It turns out that I didn’t have to hold Richard hostage for much more than 15 minutes in the end. Everything came together nicely although I must admit it felt a bit like a race against time in the last hour, but that was purely my own sense of pressure as Richard continued to give me all the support and guidance I needed.
The last day was fitting the top cover and a few new techniques were collected along the way – polyester ‘dacron’ (a thin polyester padding) was added between the top cover and the calico beneath, something I’ve not done before but a great way to add a subtle softness to the feel and even out any very minor imperfections. I also learned about tack-ties, a phrase I had heard a great deal this week but didn’t understand (I had assumed it was some sort of fastening technique!) which turned out to be the vertical indentations you can get around the side of your chair if your tacks are pulling too hard on the fabric. My chairs so far have been full of them but until now I didn’t know that this wasn’t the done thing – I’m on tack-tie watch from this point forward and thankfully I’ve been shown how to sort them out.
Last thing to do was make my double piping for the trim, a quick lesson on warp, weft and bias-cut gave me a few options before setting to work on the industrial 1960’s sewing machine, which had so much power that it’s a wonder my piping doesn’t also include my wristwatch, a bit of jumper and the top of my index finger.
So with everything ‘tacked off’, trim applied and bottoming cloth placed underneath as a finishing touch, it was done! Ta-da!!!!!!!!
This is without a doubt, technically the best thing I have been able to create so far. This week has been not only hugely beneficial but incredibly inspiring, cementing the feeling that this is what I want to do and making it an even stronger aspiration and therefore an even stronger possibility. The danger for me now is that I’m so full of enthusiasm that I just want to take that leap of faith, so I know that the coming days will be agony as the more powerful, reasoned and sensible part of my brain fights against my heart. Maybe there’s a compromise in there somewhere?
I really was sad to leave Tresithick this week, not just because of how much it’s developed me but also because of the people I’ve met……
So I just wanted to thank Lindsey (a talented seamstress who makes blinds and curtains, with the same unhealthy obsession in rubbish old cars as me!), Dawn (just starting out on her course and creating some beautiful pieces already), Penny (owner of an antique shop near Plymouth, brilliant upholsterer and spotter of tack-ties!), Richard (excellent tutor, coach and with the patience of a saint), Sonja (ruthlessly organised, helpful and kept us going with lunches of the highest order), Nadine (not pictured but working as Richard’s second in command and always on hand for expert guidance) and Bella the dog (who kept us amused every break time with pouting looks in the hope of cakes and biscuits), for helping to make my week in Cornwall so bloomin’ brilliant.