The London Chair Collective

Upholstery by Helen Wilding


I first became interested in the transformation of furniture and other everyday objects when I worked in the theatre creating sets and props for all sorts of scenes in different time periods.

After many years I still loved it and decided to learn how to do it properly so that it would last for years rather than the length of the show.

I obtained my City and Guilds Level 2 at the London Metropolitan University (formerly the College of Furniture) and went on to do the advanced course. Having started with a love of traditional upholstery techniques I now find I am enjoying the challenges of working with more modern materials and shapes.
The world of chairs is always exciting as each project throws up its own challenges and quirks which is what makes it fun as well.

Upholstery by Helen Wilding

Hillcrest office chair
Hillcrest office chair
Hillcrest office chair
Hillcrest office chair reupholstered by Helen Wilding in gorgeous leather with studded detailing

Upholstery commission - Fat Boys Diner

I was asked to undertake the refurbishment of an original 40’s American Diner currently situated in Trinity Buoy Wharf.. The seating was in a pretty bad way and was patched together with gaffer tape.

The owner wanted the recover to be as close to the current look as possible and so with the invaluable help of Jude and Sally from the LCC and later Ian I took on the project. We had to co-ordinate the work carefully as the diner stayed open for most of the time so we did each stool and bench and replaced them before removing another one.. When we removed the current vinyl we discovered the remains of two previous covers and in fact the very first covers were in a vivid bubblegum pink rather than white. The stools were fairly straightforward but sewing the covers for the back of the bench seats proved more problematic and were very time consuming. We repaired and replaced the springs and completely redid the seat stuffing with fibre, hair and wadding. However we finished on deadline and both the customers and the owner were delighted with the end result.


The whole thing was a great experience and certainly a good exercise in using vinyl and I was thrilled this week to see that the newly refurbished diner was featured in a 4 page fashion shoot for the Independent Style magazine.
The London Chair Collective. Site by plugthegap, with illustrations by Mark Rafter
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