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Topics - crammage

Pages: [1]
General Discussion / Decisions and their unexpected consequences
« on: March 13, 2015, 11:16:23 AM »
Last fall I posted the question about whether to continue my upholstery business or not since it is a part time gig and was getting way busier than I wanted to be. 

I decided at that time to raise prices and see how it went.   Well, it just continued to get busier so I decided to cut back dramatically, finish out the quotes and existing customer requests and get on with life.  Maybe do a few pillows or cushions once in a while but that was going to be it.
I proceeded to tell the designers that use our services and those whom I had quote jobs for, was that the best course of action?

I am busier now then ever!  I am booked through the end of summer and new people are calling every week.  I  turn down every new customer that calls.  Every quote I had outstanding seems to be coming back as an order, didn't think that I had that many out but I was wrong.

The good news is that this will pay for my daughters senior year of college! 

I tell my customers that they need to be patient with me and I'll get to things as I get to them. 

General Discussion / Tipping point
« on: December 18, 2013, 10:14:09 AM »
Ok guys I need some advice.  I'm at the point in my small part time business that I need to make a decision on how to proceed.  I'm swamped with work!!  It's been like this for six months.  My part time gig has really become another full time job and I can't keep up the pace for much longer.    I was suppose to take the month of December off so I could regroup before the new year, Ha, that didn't happen.  I'm already booked through Feb, where are these people coming from and how are they finding out about me?

Anyway, here's my question, I need to decide how I want to proceed with my business:
   1. Go full time - not an option, I make too much at my regular job with great benefits, this was just a hobby.
   2. Quit upholstery all together - possible and with feeling overwhelmed right now more tempting then ever!
   3. Select a few repeat customers (designers) and exclusively do work for them which would be plenty but not overwhelming.
   4. Continue on current pace until something changes - either collapsing from exhaustion or business tapers off or raising my pricing so no one wants to use me! 

Just throwing it out there for some of your excellent advice!


General Discussion / supplier for Maharam Wafer fabric
« on: October 15, 2013, 02:21:04 PM »
Anyone know a good supplier for Maharam Wafer fabric.  I need it in Jet (black) and my normal supplier is out.  Got one quote for $15.00 over what Maharam lists it on their web page for, what's that about?

Any help would be appreciated.  Only need 4 yards.


General Discussion / stretchy fabric
« on: October 03, 2013, 02:04:09 PM »
Ok, I'm having all sorts of issues with the fabric I'm currently working with for 10 parsons chairs with skirts.  It is a Robert Allen fabric and very expensive according to the designer that supplied it. 

The fabric stretches a lot.  For instance, the relaxes width of the fabric is 50" from selvedge to selvedge but easily extends 2-3" if you pull on one side and hold the other. 

My biggest issue is with the skirts.  I cut to the size I think I need and then end up after sewing with 1- 1.5 extra inches.  When I attach the skirts I start with the center, match the pattern and then pull the ends to where I think they're stretched about equal to the bottom, staple and install.

Fortunately the fabric responds well to steaming so I can sort out an wrinkles in the skirting pretty easily but what fussy stuff to work with.  It is also hard to keep the pattern consistent on the seat and back.  I center the seat fabric, attach to the front then start the sides and after a few staples have to come back to the front, adjust because the lines are no longer straight, shift the fabric around put in a few staples, check, repeat, repeat, repeat....

It's just taking longer to do these chairs due to the fabric than I originally estimated.

Here's some pictures of the fabric, 1. this is the relaxed cut piece, 2. this is after rubbing my hand across it a few times.  It stretched 1/2 inch just by rubbing my hand over it.  I did find that ironing the fabric helps to set it a little but I don't want to iron 40 yards of fabric!    :D


General Discussion / Bobbin thread, what bobbin thread!
« on: July 03, 2013, 05:20:30 PM »
Ok, funny thing happened last night while I was sewing 10 yards of double welting.  I cut the strips, sew them together and then start sewing the double welting, which I don't enjoy by the way, but has to be done.  So I check periodically as it's coming from under the needle and everything looks good.  Finally get to the end and start checking the work and noticed that on the end there wasn't any bobbin thread.  I thought I must have run out of thread in the bobbin and didn't notice.  So I started looking at the underside of the welting to see where it stopped, just kept looking until I got the beginning.  I sewed the whole lot without the bobbin thread working. 

don't ask me how that worked, my first thought was the slip clutch was popped but it was fine.  Rather than having this great relief of being finished I had to start over.  fortunately it went a little faster the second time around since the fabric was preformed, shall we say, to the double welting cord.

Everything worked fine the second time, by the way.  Not sure why the bobbin thread decided to stay in the bobbin the first go around, just wasn't in the mood I guess, it worked fine just a few seconds before that.    :D

General Discussion / Finished project
« on: May 23, 2013, 10:24:32 AM »
A while back sofadoc posted about a chair he recovered using 7 different fabric types.   It made me think of a project I've been working on for a long time, the quilted chair!  I finally finished it after a 1 1/2 years working on it.


I've been saving fabric scraps for years to do this to a chair.  This happens to be the first chair I ever recovered some 28 years ago.  It was time for a redo. 

I took scraps and quilted them into this using various types of quilting styles.  Don't ask my why I did this it was just something in my head, scary I know.

The whole chair was made from left over scraps from various projects over the years, even the welting, I just pieces it together.  One thing about quilted fabrics is they have challenges around curves and pleating!

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

General Discussion / Need advice on covering back of sofa
« on: February 25, 2013, 12:26:59 PM »
Here's the quick story on this, I'm now the third person to have this Duncan Phyfe style loveseat to reupholster.  The first man died unexpectedly, the second after attempting it decided it was too much for him and then it came to me.

I've gotten the wood frame pieces fixed and the frame reassembled.  Honestly the piece has been used and abused more than any piece I've worked on before.  It has a mix of old and new wood trim pieces replaced and redesigned frame work and legs.  Fun and challenging project.   :D

Here's the assembled piece.

Now here's my question, how would you cover this back?


I was thinking of filling in between the support slats with foam and then covering with dacron.  The finished product would bulge out and I'm not sure I would like how it looks. 
The customer just wants it done at this point in the most cost effective manner since they already have a lot of money and even more time waiting for this piece. 

I'm open to any ideas.


General Discussion / Handy work table
« on: December 13, 2012, 09:34:38 AM »
Having a very small shop flexibility in usage is a key for any surfaces that I use.  One of the tables that I use all the time is this old hospital serving tray.  It is heavy duty, on casters and is adjustable in height.  As you can see in the picture it works great on chairs with arms that you need to turn upside down to work on the bottom.  It's small enough to fit between the arms and the chair sits level and secure. 

I bought the table at a garage sale for $1.00 thinking it might be useful but was quite surprised by how much I use it.  It is also great for a small side table when I'm working on a piece to keep tools and other supplies on so they are nice and handy.


I'm thinking of making a vinyl cover for it to prevent scratching any finished wood surfaces but havent' gotten to that yet.

Just thought I'd share this with you guys.


General Discussion / Heavy weight material
« on: September 13, 2012, 02:22:28 PM »
Ok, I'm working on these two chairs for a designer.  I've been waiting on the fabric for the back cushions (there are three different fabrics in the finished chairs) and she brought it over yesterday.  I started working with it and it is the thickest and heaviest material I've ever worked with.  Four layers of the fabric barely fit under my presser foot (cording plus top and back of cushion) and it have to work it really carefully to keep all the layers together. 

It is also very difficult to cut, need to have very sharp scissors and strong hands!

Now to my issue, I think because the weight of the fabric is so much that the back cushions just don't sit well.  They are bunching up in the curves where the cushion comes over the arm.  I also think it's because the stuffing is the soft fiber fill stuff so it doesn't have much body.  I started to fill in the corners and edges with some dacron that has some good body to it and that seems to help.

The "JUNK" Room / New way to hold stuffing
« on: March 15, 2011, 11:13:42 AM »
I never thought about using masking tape to hold cotton stuffing in place but someone else did.  Found it under the green naugahyde.


The "GREEN" Room! / Simple project - unusual covering choice
« on: December 21, 2010, 08:08:15 AM »
So I had one of my customers give me a project a while back.  I drive over to her place and she shows me a bench frame, very low to the ground, and then hands me two buckets of old fur coats, fur hides, and misc fur stuff.  Then she says have fun and be creative.

fortunately she's a good customer and she gives me complete freedom to come up with new designs.  She owns a couple of stores and resells most of the items I do for her.

Here's the results: 


General Discussion / Eastman style snowmobile seat
« on: December 07, 2010, 11:33:00 AM »
I have a client that has asked me to create an Eastman style snowmobile seat.  He's an engineer so he's give me the exact profile and mock up that he wants.

My question has to do with what foam to use.  Since we are building this from scratch I'm not sure the best type and density to use.  He does plan on using the snowmobile in vintage races.

Any suggestions?


General Discussion / Lots of Work
« on: November 12, 2010, 12:37:48 PM »
To give a little info about myself, I started a part time upholstery and furniture repair business about five years ago here in Delano, MN.  I also work a full time job, fortunately I've been working from home over the last year after my employer closed the office I worked out of.  that saved me 10 hours of commuting every week.   :D

 I been doing about 10 upholstery/repair pieces a year, not a lot but enough to keep up the skills and learn new ones and pay off a few bills.

However, all that has changed over the last few months.  I'm literally working TWO full time jobs right now.  Every day this week I've had someone call about another job.  And they are a mix of things, snowmobile seats, sofas, chairs, golf carts, truck seats, pillows, etc.

I don't really advertise, besides business cards at a couple of stores. 

I'm extremely happy about the work but I'm starting to get real tired.  :o

Just thought I'd share this little bit of good news.  If this keeps up I may have to make a career change. 

The "GREEN" Room! / Redesigned Club Chair
« on: October 26, 2010, 08:22:15 AM »
I had a customer who wanted to change her 1930's club chair into something more shell like with a higher back and two different kinds of fabric.

Here's the before picture.

Here's the after.

Hopefully she'll like it.


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