Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DYI - The Sophisticate Seamstress

DYI is an acronym for do-it-yourself. That ottoman or chair might be a prize as your rummaging through a consignment shop or a flea market. Superficial imperfections are easy to cover up-- literally, with some new zebra stripe or a toile.

Matthew Haly, owner of The Furniture Joint, offers the following tips on inspecting a potential piece for recovering and refurbishing:

  • Make sure it has a solid wood frame by checking out the inner wood. Most frames are made of poplar or oak.
  • Look at the springs: Coil springs indicate that it is a higher quality piece.
  • Search for any broken pieces or legs. While breaks can be repaired, breaks on an angle are harder to restore.
Here's how to become a master upholsterer in your own city:

New York:
Matthew Haly, owner of The Furniture Joint, teaches one upholstery course every month. The four night classes, which runs $300. Two cushion seats later, you have cut even.

Chicago: The Needle Shop offers a 4 and-a-half hour class to learn to recover an ottoman for $80.00 (**some prerequisite class required) The next class is Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. Sign up online.

Atlanta: Hancock Fabrics hosts a 6-week course for $180, which requires 2-hour classes each week.

Denver: Emily Griffith Opportunity School offers a basic upholstering class for $331, but you have to be the it-girl: it is scheduled Weds. or Thurs. from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. for 8 weeks; or Weds. or Thurs. from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. for a semester.

San Francisco: The Palo Alto Adult School has a 10-week course on their schedule, starting in January for $195. It runs either Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Washington, DC: G Street Fabrics instructs you to grab your old, dingy chair and bring it into class for recovering. See pg. 19 of the class schedule, a series of eight, two-hour sessions for $279.

Study up! An education lasts a lifetime.

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