If you're serious about learning to upholster like a pro, you can learn quite a lot from Heather Luke's extremely comprehensive guide. Step by step, Luke takes us from the raw beginnings (the stripped-down wooden framework) through the inner workings (webbing, springs, horsehair, and batting) to the selection, handling, cutting, and attachment of fabric, as well as the elegant finishing details. She reupholsters chairs, stools, headboards, cushions, dressing tables, screens, even glorious tented ceilings, all with thorough directions supported by clear color photos. Despite the excellence of this volume, however, it is not for the faint of heart: although there are chapters with easier projects like slipcovers and fabric-lined baskets and boxes, this is mostly a guide for the dedicated upholsterer-in-training. But since hiring a professional reupholsterer gets pretty costly, can take weeks of lead-time, and may not result in exactly the look you want, perhaps it makes sense to try it yourself. And for dedicated students of upholstery arts, this is a fantastic resource--one they shouldn't do without. --Amy Handy
This book is beautiful and has good basic information, but after taking a beginner upholstery class, I realized that this book is a bit outdated. While it tells the reader to use a tack hammer and tacks, my teacher showed me how to use a staple gun! Much faster and easier to handle. Also, foam and dacron are much easier than horsehair and some of the materials listed in the book.
This is the only upholstery book I own - and with it, I have upholstered every piece of furniture in my house! The author has instructions for all of the basics of upholstery while focused on specific projects. She has 4 or 5 types of dining chairs, 4 or 5 types of arm chairs, ottomans, sofas, slipcovers, all kinds of furniture - even headboards! All with great step-by-step color photos.
No upholstery book is going to have a picture of the couch in your livingroom. This book is designed to be a resource so you can use her directions for the arm on Chair 3 and the back on Sofa 2. This book is not a decorating book. If you want decorating ideas, buy another book. This is a great how-to-book for the basics of upholstery.
If you are basically handy and have an attitude that 'It can't be that complicated' - you will love this book. I have upholstered 3 couches, 16 diningroom chairs, 5 various styles of armchairs, and 1 tufted fainting couch (82 buttons!) - all from techniques I learned from this book.
Step by Step? Only if you know how to figure out things in between the spartan instructions and supposed step by step pictures! There isn't enough information for a beginner and nothing new to advance an intermediate. There's SOME good information on fabric types, supplies, etc. and color coordination, but even that is mainly limited to the contemporary "shabby chic" or "French apartment" look.