upholstery fabric, foam and embellishments such as decorative nails & trim – amount to purchase is determined prior to class.
  • A fee will be applied to these extra materials IF used in class: natural latex foam, dacron batting, cotton batting, wool batting, ticking fabric (for the wool batting), jute webbing, burlap, welt cord, zippers, springs and muslin fabric.
  • the moxie to dive in and get your hands dirty!

Nothing beats the satisfaction and fun of restoring a chair in your own unique style and making new friends in the process!

Workshop Schedule

Intro Videos:

Immediately upon registration, you’ll receive access to Intro videos to help you get started on your project.

Prep Class (self-guided videos + optional zoom meet-up for Q&A):

It’s great fun getting everyone together prior to the Weekend Workshop Session, so I offer an optional zoom video meet-up 2 weeks before the workshop. It’s a fun chance to meet your fellow students, share ideas & challenges, and get your questions answered. Meet-ups last 30-60 min, depending on the projects and questions you bring.

HOMEWORK (recommended to do before weekend session):

  • Purchase fabric & new foam (if needed)
  • Deconstruction: remove the old fabric from your chair
  • Complete any repairs and refinishing/repainting of your frame that may be necessary prior to weekend session

Weekend Workshop Session:

Two consecutive days (8 hrs/day) – You’ll arrive with your chair, fabric and ALL of the old materials that you removed in deconstruction. You’ll be guided through the steps of fitting & attaching your padding & fabric to your chair frame, including any stitching required such as welt or minor piecing of sections, as necessary.

Participants work independently on their projects, with support & hands on instruction personalized to each project. Mingling and cross-pollinating is encouraged! Half the fun is learning from each other’s challenges and sharing new ideas… common side effects are surprise & delight at unanticipated outcomes.

2 images: chrome-framed chair before & after reupholstery

The possibilities for your chair’s new look are endless…

Note: A selection of upholstery fabric & natural padding materials (100% Natural Latex Foam & Wool Batting) will be optionally available for purchase from Carla’s studio. Please note that we do not have any petroleum-based urethane foams available, though we do have polyester batting.

DIY upholstery class student with chair before & after re-upholstery

Leslie with her chair Before & After the Beginner Chair Workshop

2-day Beginner Chair Upholstery Workshop (details)

Instructor: Carla Pyle
Dates: TBA
Class size: 3
Location: TBA
Class Fee:

Springtime in the Rockies 3-day Advanced Upholstery Workshop (details)

This is a three-day intensive for students who have taken a previous workshop with Carla or another instructor. See this post for an overview and self-evaluation tips to see whether you’re ready for a more advanced project.

Instructor: Carla Pyle
Dates: TBA
Class size: 2-3 
Location: TBA
Class Fee: TBA 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: We are no longer offering live workshops – check out other upholstery learning opportunities here.