Author: SHUpholstery

How hygge is your home?

How hygge is your home? Hygge the Danish principle for living well and happiness, pronounced ‘hoo-gah’. The craze is spreading but no matter how sceptical you may be over the craze the main principles are worth considering. The concept is simple and just about reminding ourselves to appreciate the simple things in life, creating an atmosphere to create a feeling of happiness. Although there is no direct English translation, we have all experienced hygge moments we can relate to. Those memories of family gatherings on Christmas day, candles burning, feasting on festive treats, playing board games. Or on a stormy night, fire roaring, hot drink in your favourite mug, snuggling up in a comfy chair with a great book.

Similarities found with a ‘cwtch’ which we are so familiar with. We often forget its presence and importance in a Welsh home. A place of safety and comfort. The feeling of a warm embrace, providing reassurance with a familiar homely feel.

Your home the main focus for hygge. Considering lighting; Avoiding bright, harsh opting instead for soft lighting. Candles often lighting Danish homes to create a comforting atmosphere. Create warmth by adding throws and blankets to your living space. But don’t stop there incorporate tactile fabrics such as wools and velvets into your upholstered furniture and soft furnishings. Antique and vintage pieces act as a reminder of a bygone era and produce a feeling of nostalgia.

Making a few alterations can make a noticeable difference to the look and feel of a home.


A flair of french chic interior design

Incorporate a flair of French chic interior design into your home. Paris the Mecca for fashion design and the home of the Houlés interior showroom. Replicate the Parisian interior style by draping the luxurious fabric around your home. The quality of the fabric is unmistakeable and I was over the moon to receive my selection of samples.

houles samples

From an eclectic colour range of weaves in the Capri range, to neutral shades in the Canna and Coco range. So inspired by the quality of the Capri range I have incorporated the fabric in nursing chaira number of pieces. Teaming the range with a complementing St Judes print fabric on the back of a nursing chair. Also creating a contemporary look by carver chaircombining contrasting green with a cheeky hint of pink on a carver chair.

However if a tweedy look is what you are looking for the Boston range has that covered.  A woven fabric with a tweed appearance, maintain a sense of tradition with contemporary colours.

Or the Fidji range, a plain fabric with the feel of velvet. For a truly luxurious feel opt for the Eden range of velvets. From vibrant colour choices to more neutral tones. The quality of the fabric is unmistakeable from the look and feel. The one danger in choosing this fabric for your next upholstery project, it could result in creating a piece of furniture you may never want to leave.

Welsh blankets woven with a thread of nostalgia

Recently visited the Melin Tregwynt Mill in Pembrokeshire and I was transported back to fond memories of my childhood. Of a wet winter evening cwtching up on a comfy chair, melin tregwynt wrapped in a welsh blanket, the smell of cawl warming on the stove. To memories of my grandmother’s house with rooms not complete without a welsh blanket or two. Memories that warm your heart.

melin tregwyntThe 100% wool fabric woven on site with a thread of nostalgia. The reworked classic designs incorporating new colours to bring the fabric up to date. With the addition of the more contemporary designs that would complement any home. The tactile quality of the doublecloth blankets creates an irresistible urge to feel the quality. You would be hard pressed to find someone who did not fall in love with one of their designs.

After a walk around the mill, seeing the work involved in the creations, further enhanced my love for the fabric. The history and quality of each piece is clearly melin tregwynt millvisible on all the products on display.

So with my rekindled love for the fabric, it seems destined for the fabric to be incorporated into some of my future pieces.  After all every home needs a hint of nostalgia.

British Abraham Moon fabric

Really excited to receive the diverse range of Moon fabric. The use of 100% wool creates a sense of warmth and comfort.

moon fabric


Abraham Moon fabric founded in 1837, one of the last remaining vertical woollen mills in Great Britain. With a reputation for quality and innovative design. Combining traditional principles with contemporary twists.

The Melton wools provide a range of colours that can be used to create a statement piece or complement other designs when used in combination. The colours range from neutrals through to vibrant colour palettes.

The Parquet pattern of striking combinations of teal, candy and rhubarb blended seamlessly into rich hues and warm neutrals. The end result is perfect for bold, contemporary interiors.

The Dale collection where the colour combinations have been inspired by the natural beauty and colour of the Yorkshire Dales. The collection is split over 2 volumes; ‘Spring’ creating subtle shades of apple, lime, raspberry and stone. ‘Autumn’ including richer combinations of damson, mulberry and walnut.

The Boutique collection, a supreme luxury fabric, woven from pure Merino Lambswool creating a naturally finer feel and softness. A contemporary collection with a mix of chalk stripes, sleek Prince of Wales checks, and stunning plaids. Luxurious colours, fuchsia and blue with striking charcoals and natural hues. Twenty first century designs fused with a touch of Savile Row tradition to bring contemporary living into every home.

Picking the right upholstery fabric

Picking the right upholstery fabric can be a daunting process, but it should be seen as a fun opportunity to express your own taste. When picking the right fabric there are a number of elements that need to be considered with upholstery. The fabric needs to be more durable than the standard dress fabric, ideally with a rub test of 30,000 or more. The other key point is fire retardant, I’ll cover these points in more detail later in this post.

The fabric choice can transform the furniture piece, so it is worth contemplating what fabric would best suit the piece. When choosing a patterned fabric a large print would be more suitable for a large piece of furniture as the print can be lost on smaller items.

If choosing striped fabric keep in mind that horizontal stripes create an illusion of widening and vertical stripes elongate the piece. In some cases this illusion can be applied to visually enhance a piece.

Plain fabrics can often be as effective in creating a dramatic finish but are often overlooked. It is worth considering a range of colours from complementing to contrasting. The intended use of the piece is important as if the intended use is for heavy use a durable fabric will be required, also worth noting that a long pile fabric may not be suitable as it will flatten over time.

picking the right upholstery fabric

1960s easy chair

Ideally you consider the piece of furniture and the desired look. Whether you want to stay true to the piece or create a completely different look. An example of this is the 1960’s easy chair previously mentioned on the website. I wanted to maintain the 1960’s feel so opted for a fabric that was reminiscent of the era. Choosing a yellow fabric with a slight warm tone to avoid an acidic appearance but keeping a brightness.

So have fun with picking the fabric, as having a piece of furniture upholstered is an opportunity to put your own stamp on a piece.


For those who require more information regarding abrasion test. I have created a quick outline:

Thread count refers to the number of threads in a square inch of a fabric. The higher the thread count the closer the weave is in the fabric. A thread count of 150 is considered low. For upholstery use a recommended thread count would be 400 to ensure durability. When working with deep buttoned furniture it is more desirable to use a fabric with a high thread count as it creates far better results.

A rub test confirms the durability of a fabric. A sample of the fabric is placed in a martindale machine and rubbed in a circular motion, the test ends when two threads break or there is a noticeable change in appearance. A guide for recommended uses based on a rub test are:

Decorative – less than 10,000 rubs

Light domestic – 10,000 to 15,000 rubs

General domestic – 15,000 to 25,000 rubs

Heavy duty domestic – 25,000 to 30,000 rubs

Commercial grade – 30,000 plus rubs

To ensure a durability to reupholstered furniture it is advisable to be cautious and recommend only fabric of 30,000 rubs plus unless it is a surface that is not going to come into contact with wear such as a back of a chair.

Colourfastness to light

Colourfastness test measure the colour permanence of a fabric when exposed to UV light. The test results are graded as follows:

Grade 5 – no fading

Grade 4 – slight fading

Grade 1 – a high degree of fading

For upholstery use it is recommended to use a fabric with a minimum grading of 4, irrelevant of the final use.

Flammability in compliance with The Furniture and Furnishings(Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (as amended in 1989 and 1993)


As a rule it is advisable that the chosen fabric is fit for purpose, has a rub test of 30,000 rubs plus, a thread count approximately 400 with a colour fade grade 4-5. In order to assure fire safety a barrier cloth is advised unless working with antique furniture and the requirement is to retain the historic process.

The benefit of traditional stitched upholstery

tradtional stitched upholstery


Traditional upholstery maintains a historic craft and a long standing tradition, to create a result that cannot be replicated with modern techniques. Unlike modern upholstery techniques, traditional upholstery utilises traditional materials and techniques to create the form of a piece. Using hair or coconut fibre encased in scrim as a filler. The material is then stitched to compress the filler to create firm rigid forms. The techniques provide comfort and avoids the need for wood blocks to create height and shape. The craft has been developed over years to ensure a technique that is durable and long standing.
There are various traditional techniques applied to upholstery to create a firm angled corner. Stephanie Harris Upholstery utilises a stitched corner to create a firm, well defined corner. The benefit of stitching a corner provides structural support to prolong the life and shape of a piece. The upholstery technique creates a firm base and guide for the stitches to follow.
The following stitches vary depending on the required shapes and results. There are a range of stitching techniques that are applied to sculpt the filling to the desired shape. Just like a sculptor the piece is transformed into a practical art form, with each stitch having a purpose.
Different stitches create various result, they are chosen depending on their purpose and use. A blind stitch or edge stitch creates additional support without compressing the top too much and at the same time creates a firm wall of support along the sides. Alternative stitches can create a firm wall along the side but also on the top surface. Creating a sturdy, firm foundation. Ideally suited for a seat to maintain the shape. Finishing the rows of stitching with a firm roll stitch, that is the defining skill of a traditional upholsterers technique. This stitch creates a firm roll along the edge to create a firm form, providing the support required to maintain the form. Ideally suited for firm crisp edges.
The final result is a piece that maintains a long standing tradition, comfort and durability. If well maintained the piece can be passed down through generations, creating a family heirloom.

The seven stages of a traditional upholstered sprung chair


Stephanie Harris upholstery specialise in the craft of a traditional upholstered chair, using time honoured techniques and materials,  to create a classic furniture piece that is durable and can even be passed through generations. The skilled process is time consuming and built up over stages.

original frame of a chairThe first stage stripes the chair back to its original skeleton frame. The frame restored to its original beauty to ensure a sturdy base for the upholstery. Each stage taking a respectful approach to the piece applying techniques in keeping with its age.

webbing and springs on a dining chairThe second stage applies webbing to the underside of the seat and springs stitched in place. The springs lashed and strung to the frame to ensure stability. Stephanie Harris upholstery provide the options of British and Continental lashing techniques based on the clients requirements.

To create the shape of the seat coconut fibre is sandwiched between tarpaulin and hessian. Alternative option of linen scrim and hair can be provided for the finer antique pieces. The filling is regulated to create the basic shape as the seat starts to take form. It is only when the upholstery stitches are applied that the defined shape is visible and becomes rigid. This third stage sculpts the seat into the tradtional stitched coir layerrequired shape echoing the form of the chair, using both British and Continental techniques.

hair and skin waddingThe fourth stage creates comfort by applying a hair layer. This layer is evenly regulated and held in place with stitches. To increase the comfort of the seat a fifth layer is applied over the hair using either cotton felt or skin wadding.

The sixth stage creates a barrier between the upholstered material and the top cover fabric. Barrier cloth is applied to create a smooth finish on the seat. A layer of dacron is applied before the seventh stage to reduce friction against the top fabric. The seventh stage is the application of the top cover fabric and any required trimmings.

stephanie harris upholstery sprung dining chairThe final result being a smooth, comfortable, durable piece that maintains a sense of history and craft.