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Correspondence Courses in Upholstery: Course Descriptions

Given the hands-on nature of the art of upholstery, vocational schools rarely offer online courses in the trade. However, some schools do offer online courses that cover some of the related skills needed to upholster furniture. Various websites and organizations also provide information regarding upholstering skills and techniques.

Online Upholstery Courses

Here is a sample of online courses related to upholstery.

  • Textiles Course: Students learn about both the man-made and natural fibers used in upholstery. Included is a discussion of the nature of various textiles and their design, manufacture and aesthetic applications. The structures of the yarns, fibers and fabrics used in the textile fiber classification system are also covered, along with characteristics like fiber content, surface treatments and embellishments. Material considerations like performance features, aesthetics, comfort and maintenance are also considered.
  • Upholstery Overview Course: Students will learn about the origins and history of the upholstery craft in this course. The basic components of the upholstery of domestic furniture covered include furniture frames, spring systems, padding and fills, cushions and fabrics. Other types of upholstery, including automobile, marine and commercial, are also discussed. An overview of upholstery-related tools, materials and skills is included.
  • Residential Upholstery Course: This course discusses how to make repairs and recover most types of domestic furniture. Instruction on repairing and tying springs, installing or replacing webbing, cutting material around frames and safely using a nail gun is provided. Students learn to implement specific features like pleats, diamond tufts or buttons, as well as how to make skirts, cover arms and fashion slipcovers. Typically, instruction on how to square corners, insert zippers and sew cushions by hand is also provided.
  • Auto Upholstery Course: Skills and techniques needed for automobile upholstery are the focus of this course. Students learn to rebuild automobile seats, often including how to cut, sew and cover seats, whether they're bench, bucket or boxed style. Upholstering door and trim panels, headrests and sun visors are discussed, along with installing convertible tops. Working with a block and injected mold foam is also commonly covered.
  • Tools of the Upholstery Trade Course: This course covers the identification and operation of tools and machinery typically used in an upholstery shop, including an industrial sewing machine, staple gun, heat gun, steamer, and foam cutter. The shop configuration and types of buildings that can effectively house an upholstery shop, as well as fixtures, such as a cutting table, are also discussed.
  • Theory of Dyeing Course: In this course, students learn about the thermodynamic principles underpinning the dyeing process for textiles, including upholstery materials. Students learn how dyes diffuse through textiles to confer color.
  • Brand Management Course: This course prepares aspiring upholstery professionals for success in the global textiles business. Students learn how economic, social and political factors affect the global textile market, and how this information can be used to develop successful marketing strategies.

Program Information

Certificates and associate-level degrees related to upholstery are available from community and vocational schools, but online upholstery courses from accredited institutions are hard to come by. However, online courses covering relevant concepts are available on topics like furniture history, furniture design and textiles. These may lead to a master's degree or a graduate certificate.

Several websites and individuals offer upholstery education via correspondence, some of which include written materials and DVDs. These are not courses from accredited institutions. Students should be sure to determine whether individual courses fulfill their specific educational purposes, whether they be purely informational or for professional recognition in the field.

Individuals who want to pursue online studies related to upholstery can find courses that focus specifically on different types of upholstery, as well as broader courses related to the textile industry.

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