On the 26 April 2012 I enrolled in an upholstery class at Poldrate Arts & Crafts Centre, Haddington, in the belief that this would be an ideal addition to my skills as an all round Jack of all things textile. My tutor was the talented Sylvia Murray of Phoenix Furniture and the project a traditional and very comfortable Hartley Wing Chair from Parker Knoll.

Julia Douglas's Parker Knoll

In my innocence I thought this to be an ideal starter project, as the chair was already in a good condition, just a little tired…



Twenty months later the project was finished!


It took absolutely ages. The class was only two hours per week (with a coffee and cake break in the middle of course) and with breaks for holidays also, this wasn’t quite as long as it sounds, but it did take a whole term just to get the the thing stripped of it’s old fabric!

Upholstery is fiddly. I like to measure twice and cut once, knowing that it will be correct. With upholstery you do a teeny snip, try it, snip, try it, snip, try it…snip to much…ruin your expensive piece of designer fabric and have to start again!

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this project was choosing the fabric. I got completely addicted to Pinterest in my hunt for the perfect material, which would make visitors say, ‘wow, what a brilliant chair!’



I absolutely fell in love with this fabric and hunted high and low to find it, or something similar, but, as it is by an American company this proved to be too tricky and I eventually had to move on.


It had to coordinate with my leather sofa, red rug and curtains. A couple of the Villanova fabrics were a close runner up, but price was a consideration! Didn’t stop me making a mood board though:


I finally settling on the Laura Ashley Wallace Natural/Multi Fabric. I know, I know, totally different! But funky, fun and allowing the option for co-ordinating cushions in linen, navy or duck egg blue.


Here are a couple of images of the project in progress showing it from being stripped naked and getting it’s fire retardent underwear on, to being fully dressed with resplendent piping (click on an image to enlarge):

And finally, the finished chair:

Julia Douglas's Parker Knoll

I don’t think I will be taking on as big an upholstery project as this again, however, there is no doubt that there will be more chairs appearing on this website in the future.