before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Textile Designer Learns to Upholster

by Grace Bonney

Chair Makeover on Design*Sponge
All roads lead to Instagram for me these days. Whether I find something that inspires me, or find out that someone I’m emailing with runs a feed I already follow, those little square frames seem to be the common denominator of the creative community right now. And today’s first makeover is a case of connecting the dots between a new online contact and an Instagram feed I was already following.

I can’t remember how I first found textile designer Jenny Sibthorp‘s feed, but it’s a wealth of beautiful handprinted patterns with a seaside theme. Based in the Isle of Purbeck in England (home to another of my favorite ‘grammers), Jenny set up her own screen printing business last year and now works in a farm studio where she recently expanded to printing her fabrics for upholstery. Her first big experiment was this gorgeous chair, which she remade from top to bottom (including her own fabric!) along with the guidance of her workshop neighbor, who is an experienced upholsterer. From the tiny tufted back buttons to the lovely blue-and-tan linen fabric, the final project is a testimony to both the great bones of an old chair and the modern look and feel of Jenny’s fabric design. I always love a good “old-meets-new” story, so this makes me want to raid every thrift store in upstate New York to find a frame I can learn and practice on. Check out more of Jenny’s photos after the jump! xo, grace

1_before copy

2_Stuffing the Front Edge copy

3_Stitching the seat copy

4_Fastening the back roll copy

5_Buttons tied in copy

6 copy

7 copy

8 copy

9.jpeg copy

10 copy

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  • This upholstering was done to profection ! My father was a professional upholsterer and extremely particular of the finest
    details. A chair as the above is basically without a frame and probably filled with horsehair , originally ; which made this extremely difficult to do ! Basically, you’re building the entire chair .
    What an absolutely lovely job you did ! Knowing the tremendous amount of time and effort I am in awe !

  • It came out so great! I’m a screen printer, too, and I’d love to someday print a repeat big enough to upholster a piece of furniture with. Lovely job! And the buttons are perfect!

  • DIY upholstering. I’m actually planning to do it by myself. I saw a really great armchair in one of our local antique stores. My uncle is really skilled and knows how to do it so I will invite him. So it will be DIY spirit anyway. And I agree, the print is excellent. In my case, I would only be scared about drinking coffee on it.