Upholstery Tools and Materials I’ve never used

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I can improve my skill level. Whatever job you start in, as a graduate or straight from School, it’s the same. You start knowing very little and as time goes on you accumulate more knowledge, building on your skill. Well it’s the same with Upholstery. The late Terry Sutton, Upholsterer, said to me once that even with 50 years experience, he still learnt new things from doing upholstery every day.

I’ve decided to compile a few tools I’ve never used and this year I’m going to try them out. So here goes:

  1. An Upholstery Tufting Needle. It looks like this. Apparently you can attach a button with a fully upholstered chair. Normally you attach the buttons before you’ve finished upholstering the back of a chair. It looks nifty (if a little sword like). A good little time saver. I’d like to try it.


  1. Hot cutter for fabric.  I use scissors all the time. Recently I took my entire collection to the butchers to get sharpened. My heavy duty scissors cost over £50 so they are irreplaceable really. I got them home only to discover the butcher had accidently blunted them. I have had them sharpened since from a cobbler, but they are just not the same and there is a real knack to using them now. When I saw this heated cutter on you tube the other day, I was like “ I HAVE to get one of those”. It just slides through fabric. Wondering if it will burn through to the table though..hmm.


  1. Ply Grip: I’ve removed it plenty of times from a chair, particularly around the wings, but I’ve never actually attached ply grip myself. I’m going to get some next time I’m at the upholstery suppliers.


  1. Upholstering with Leather: I’ve seen how leather is fixed and removed it from a chair, but I’ve never upholstered with leather. I’ve read about cutting it and leather placement and I’ve also done a few quotes, but alas, not actually upholstered using it. I’ve got it in mind I’m going to ask my antique dealer client to pick up a little something for me to do for free. If you have any advice, send it my way!


  1. Sticking Single Piping: Seems like a time saver to me. Attaching double sided sticky tape to the fabric and folding it over piping cord to make single piping before adding it to a box cushion. I guess it saves sewing twice and reduces bulk. I think I might try that.


What tools and techniques are new to you, or have you yet to try? I’ll let you know how I get on.


About Vicky Grubb

Once a kitchen table Upholsterer, now a fully fledged tutor, author and hoarder of vintage fabrics. My Upholstery studio is based in Bournemouth, Dorset, where I live with my husband and two tinkers.

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