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 from our inventory to restore

Carla is such a resource for Livingston. This class was a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of upholstery and it came at the perfect time. I’d been fascinated in furniture for a while and was excited to find the course shortly after moving to town. The class size was small, so each student received individualized attention and guidance in addressing the intricacies of their chairs. Carla brought each of us through the process of upholstering our chairs step by step. I’m not a seamstress, so I was nervous about sewing. Carla showed me how to sew the welts, accurately measure the pieces, join the fabric, stretch the burlap & tack and staple the upholstery. I ended up with a beautiful chair that I’m super proud of.”

–Cheryl Watson Cooney, Livingston, MT
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. If you have a specific project in mind, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll reply right away with an email address for you to send me your photos and get your questions answered :).

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.

Don’t have a chair?

Contact Carla to see photos of chairs we have available for students. Thrift store pricing makes these affordable!

Please read the Class Policies before registering for the class.

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 in the Prep Class
  • A nominal 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.

*** Important:

Please read the Class Policies before registering for the class. Your registration signifies your agreement with all Class Policies. All chairs must be pre-approved before the classContact Carla to receive an email address to submit photos of your chair.

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

Leslie with her chair Before & After the Beginner Chair Workshop

Winter Warmer Chair Upholstery Workshop (details)

Instructor: Carla Pyle
Dates: Sat & Sun, Feb 22-23, 2020 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (both days)
Class size: 3-4
Location: Carla’s upstairs studio in Livingston, Montana
Early Bird Registration opens Jan 1st!

Note: Please check out the Class Policies to bring yourself up to date before registering for the class. (your registration signifies your agreement with all Class Policies)… So appreciated!

Springtime in the Rockies Chair Upholstery Workshop (details)

Instructor: Carla Pyle
Dates: Sat & Sun, Apr 25-26, 2020 9:30 am – 5:30 pm (both days).

NOTE of possible change: If there is sufficient demand for a more advanced course, and students have completed a previous course with Carla or another instructor, we’ll extend this to a 3-day intensive, which would run April 24-26. Contact Carla and include ‘April Workshop’ in your subject line to ‘cast your vote’ for either the beginner level or a more advanced level workshop. Results of the vote will be announced in the February Newsletter (sign up here to receive the Newsletter).

Class size: 3-4 
Location: Carla’s upstairs studio in Livingston, Montana
Registration: To be announced

Note: Please check out the Class Policies to bring yourself up to date before registering for the class. (your registration signifies your agreement with all Class Policies)… So appreciated!

Can’t make it to these classes? Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be notified of future workshops.

See more about other class offerings.