Searching For Upholstery Resources?

I'm looking for some good resources (books, websites, etc.) that will help me design and weave upholstery for a sofa in my home. I have "Custom Woven Interiors" by Kelly Marshall, which I love, but I'm not sure rep weave is the right choice for this application. Thanks in advance for you help.


Posted on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 15:56

I have used rep weave very successfuly for upholstery. I used 10/2 pearle cotton. Marshall's book was my inspiration, but I felt that her fabric would be too thick to work with as upholstery; the 10/2 is just right. It is very durable but fairly easy to sew.

Posted on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 16:21

Bertha Gray Hayes created multiple patterns of interest for more textural upholstery fabric. Osma Gallinger Todd (followed by The Mannings) made available detailed directions for such use. The patterns are beautifully presented in the recent book by Norma Smayda. 

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 02:20

Do you have the title of this book? I searched under the author's name, but I could only find books on undule weaving.

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 11:18

I believe she (Tod) in her book " The Joy of Handweaving" and also Atwater in her book "The Recipe Book of Patterns for Handweavers" talked of overshot miniatures for upholstery weaving. The book on weaving overshot miniatures designed by Bertha Hayes is co-authored by Smayda, White, Brown and Schelleng. But it has no upholstery information. However, I think the motifs woven as S&W makes more durable upholstery cloth as Tod points out in her book "Rug Weaving for Everyone" pg 172.  And of course, by all means rep weave. There are two forms, one makes pattern with color, the other makes pattern with texture, it rides on top of a rep ground cloth. (warp patterned rep).

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 12:27

Bertha Gray Hayes presented many patterns for the annual conferences of the National Conference of American Handweavers that was organized by Osma Gallinger Tod. The conference presentations and notes formed the basis of much of the leaflet and monograph work that Osma continued to organize, reorganize, and distribute. My local library provided me with a Mannings era release of a a Tod monograph of Bertha Gray Hayes designs with a page for each that includes hand drawn pattern, draft information, and suggestions for uses including variations in sett and materials for specific intended uses. I don't know how much of the additional information was created by Bertha Gray Hayes vs added by Osma Gallinger Tod. Texture is an important feature in the design of upholstery and drapery fabrics that can be manipulated through scale of patterns such as miniature overshot.  

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:58

VAV magazine has five or six or more upholstery projects a year and almost all are twill. The reason the jeans are usually twill is that it is the weave that will smoothly cover the curves of your body. And so, it will nicely cover curves of a chair or sofa. Twill has the flexibility that plain weave does not have.
VAV projects are frequently a strong thin warp, cotton or linen, with a wool weft, often weft faced with a 3/1 twill or even a satin weave. Wool is a good fiber for upholstery as it also has some flexing quality.

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:32

That is a crucial point about upholstery, in being able to form to curves, this means it has to stretch a little. You can not weave stiff cloth for the application. But also there are some applications of upholstery were the corners are not exposed, but tucked into the arm or back corners with proper cutting technique, or placed down into a frame and tend to be square. These will not be plush seats as they might be on a sofa or lounge chair.

Twill is an excellent weave for upholstery, especially a linen warp and worsted wool weft. The linen withstands light and is strong and the worsted wool will not pill up when clothing is brushed over it and the wool allows it to be shaped on curves.

Upholstery of cotton will want to be out of sunlight. In my experience it fades and looses integrity in a few short years.

I would avoid a cloth that is too floaty unless it is fine worsted wool so it will cling to itself and the float length is short. Keep the cats away.

Building a traditional chair and covering with handwovens.,70264.msg1242912.html...

Posted on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:33

Many thanks to all of you.  These are incredibly helpful suggestions. I found and just ordered the Hayes/Smayda book.  Reed Guy, thanks for pointing out that it isn't specifically about upholstery. I'm hoping it still provides some inspiration. Ditto on "Rug Weaving for Everyone."  Tod's "The Joy of Handweaving" is the first weaving book I ever owned. It inspired me to learn to weave. I clearly need to review it again, which I will. 

Joanne, thanks for the tip on twill, it makes sense. Wool is proably too hot and insulating for this piece, but im going to start looking for cotton twills. Ive also dug out my past issues of VAV. I've only been subscribing for a couple of years, but that should give me a great start. 

So far no luck on the Tod monograph that fjacobson mentioned. It sounds like a fabulous resource. Does anyone know where I might find one?

Thanks again for all the helpful advice!