This article is a chapter of a four-part series named “Anatomy of a Chesterfield”.
Here are the links to the other chapters:
The eye and hand of the upholder*. Tethering. Tying. Fastening. Pulling.
Head down. Modest and humble. Focus and deliberation.
In his realm of craftsmanship.
*archaic name for upholsterer
CHESTERFIELD SOFA FRAME MAKING
The upholstery frame provides the
structural support and strength. It also
determines the basic shape. The ‘Pattern
Room’ contains over 300 variations of the
Chesterfield design alone.
High end furniture is constructed from
more expensive hardwoods such as beech,
birch & mahogany.
An understanding of the material to be cut is
crucial. The composition and pattern of a
fabric; the grain and hallmarks of the leather.
The ability to read the material correctly only
comes with years of knowledge and experience.
The cutter must also follow sketches and
design specifications No two jobs are ever
Also known as an ‘upholstery nail’ each stud is
individually nailed into the frame by hand.
More than 1000 studs are used on an average
Chesterfield to accentuate areas such as the front
arm facing, front border and outside back corners.
This techniqie originally developed to hide the rough
edges of leather.
Circa 200 years ago, the deep-buttoning technique
was conceived to keep the horse hair stuffing within
a sofa from moving around. Today it is an aesthetic
design feature synonymous with the iconic British
Due to the complex pleating under high tension,
it is probably the hardest technique to master
and can only be done by hand.
‘The Anatomy Of A Stuffed And Stitched Chair’ by Fleming & Howland
‘The Anatomy Of A Stuffed And Stitched Chair’ by Fleming & Howland is a book designed to offer a behind the scenes artistic view of traditional upholstery. An endorsement of British manufacturing, the book captures, in step by step format, how an object of beauty and great design is lovingly crafted. An image led book, it depicts how labour intensive and time consuming the process is with each chair taking 258 hours to create from start to finish. Click here to purchase online.