Learn How to Do Upholstery


When you’re just starting out in my Upholstery Workshops, everything is so foreign it’s hard to even know where to start. I have listed some of the most commonly asked questions I get regarding my classes.

Where are you located?

I teach my classes from Maker Works, a Community Maker Space at 3765 Plaza Dr. in Ann Arbor, MI.

How much is a class?

My 3 hour workshops are $75 and include access to tools and hands on instruction. I am always running my Buy 3 Get 1 Free Discount, so you can save money by scheduling all 4 classes at once. Your discount is applied at checkout.

Are there any prerequisites or skills I should have before starting the class?

NO! No experience at all is required to begin this class. Mosst of the students are super new, just like you! My classes are designed for anyone to come in at any level of experience, at any stage in their project to work at their own pace. 

Are there any safety precautions I should be aware of before starting the class?

So glad you asked! You will want to be sure to protect your eyes, hands, and feet. For this you may need glasses or goggles (we have goggles on handd to borrow), gloves to protect your hands, but be sure you can also work in them, they should be form fitting, and hard soled shoes or boots to protect your feet from nails, staples, and other sharp rusty objects. We have first aid kits on hands in case of injury, and you will also fill our a liability waiver complete with emergency contact info in the case of an emergency.

Can I bring a friend?

Absolutely! Bringing a friend is sure to help you complete your piece faster! The more the marrier! Each individual has to be registered in advance before arriving though, so your friend is not able to come for free. The class fees are for instruction, and if you're in the room, you will be learning! If you are going to bring a friend, just be sure they are registered as well. Because most pieces require more than one class, you can save money by taking advantage of my Buy 3 Get 1 Free discount and you and your friend(s) can split the cost!

Do I need to bring my own piece of furniture?

For my weekly workshops, Yes! My BYOP (Bring Your Own Piece) Upholstery Workshops are designed for you to work at your own pace, from any starting point, with any level of experience. Bring in that chair you've been storing in the basement to "do something with someday"... Today is the day!

Can I bring my couch?

Unfortunately Maker Works does not have the space to accommodate large projects. Each class is limited to just 6 students who all occupy a space of about 48" x 48". Your project must fit into this space, so we ask that you keep your pieces under 4' x 4'.

Will the class cover both traditional and modern upholstery techniques?

Mostly I just cover more modern techniques, but we do cover spring tying if your piece requires it, and I may be able to help with other traditional methods or help you fin the right resources if that is the direction you would like to go.

What should I expect in my first class?

Your first class is typically dedicated to stripping, evaluating, and measuring for materials. If you bring in your piece of furniture pre-stripped, please be ready to begin putting materials back on. I carry professional materials on hand for purchase with a list to pricing provided in class. Be prepared to pay for the materials you use via cash, venmo, or zelle before you leave.  If you are re-using materials, be prepared with your fabric selections. You can also work on finishing the frame with paints or stains. You will want to be sure this is done before starting with the upholstery.

What else do I need to bring?

ALL of the tools needed to complete your project are available and provided by me. To get started in class you just need to bring yourself, and your sunny disposition! It is important to keep your personal saftey in mind, so you may consider bringing gloves, a facemask for dust inhalation (if applicable), and hard soled shoes, because there will be staples and nails everywhere!

Will I need to buy new materials?

I always suggest all fabric and padding materials be replaced, but there are instances where if it is in good shape, it may be reused. I will always have materials on hand for purchase in class if you need them, or can order them in time for your class to start when you are ready for them.

How much fabric will I need?

Your first class is typically spent stripping, evaluating, and measuring your frame for materials. If you are stripping your piece of furniture in advance of your class, you will want to try and measure for these before stripping. That can be done by measuring just the lengths of all of the panels of fabric you will need.

On a chair, that might look like this:

  • Inside Seat Back
  • Inside Arms
  • Seat Cusion (both sides!)
  • Seat Deck (Under the cusion)
  • Outside Arms
  • Outside Seat Back

Once you have measured these lengths in inches, you will want to add some length to each panel to compensate for the material you can't see, where it goes through and staples to the frame. You may have to make some guesses here but you should be able to get a general idea by measuring from the top of the seat to the bottom of the frame. Add that measurement to each panel length.

Once you have all of your lengths measured you will add up all of your lengths together. Divide this number by 36. (36" is a foot) This will tell you how many yards you will need. ALWAYS round up to the nearest yard. If you're super new at this, you may want to add an additional couple of yards in the event that you make a mistake and have to replace a panel.

A more seasoned upholsterer would also account for the widths of these panels to see how they could get the patterns to fit to make sure they only order as much fabric as they need. I do not recommend this for beginners because the chances of you making a mistake are so high. I want you to have enough fabric to account for this going in.

How do I choose the right fabric for my upholstery project?

First you must determine the use of your piece. Is it high traffic? Will lots of people be using it? Is it more decorative? Most Upholstery projects require medum to heavyweight fabrics. ANy fabric seller should be able to poit you in the right direction here, and online resources will allow you to filter down to just these choices. One main thing to keep in mind iss the "Double Rub" count. This is how many times a fabric can be rubbed before it wears a hole through it. Most fabric retailers will ahve these specs on their fabrics, but discount outlets most likely will not. Consult the seller if you have immediate questions.

How many classes will I need?

That's sort of like asking "How long is a piece of string?" The short answer is, I have no idea. Each person is different and learns and works at their own pace. Something that might take someone one class, could take you 4. On average it has taken my students 4+ classes to complete a standard sized chair, but there are a variety of projects you can bring in that can be completed in one class. Chair seats, ottomans, head boards, cushions are just a few that come to mind.

Save money by scheduling all of your classes at once. I have an ongoing Buy 3 Get One Free discount to get you started.

Is there a possibility of advanced or follow-up classes after completing the beginner class?

I do offer private lessons for a more one on one experience!

Can I expect any assistance or guidance on my personal upholstery projects outside of class time?

Yes! I host a private group on Facebook called the LullCo Upholstery Club. It's FREE to use and join. Just make a post when you get stuck and be sure to tag me in it!

Join my club!

I can't make it to class! Can I reschedule?

There are no refunds for my classes, but I do allow you to reschedule. I am able to guarentee a reschedule if I am notified within 72 hours in advance. I need at least 3 days to sell your open seat. Last minute requests can cost me hundreds of dollars, so I have stopped allowing them.