So my hands have recovered from removing the thousands of staples from my Queen Anne wing chair and now it’s time to start laying out the pieces.
To prepare for this, I bought two books, both excellent books about upholstering furniture, what one is missing, the other one has. Professional Upholstering by Frank T, Destro, Jr. and Spruce: A Step by Step Guide To Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown, and there are also many YouTube videos to help along the way. But… for now I’m stuck on this pattern! It’s the elephants in the photo below.
Looking at it and laying it out, I think I may be in over my head. It’s not so much the pieces and putting it together, it’s the pattern and making sure that the repeat of the elephants and medallions are exactly where I want them and that they match up on every piece. This fabric is so me… The minute I saw it, I knew it would be so perfect for my special chair, even the colors work in the room.
So today, I unrolled the fabric on my dining room table and brought in the pieces I removed from the chair.
Yes it’s a mess.
And of course I can’t do this without my little Pippa by my side (laying on the dining room floor by my table).
She just hangs out and rests while I work, sometimes she likes to be picked up and carried around the house, but for now, she’s just resting. She sometimes moves around, but always near by.
I went through everything and organized the pieces and had to make more notes on many of the pieces. I have to find the center and on the main back chair piece, that was pretty easy. But the wings and arms, how do I find the center of that when it’s an irregular shape? Those, the chair cushion, the front and all of the rest of the pieces all have to line up to however I set it for the chair back. The chair back will be the main focus and I have to work off of that.
The Wings… it’s so hard to tell where the pattern should line up. I also noticed that I didn’t take the full wing apart, there is a seam where the arm meets the wing… but in a way it’s good that I didn’t take it apart yet, because now I see that I needed to add more notes and marks. The dark blue denim is how the fabric was extended to save money on the good fabric, I guess. I’m not sure if I’ll do it that way or if I should just make it all the good fabric. I’ll have to read up on it in the books. I think it would be easier to not have to piece together filler pieces even though it uses more fabric.
I did take a picture of the fabric folded on the chair… maybe that will help on how to layout the wings. The front of the wings have to match up to the back of the wings around the curve. I think I’ll lay it all out and pin it before I do any cutting at all, and even then, I wonder if I’ll get it right?
So as of right now, I’m in stall-mode… I need to look at this, think about it, look at it.. think… that’s pretty much how I do my costumes too. I’ll put the fabric on the dress form (I don’t use patterns, I do draping instead)… look at it, walk away, think… come back every so often and change something and eventually it gets done.
This chair wouldn’t be nearly as complicated with a solid fabric, a stripe or a small pattern… but no, I had to fall in love with this fabric.
So now… out to the pool with my books and I’ll see if they will give me any good tips on pattern matching. (I haven’t even thought yet about ordering the cotton batting and other put-together materials that I need… I’m just stuck in pattern-matching-mode)
Hopefully my next update on this will be more positive and I will have actually gotten something done.
Thanks for reading.
UPDATE: So far I’ve only read through one book on fabric layout and pattern matching… (“Professional Upholstering”) th4 information there is so clear and will help dramatically. I didn’t mark centers and lines on the fabric as I took it off the chair, but I will have to spend some time doing that before laying it out in the actual fabric. Between this book and the other (which I haven’t looked at yet) I should be ok with this. It will be time consuming, but I already knew that when I started it.