Book Review: Modern DIY Upholstery


When I saw that this book was available for review I stuck my hand straight up and said, “Me, please” and it just came a few days ago.

I have NOT yet re-upholstered anything according to these instructions, but I can tell it’s only a matter of time, because reupholstery projects involve three things I really enjoy: thrifting/yard-saling, choosing fabric, and hammers.

I’ve only really ever upholstered a couple things in my life: a few chair seats (thank you, staple gun!) and a couple of futon covers (after the first of which I said NEVER AGAIN in a loud voice, but obviously I wasn’t listening to myself as I went on and did another one). *Note: do not try to sew futon covers in an un-air-conditioned room in the Chicago summer.

But this book has really set me on fire to go prowling for an ottoman or two, or maybe even a settee. The pictures are lovely, the instructions seem clear upon reading (haven’t done any yet, of course …) and there are even time-lapse videos! Here’s one with the author recovering a wicker laundry hamper. 

I’ve probably bought half a dozen vintage upholstery books in the last ten years or so (including this one):

but none of them have really gotten me to actually DO any upholstery. I think this book will be different.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Modern DIY Upholstery

  1. Give it a try! I took an adult ed upholstery class 20 years ago and started with a small bedroom chair. I have since done dozens of pieces, some for myself, some for friends, and some for pay. I was even teaching a basic upholstery class at Joann Fabrics for a a while. But once you have tried it, do yourself the favor of a getting an inexpensive air compressor ( $50 at Harbor Freight) and a bit pricier upholstery stapler ($80 online). It will be more fun and less work than a mouthful of upholstery tacks ( that IS the traditional way to put tacks on the magnetic tack hammer!)


  2. Craftsy has a basic upholstery class now, too. The class does not cover repadding or retying springs, etc, but rather focuses on the process of putting the fabric on when the guts are sorted out. I thought the most useful thing about the class was watching how the instructor handled the fabric to fit over curves, etc., manipulating the bias to help smooth the fabric.

    There are lots of similar resources on youtube, but fabric handling is not an aspect of the project that an instructor generally highlights.


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