What is the best way to learn a new skill?
It really depends on who you ask. Some people learn best by reading, others by listening to instruction and watching videos, and many others believe attending a class live and in person only way to learn.
It’s a fact, everyone learns differently. And while hands-on upholstery training is undoubtedly a great way to learn, it is not necessarily the easiest or best way for everyone. To some it is simply not even an option.
One thing is for certain…Learning how to reupholster furniture is not a quick easy task. But it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. So to make sure you get the most value and return out of your efforts, you will want to keep the following advice in mind.
If you are going to invest your hard earned money, and spend your valuable time traveling to attend a hands-on upholstery training class (which I recommend doing if you can!), I strongly suggest that you do this first!
Why you should watch upholstery training videos before taking a class
Let’s say you decide to attend a 3 to 5-day upholstery workshop. You could easily spend $600 to $1,000 or more just to reserve a spot. Then if you have to travel, you could expect to add up to another $525 for transportation, lodging, and food. A worthwhile investment. To some it has even been a life changing experience!
But after the money is spent, the anticipation is over, and you finally arrive for the your first exciting day of the workshop, you realize something is a little off. Everyone is showing up with all their furniture, supplies, fabrics, and tools, but you are a little short on a few things. Then you find out you bought some of the wrong stuff. Now you realize you didn’t really understand some of the information in the description of the class. And oh no! You thought the supply list you were given before the workshop began was simple and made perfect sense, but now you are sure you made a mistake. Embarrassment sets in.
What the heck happened? Well leading up to the class, maybe you were a little too shy to ask what something was. Maybe you thought you could just search online and figure it out on your own. But now you realize the mistake. And it takes away some of the joy you were feeling initially.
Based on a true story:
Let’s say you are taking taking a furniture reupholstering workshop with Kim’s Upholstery. On the morning of day 1, you are going to learn to install your support system, tie springs, and add burlap. Oh the fun! You find that Kim is very good at explaining and demonstrating this process. She shows you how to place and anchor your springs to the webbing and then tie twine into a clove hitch knot to secure the springs to each other and the chair.
You begin. So does the trouble. As soon as Kim moves on to help another student you forget what she just showed you. You start to struggle. You call Kim over to show you again how to tie “The Knot”.
Now you’ve got it! Or maybe not. You tie a few knots and you begin to have some doubts. Everyone else in the class seems to be moving right along. You think to yourself, “Come on, it’s just a simple clove hitch. I can’t believe I can’t do this. Did I just waste an hour and a half? I should have watched the springing a chair video before I arrived.”
Lunchtime comes and goes and all other attendees are ready to create and attach their decks. You’re still finishing up with your springs. You think, “Wow I need to hustle a little and I should be able to catch up with everyone soon.”
Kim gathers everyone to point out the different parts of a chair frame and explains where and how we will attach the decking material to the frame. She explains that we will be attaching the deck to the top of the bottom rail just under the side and backs slats/stretcher bars. She points out the front arm post and the back leg posts that we will need to cut around and demonstrate the process of creating the deck and attaching it to the frame.
Everyone gets back to their chairs and starts adding their decks. You still have a few minutes left to finish tying springs.
The instructor offers to help finish tying your springs and to help sew your deck so you can get caught up with the group.
You finally finished with your springs. A weight has been lifted! But you still feel a little stressed that you are behind in the learning curve. Kim has shown everyone all the parts of the chair frame and told everyone what they are called. Now you only have to cut around the..? What board was it? You need to tuck the fabric under, hmmm. Staple it where? What were those boards called again?
At the end of day 1, you ask other students that seemed to breeze through the day’s teachings how they caught on so easily. They all said they prepared for the class by watching videos on the Kim’s Upholstery website. Because of that, they knew ahead of time what the process would be. They each practiced what they could on their own and knew what they really needed help with by the time they got to the workshop.
Then you remember. Kim did tell you to watch the training videos before coming to the workshop. Oops! She said they would help you prepare for what you were going to learn at her upholstery workshop. That it would enhance the upholstery learning process. Kim also mentioned that her videos would help each person attending any instructor’s workshop. In fact, just seeing how to tear down a chair and learning the terminology for all the parts would put anyone ahead of the game.
Well, day one is over. Phew. Guess what you are going to be doing this evening? Watching an instructional video! And you will even be able to pause, slow down and rewind. What a fabulous way to learn.
Word to the wise though… Be careful whose upholstery videos you watch. You don’t actually glue the fabric to the frame.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day!