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Welcome to Virtual Vintique: Upholstery Uncovered

March has been a manic month. In fact, I have barely stopped for breath since the start of 2021. Behind the scenes, I’ve been bringing to life my very own online guide. Virtual Vintique: Upholstery Uncovered is my take on everything you need to know if you’re considering pursuing upholstery as a new hobby or even thinking about a career in it. It’s EVERYTHING I wish I’d known before I got started.

How to get going, which projects to tackle, how to build your confidence and whether to sign up for a course can be a minefield! I felt exactly the same when I began my training over 10 years ago. I knew I had an idea to transform furniture, but I didn’t have the first idea how to make it HAPPEN! All that time ago there were very few training centres. Today there are hundreds of classes – including a plethora of advice and resources online. It’s overwhelming.

Sharon O'Connor filming for Virtual Vintique

My first steps into upholstery

You possibly know my story already. I’d lost the job I had in fashion when the recession hit in 2008, which led to me moving out of London to Teddington. Furnishing the place on a tight budget, I managed to pick up a beautiful, old 1960s Guy Rogers day bed on eBay, which I decided to get re-upholstered.

And that was it! I saw a future in upholstery. There was something about that process of transformation that lit a spark in me. Of course, the next step was to do my research. What is upholstery, how and where should I train? Am I cut out for this very detailed, but at the same time, physical craft? Shortly afterwards, I enrolled on a course with the Association of Master Upholsterers in Kendal. By the end of the first week, I was stuffed full of ambition. And well, the rest is history. But I made expensive mistakes with my training as I went in blind.

“This guide is for anyone that has even a passing passion for reinventing furniture.”

Perhaps you’re in the same position I was… You’ve lost your job or even lost your way, and you’re wondering whether a new pastime or a new career could get you back on track? This guide is for anyone that has even a passing passion for reinventing furniture. It goes right back to basics and unravels those most simple questions you really want to ask.

Sharon O'Connor holding reupholstery tool in workshop

Sharon O'Connor reupholstering an armchair in workshop

Taking things back to basics

I’m not going to lie, putting this guide together was a challenge in itself. In the last three months, I’ve discovered a whole new world of digital knowledge that I never knew existed. But the thing is, barely a day goes by when I don’t get an email or a DM from an upholstery novice asking a question or wanting to find out more. I knew I HAD to help.

So, let’s be clear. This is not a technical course. I’m not going to be teaching you upholstery or taking you step-by-step through a project. This is purely and simply advice on how to get into upholstery. It’s a series of videos, plus downloadable information sheets full of hints, tips, links and resources on topics such as how to shop for your essential toolkit and a brief history of furniture design. I hope you’ll get loads of valuable insights and information from it.

Upholstery tape in workshop

Who is this guide for?

  • You already enjoy finding old pieces of furniture and doing them up yourself
  • You’re confident about painting and basic upcycling but you don’t know whether you have what it takes to tackle the upholstery side of it
  • You’re considering doing an upholstery training course but you’re unsure which route is the best to take – a leisure course, an accredited course, part-time or full time? What will suit your ambitions and get you where they need to go
  • You think you may have an eye for design but not sure what other skills you need to master upholstery
  • You’ve got as far as you can go with books, online tutorials etc. How do you take the next step in your upholstery ‘education’ without wasting time or money?
  • You’re at a life/career crossroad. Maybe you’ve just lost your job or you’re in need of a lifestyle change. Could upholstery be a new hobby or even a job for life?

If you can say yes to one or more of the above, this guide is for YOU.

Sharon O'Connor sat up upholstered yellow sofa

As well as sharing my knowledge in this guide, I’ve set up a free, private Facebook group to share questions, tips and general chatter about upholstery. I do hope you’ll sign up and join me with Virtual Vintique: Upholstery Uncovered. And most of all, I hope that you’ll end up loving upholstery as much as I do. It’s challenging, fulfilling – and let’s not forget, it’s actually really important in these environmentally conscious times.

Sign up now and take the first step towards seeing if learning upholstery could be for you at a special EARLY BIRD PRICE of £99, available until March 24th.

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