Iron Back Odyssey October 16, 2015 10:27

Six Covers?


Helen has taken on some of our most daunting projects; specialising in conservation as well as upholstery.  The Regency chair and Splendid Victorian armchair are testimony to her skills.

Her latest adventure brought some unexpected surprises!

A small Victorian chair in dire need of a makeover caught my eye.  It was covered in a typical green / gold brocade but the rounded shape and a quick squeeze let me know it was an ironback (frame made of iron rather than wood). 

I had never upholstered one so excitedly snapped it up.

 In the workshop the strip down revealed the chair had had some very fussy owners in the past.  As the discard pile of the covers began to mount up, so did an intriguing range of fabric styles and taste. 

The brocade came off with a few slip stitches to hold it in place.  AYE AYE - another completely intact cover just underneath.  Usually, there are bits of the original cover as the upholsterer repairs dents and bruises to the stuffing but not here.

The second cover was a more contemporary looking cover also in green / cream maybe 1930s/40s.

Again, a few slip stitches were removed and  the third reveal was a more formal parlour set piece with a regency style satin cover.

And so it went:

Fourth reveal:  a comforting fairly battered red chenille.

Fifth reveal: Very faded but beautiful patterned damask -

I  thought I had finally found the original cover as this cover held the deep buttoning was in place. BUT....

Lo and behold another and final Sixth Reveal:  However, this was just the back of the chair as the deep buttoning had obviously had been abandoned on that second re-cover.  

Another highly patterned once very colourful damask. 

Finally, down to  the original stuffing and stitched edge and finally the skeleton of the chair in all its glory (to me at any rate) was revealed.

So various owners? or maybe the same family lovingly keeping on the old lady but updating her each generation?

I have  a similar ironback that belonged to my grandmother Little Granny - with its original plush - very worn but still holds its own by the fire. 

Now the rebuild begins – my first iron back chair. More photos to follow