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Upholstery Immersion 1S22

Age Group: 
Teens, Adults

Jump in with both feet and learn to upholster your own furniture in a shop away from home, with tools, mentorship and community!

Work on a project of your choice in an open-format classroom. There is not a set curriculum. Instead, the teacher circulates and gives instruction at all levels.

Start with a dining chair or ottoman; large chairs take more than one semester. Bring your piece to the first class.

No love seats, chaise lounges, sofas. Storage is limited.

Read Apartment Therapy’s review of this class... and blogs by UrbanSherp, Second Coat Design, The Great Wide Open and Salvage Love. 

BEGINNERS PLEASE NOTE: An armchair or wing-back chair will take more than one semester to complete. Even smaller pieces may take more than one semester. A dining room chair, footstool or ottoman is a recommended first-project.

INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS: You may prepare for class by stripping your furniture at home. Beginners may wish to strip furniture with supervision of the instructor.

You may also be interested in our Basic Upholstery Class, which will give you the skills you need for a head-start on any professional-level upholstering project.

In summer, we offer a Summer Upholstery Intensive – the same as our regular Upholstery class, but all in one week. Leave your work out in the shop and immerse yourself.


The instructor, Kathleen, was diligent about getting around to every person and instructing them on the next step. She was terrific - also the class participants were friendly and we began a team rooting for each other's projects and often helping each other on projects. Kathleen created a very positive work-together environment.  She was excellent, skillful, described the process well, and was hands-on in helping. She also gave mini instructions to the group as tasks came up that were similar for the whole group to learn.  I felt tremendously empowered in doing this work and felt I could take on a bigger project with assistance.

Kathleen Gaskin

Kathleen Gaskin

Kathleen Gaskin is proprietor of Decorator’s Workroom (Jamaica Plain), an upholstery shop which she founded in 1990. She grew up in Trinidad, where her father was a joiner and carpenter and her mother a seamstress and chair caner. She is proud to follow in their footsteps.

Kathleen has received numerous awards for her contributions to Jamaica Plain and the City of Boston, including the 2009 Local Hero Award from Vinfen, 2010 Award for outstanding contributions to Boston’s neighborhooods from Action for Boston Community Development, and 2005 Community Leadership Award from Spontaneous Celebrations.

Kathleen first taught at the Eliot School in 1991.

Upholstery & Slipcovers
Materials to bring to class:


  • NO LARGE ITEMS (sofa, bed, love seat, chaise lounge)
  • ONLY ONE PIECE AT A TIME per student, as our storage space is limited
  • YOU MUST TAG YOUR FURNITURE with your name, phone number and semester
  • YOU MUST REMOVE YOUR FURNITURE at the end of the semester

Bring to the first class:

  • Your piece of furniture. You may store it here for the semester but you must remove it after that. Beginners will learn to strip furniture in the first class session.
  • Two dropcloths (old bedsheets work well): one to cover work surface, one to cover furniture in storage

Recommended after the first class (after consultation with instructor):

  • Tool Kit
  • Check with instructor in class before shopping.
  • Measuring tape
  • Good pair of scissors suitable for upholstery-weight fabric
  • Tack and Staple Remover (Tool #121)
  • Tack claw (Osborne # 202)
  • Magnetic hammer (Osborne #222)
  • 10" Upholstery shears (Osborne #684-10)
  • Ripping tool (Osborne #402)
  • Curved needles (Osborne #K-3)
  • Straight-point needles (Osborne # K-5)
  • Upholstery pins (Osborne #190)
  • 6-oz. Upholstery tacks
  • Marking chalk (Osborne #88)
  • Additional Supplies
  • The following will be discussed in class:
  • webbing
  • burlap
  • muslin
  • 1” or 4” foam
  • cushion foam
  • cotton batting
  • cambric
  • Italian Ruby twine – 1 lb. spool
  • spring-tying twine
  • spring nails
  • fabric: 5/32” welt