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Book Review - Making Upholstered Furniture in 1:12 Scale by Janet Storey

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Front cover of the book

Front cover of the book "Make Upholstered Furniture in 1:12 Scale" by Janet Storey, published by GMC Publications.

Photo Courtesy Price Grabber Copyright 2003 Used With Permission

The Bottom Line

This is a good resource for learning to make wing chairs, sofas and Victorian style chaise longues, with leather or fabric upholstery. There are some simpler slipper style chairs which are good introductions to building chair frames and simple upholstery for beginners, although these are mainly Victorian styles. The book has excellent clear photographs and illustrations. Some templates require enlargement by a photocopier.
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  • Good Clear Photographs of Steps and Techniques
  • Good Information on Suitable Materials and Woods
  • Consistent Contructions Techniques Simplify Frame Construction
  • Good Range of Upholstery Styles for Several Periods
  • Covers Fabric and Leather Upholstery


  • Mainly Victorian Furniture Styles Illustrated, Although Frames Can be Modified For Modern Shapes
  • Written Mainly for the UK Market, Will Require Some Measurement and Material Translations


  • Good clear photographs and well laid out general and specific instructions for each project
  • Wide variety of projects can be adapted for many periods and styles, using fabric or leather.
  • Minimal woodworking and sewing skills required to complete the projects.

Guide Review - Book Review - Making Upholstered Furniture in 1:12 Scale by Janet Storey

Upholstered furniture is a staple of many dollhouse rooms, and this set of projects by Janet Storey covers a wide range to help a beginner make 1:12 scale furniture suitable for many settings. The instructions include directions for 'button' tufted and smooth leather and fabric upholstery worked over simple frames, with instructions for cutting your own cabriolet legs or how to use readily available turnings to make simple wooden legs and arms. The book does not cover upholstery of dining room chairs, carved armchairs or use of needlepoint for upholstery, but it does give the beginner many useful projects to learn techniques for a range of materials, including leather, and techniques including 'button' tufting.

Included Projects - The included projects have been finished in a mainly Victorian style, but many of the projects can be adapted for use as modern or traditional pieces from several other periods. There are projects for a traditional set of rolled arm sofa and chairs, a 'button tufted' rolled back Chesterfield sofa, three varied chaise longues, a traditional wing chair, four armless chairs with various Victorian styles, A Knole style settee with drop down ends, and a heavy Victorian parlour chair with arms. A 'Gothic' variation of the wing chair is also included.

Tools and Materials Needed - All of the pieces can be built with simple hand tools. For some projects templates will need to be enlarged on a photocopier. Many of the projects have frames shown built from balsa wood, although other woods are also recommended. Readers should note that the balsa wood available in North America from many craft stores varies widely in grain pattern, and may not be as strong or as dense as the balsa indicated in the book (sourced in the UK), this may lead to warping of frames unless care is taken with wood selection. North American readers may also need to adjust some of the wood measurements as for many of the strip woods, only mm dimensions are given.

Who Might Use This Book? - The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to make Victorian style upholstered furniture. It is also useful for anyone who wants to use fine leather for miniature upholstery, or who wants to make sofas, arm and wing chairs for modern or period settings.

Price and Publishing Details Making Upholstered Furniture in 1:12 Scale by Janet Storey, Guild of Master Craftsman Publications (GMC), Lewes, UK, 2003. ISBN 1 86108 301 7. Price $18 and up, often available from libraries.

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