2016-02-14 10.58.52

We are very pleased to announce that we will be able to offer a year-long upholstery course starting  Thursday 14th September 2017.

This course is ideal for those who wish to learn all of the practical skills associated with becoming a professional upholsterer, but do not wish to commit to the academic side of an accreditation. Our focus will be on developing  top quality practical results, so that learners can learn the exacting standards required by professionals.

With opportunities to study for one day per week for 36 weeks, you will be guided by experienced  an professional upholsterer   throughout your learning, each one teaching you their specialist skills to ensure you have an overall grounding.

The course will cover the basics of both traditional and modern processes as required by all professional upholsterers. This reflects the techniques used within the furniture industry but will also allow for an individual’s creative desire to push the conventional boundaries. As one of our tutors sometimes says, ‘Craftspeople use this technique until someone comes up with a better way’.

Our courses are taught from our newly equipped studio close to Southwark and Borough tube, within walking distance of Waterloo and London Bridge. We keep our classes small so that a maximum of 10 students will ensure you benefit from close personal attention during your course.

Course Outline

2015-01-07 18.34.172015-03-11 20.26.06IMG_19572016-01-14 19.36.11IMG_06432014-12-07 14.41.18

During your 36 week course you will first learn, then put into practice, the key and advanced processes needed to achieve a skilled level of upholstery. Whatever your current level of experience, age or intentions for the future, we have the necessary knowledge and passion for our craft to see you succeed.

Key processes that will be taught throughout the course will include:

  • -Health & Safety: safe use when working with tools and equipment in a workshop.
  • -Description and use of traditional and modern fillings.
  • -How to work out the material cost of a project.
  • -Uses of knots, sewing thread and hand stitching techniques.
  • -Fabrics- selecting, marking out, cutting, pattern matching, sewing.
  • -One-to-one tuition in the use of domestic Bernina and Janome sewing machines.
  • -Basic machine sewing techniques. Inserting zips.
  • -Appropriate use of hand and machine tools and equipment.
  • -Trims and detailing, such as piping and double piping.
  • -Understanding chair frame construction and  experience of repair where necessary.
  • -Basic repair techniques to add blocks using saws, drills, glues fillers and screws.
  • -Use of stains, water based paints, french polish, waxes where needed.

Health and safety procedures, good practice use of all hand tools and machines is taught throughout. Business acumen in costing materials, pricing work, invoicing and basic online book-keeping will also be covered.

Practical projects that will be completed during your course:

  • -A completed drop-in seat using modern materials and techniques.* Yours to take home.
  • -A completed drop-in seat using traditional materials and methods.** ***
  • -A completed stuffed and stitched footstool or chair frame* using traditional materials and methods.** ***
  • -A completed sprung dining chair frame^ using traditional materials and methods.** ***
  • -A ‘Sprung arm’ exercise for an inset facing using traditional materials and methods.** ***
  • -A boxed cushion with piping and zip. Yours to take home.
  • -A small upholstered and lined box with choice of lid. We will make the box for you. Yours to take home.
  • -A deep buttoned footstool frame^ using modern materials and  techniques.** Yours to take home.


** Fibre/hair/hessian/linen stitching

***This project is  constructed with materials that will be reused  during the course.


Learners will spend a total of 216 hours of learning time during the course. Attendance is recorded and this can be used to verify your time here. We will issue a certificate of completion at the end of the course and will be happy to write references for job applications or for placements onto advanced accredited courses.

Teaching & Learning

2014-04-13 16.33.322014-02-15 13.53.42 2016-01-14 19.36.112014-02-12 18.59.00 DSC_00842016-01-17 16.22.14

Learners will have full access to our well equipped upholstery workshop and the majority of the teaching will be by practical experience on your own projects (listed above).

There will be set exercises to be completed and tutors will help learners evaluate their own work in private and group tutorials throughout the course. Any additional projects the learner takes on will be encouraged. Feedback will be given throughout the course.

Fundamental knowledge will be explained in interactive lectures in the workshop using practical examples where possible. Different basic topics will be explored and learners are encouraged to develop their own creativity and confidence as they progress.

Tutors will encourage, support and arrange informal external visits to museum collections and professional businesses.

Help in creating mood boards and presentation boards will be at hand. You will also be encouraged to develop your design thinking by creating an online Pinterest portfolio

Opportunities to improve drawing skills will occur as we offer technical drawing days throughout the year.

We encourage learners to develop a comprehensive and reference-able folder of notes as a valuable and visible aid to learning, as well as an ongoing portfolio of your own projects.

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those who have some previous experience. As much of the learning is transferred verbally, a good knowledge of English is required. We do not have minimum academic qualification requirements.

Career Progression

Learners will be encouraged to attain professional standards in their upholstery and soft furnishing projects, as well as acquiring a background knowledge in a broad range of basic techniques. Final projects can be used to show a high standard if a learner has a desire to continue to onto an accredited higher level.

Students will be encouraged to work independently as they would have to in industry.

Supplementary Learning

In addition to our the core upholstery course, learners have the opportunity to round-off their knowledge by attending other related workshops at a substantial discount.

These workshops run regularly, in the evenings  and at weekends, and can be taken at any time during your upholstery course or up to a year afterwards for the same rate.

These complementary workshops will improve your skill levels and abilities in hand made trims, wood  carving and basic woodwork, providing you with a very comprehensive grounding in all levels of upholstery and furniture restoration.

Tutors – Lou Richardson

Lou is a fully qualified ‘City & Guilds‘ upholsterer with over 9 years of experience working in the industry here in Britain and Australia. She is an experienced craftswoman with a wide range of skills from traditional to modern techniques. Lou works as a freelance upholsterer for several workshops as well as taking on private commissions.


Course fees per term are £820. Or you can save by booking the entire 36 weeks for £2400.00.  

Optional supplementary* workshops are offered at a 50% discount .

*Furniture restoration. Woodcarving. Fabric Printing. Furniture Painting Techniques.


All basic materials for the projects are included in the cost of the course. 

Start Dates

The course takes places weekly each Thursday 10am-1pm / 2pm-5pm. Term dates for the course are 14th September -7th December 2017 11th January-29th March 2018 ( No Class 25th January), 12th April -11th July 2018 (half term 31st May)
For those wishing to take an accredited course, please consult for a full list of training centres.

2016-02-14 16.36.222016-02-07 16.43.192016-02-24 18.48.292016-01-14 19.01.122016-01-13 20.41.382016-01-13 20.41.16

Register for this event

49-55 Great Guildford Street
United Kingdom

Start Date: 14/09/2017
Course Dates: Sept 14/21/28 - Oct 5/12/19/26 - Nov 2/9/16/23/30 - Dec 7- Jan 11/18 (No Class Jan 25) - Feb 1/8/15/22 - Mar 1/8/15/22 - Apr 12/19/26 - May 3/10/17/24 - Jun 7/14/21/28 - Jul 5/12

Start Time: 10:00
End Time: 17:00