Completed Eero Saarinen Womb chair


Reupholstery



Modern Furniture Design incorporated simplification of form and framing, and often required hand-stitched fabric or leather in better quality pieces.  Machine sewing could not be used in these pieces.  The quality of the upholstery work shows in every stitch.  Good craftsmanship is apparent in hand-stitched leather or fabric sewing, by the tight and even stitching,  and lack of creases or wrinkles. Saddle stitching is a decorative stitching used mostly in leather upholstery, with two or three lines of parallel stitches around seam, that requires superb alignment skills by the reupholsterer, and special double needle machines, for fine reupholstery work. Requires tight draping and stitching, especially if highly flexible original fabric is not used to recover the chair.

The Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair

 

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chairs were mostly introduced in the 1960's, and were upholstered primarily with latex foam rubber.  Due to the limited life of foam rubber, these rarely have original foam rubber padding, and if they do, the padding is now hard and lumpy, and in need of reupholstery.

 

Yelp Review Olek on Media Olek online Store

MODERN FURNITURE REUPHOLSTERY BY
OLEK LEJBZON Co. Of NYC

 

Our meticulous craftsmen furniture reupholstery as  originally designed, to keep the comfort they were designed to have. We can furnish vintage fabrics for truly one-of-a-kind unique  pieces, that are not available anywhere else.  We have available unused Danish and German inventories  of fabrics , from the Panton era, Eames era, Pop Art and other fabrics that  are in perfect condition.  These vintage fabrics are available in limited quantities to reupholster your furniture for pieces no one else can own. 

 

Hand-Stitching, Saddle-Stitching, and Simplification of Form

 

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair  before reupholstering Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair padding stripped to the single-piece bent tubular steel frame

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair  before reupholstering

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair stripped to the single-piece bent tubular steel frame



Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair reupholstered, possible only with foam rubber padding

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair reupholstered, possible only with foam rubber padding

 



Pierre Paulin Tongue Model 577 Pierre Paulin Orange Slice Model 437

Pierre Paulin Tongue Model 577

Pierre Paulin Orange Slice Model 437



Pierre Paulin Tulip Chair Model 545 Pierre Paulin Ribbon Model 582

Pierre Paulin Tulip Chair Model 545

Pierre Paulin Ribbon Model 582



Arne Jacobsen designed Egg Chair





Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair stripped of upholstery, down to urethane foam and cotton padding.



Egg Chair Cotton Padding



Arne Jacobsen Egg with Leather draped and pinned during reupholstering




Stretching the leather over the Egg interior is critically important to a fine job





Mid Century Modern furniture


Natural Latex Foam Rubber, and the development of Modern Furniture Designs

Another innovation of modern furniture reupholstering was the invention of perforated natural latex foam rubber in the 1950s.  Although invented decades before, natural latex foam rubber was not usable until perforated for the flow of air, carrying away perspiration.  It replaced coil springs and horsehair and cotton padding, and could be applied in very thin supportive and resilient layers, to attain innovative designs that could not have been done with traditional upholstery techniques. Natural Latex Foam Rubber can last for 50 years or more in a dry environment.  In the 1960’s manufacturers developed inexpensive synthetic urethane foam rubbers, with expected lives of 2 -30 years. When hand-stitched labor is required to reupholster the chair, the longer life of the more costly natural latex foam rubber becomes more sensible.

 

Before the invention of perforated natural latex foam rubber in the early 1950’s, most contemporary upholstery padding consisted of a platform of coil springs tied together, with horsehair, Spanish moss, coconut matting, and cotton padding.  Art Deco Club Chairs had coil-sprung backs, loose cushions, and seat platforms, and are quite complicated to reupholster.

 

French Art Deco Club Chairs before reupholstering Chair being reupholstered showing spring platforms before padding

French Art Deco Club Chairs before reupholstering

Chair being reupholstered showing spring platforms before padding



Art Deco Club Chair after reupolstery  

Art Deco Club Chair after reupolstery

 



Leather, Top Grain Quality

The quality of leather is critically important for Contemporary Furniture, and determines the life of the upholstery.  The quality is determined by the manufacturing, or tanning process.  Leather is split into three layers:

 

Top Grain (also top quality), showing the hair follicles, often dyed rather than stained, never “filled”, this is the best quality of leather, the top layer of the full grain hide, that should last 30 – 40 years. If the manufacturer does not state that the leather is top grain, it is an inferior quality. Vintage modern designer furniture always used top grain leather. The same manufacturers today often substitute the inferior Mid Grain leather in its place. The thickness of the hide, and tanning process affect the life and hand of the leather.

 

Mid Grain, or “filled” (is 2nd quality), known by many other inventive descriptions, this leather is the bulk of what is sold on furniture today, and can last 10-20 years. This leather is the middle layer of the full grain hide of the cow. It is generally imprinted by heavy rollers, or embossed, to show a natural-appearing grain pattern, sometimes even with hair follicle imitations. Difficult for a non-expert to see what one is getting.

 

Skiver the bottom layer of the full grain hide, it used to be for desktops, books, or other minimally-wearing surfaces, is used today mostly in Brazilian or cheap Asian furniture, and can be expected to stretch out and break on seating surfaces in 2 – 5 years.  It characteristically develops “inexplicable” breaks, without even stretching out first. No manufacturer, distributor, or retailer will ever admit using skiver. It is always embossed and disguised to look like a better quality leather. Without a warranty of leather life, there is no recourse to the retailer or manufacturer.


Some designers of Upholstered Furniture used the Leather for structural support, using Full Grain leather, as in the Wassily arm chair Model B3 designed by Marcel Breuer.

 

Milo Baugnman Ehh Chair being reupholsted:



Milo Baughmann Egg Chair stripped fabric before reupholstering Milo Baughmann Egg Chair with padding applied

Milo Baughmann Egg Chair with padding applied

Fiberglass chairs shell



Milo Baughman- Maurice Villency  Egg Chair reupholstered

Milo Baughman- Maurice Villency Egg Chair reupholstered

 



Hand stitched chairs, including various designs by Arne Jacobsen (Egg Chair & Swan Chair) manufactured by Fritz Hansen, Hans Wegner, and others

 

Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair before reupholstery Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair after reupholstery

Original upholstery circa 1958

Recoverd and padding replaced



Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair hand stitching Swan Chair hand stitched seams

Arne Jacobsen Swan Chair hand stitching

Swan Chair hand stitched seams



Hans Wegner Momma Bear Chair Reupholstering, Model AP 28

Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chairs before reupholstery Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chair during reupholstery

Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chairs before reupholstering

Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chair during reupholstering



Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chair after reupholstery Wegner- Mama Bear chair recovered

Hans Wegner- Mama Bear chair after reupholstering

Wegner- Mama Bear chair recovered



Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair Recovering- Model AP19

The entire back and arms of this classic armchair are hand-sewn

 

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair before reupholstery Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair during reupholstery, showing seat and back platforms

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair before reupholstering

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair during reupholstering, showing seat and back platforms



Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair after reupholstering Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair with hand-sewn seams, reupholstered

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair after reupholstering

Hans Wegner Papa Bear Chair with hand-sewn seams, reupholstered





Modern Furniture Reupholstery Project Gallery (Click on items to see progress photos)



            Pierre Paulin Ribbon Chair                                                    Eero Aarnio Swan Chair



             Herman Miller Eames Sofa                                                Cassina Sofa Reupholstering



        Replace Pirelli Rubber Webbing                                    L'Atelier Jacaranda Reupholster & Repair


Exotic Leathers

Exotic leather hides, including  hair-on pony or cow hides, or zebra printed pony skin, manta ray, ostrich, deer skin, and others are available.

 





Zebra printed cow hide chairs, ottoman                                         Mid Century Modern Armchair



  Eames Lounge Reupholstery for Mod Restoration