5 day Home Furnishing Course

11am 14th - 3pm 18th October 2019

£575.00 inclusive of materials and lunch

Our 5 day home furnishing course offers students an opportunity to complete three of our most popular projects in one week, combining upholstery, sewing and craft skills. You will make a modern footstool, drum lampshade and piped cushion to update or enhance any interior scheme.  The course is designed to give you a relaxing but productive break from everyday life, in a friendly and inspiring environment.  Courses are kept to small groups (maximum 4 people) to ensure you have plenty of space, everybody has access to their own equipment and lots of personal tutor time.  The course is suitable for complete beginners or those with some sewing and upholstery experience.


The week starts with elevenses on Monday morning giving you the opportunity to have a leisurely start to your day and have some time to get to know your fellow students and the Wood Centre before we start work.  After lunch you will make a drum lampshade.

Drum Lampshade


Using a special kit we will show you how to make a 40cm diameter drum lampshade. With our experience we have developed the making techniques to ensure you will create a perfect professionally finished lampshade, better than what you will find in the shops, and using your own fabric choice. You can select the colour of the insider liner from a choice white, bronze, champagne, gold or, silver. We will discuss other styles of lampshade and where to buy the equipment needed so you can go on to make more lampshades at home.

Piped Cushion


On Tuesday you will make a 45cm (18 inch) square piped cushion with invisible zip and feather pad.  You will use our modern and user friendly Janome sewing machines to overlock your fabric edges, make and attach piping and insert an invisible zip along the piping line to create a professional looking cushion.  We have a selection of bias binding tape colours for your piping or you can make your own bias binding from fabric you provide to match or contrast with the main cushion fabric (contact us to discuss how much extra fabric you will require).



From Wednesday you will be making your bespoke footstool.  A high quality hardwood frame will be provided for you by professional furniture maker Chris Boreham.  Our standard frame size is 75x50cm* which gives a useful statement piece that can be used for several people’s feet, a place to put your tea and cake or as an occasional seat.  You will learn about the tools and materials used and techniques including stretching webbing, attaching hessian, applying fabric and making beautiful neat corners.  The padding of the footstool will be made from foam and you will use a variety of tools and a mix of tacks and staples to teach you a variety of skills and techniques.  Modern square tapered wooden legs are provided but if you would like to source your own please get in touch and we will

provide more details on what is required.

*All our frames are made especially for you so we can adjust the size if required.  Please get in touch to discuss.


The course finishes after lunch on Friday.


What’s provided:

  • All materials and equipment, except top fabric.
  • A cold buffet style lunch every day.
  • Refreshments and cake and biscuits throughout the day.
  • Time spent at the wonderful Sylva Wood Centre with the opportunity to talk to the community of craftspeople and explore the beautiful surrounding Oxfordshire countryside.

What you take home at the end of the week:

  • 40cm diameter drum lampshade.
  • 45x45cm piped cushion.
  • 75x50cm footstool.
  • Instructions to assist you in making more at home.

Fabric requirements:


We recommend you get in touch before buying your fabric so we can confirm it will be suitable.  The minimum requirements you need to bring for each project are set out below, but bear in mind that if you are using patterned fabric you will need more to be able to align or centre the pattern.


Lampshade – soft furnishing or upholstery weight* fabric, minimum 1.3m width, minimum 40cm length.

Cushion – soft furnishing or upholstery weight fabric, minimum 1m width, minimum 50cm length.

Footstool – soft furnishing or upholstery weight fabric, minimum 1.25m width, minimum 1m length.

(we recommend you use an upholstery weight fabric)

*Thick fabrics are more difficult to work with when making lampshades.


Many fabrics are suitable for all three projects, or you may decide to use a selection of co-ordinating materials.  You could even use a different material on the front and the back of your cushion.  We recommend you avoid velvets as these are difficut to work with. Most soft furnishing/upholstery fabrics will be wide enough for all the projects, however some fabrics are shorter widths so do check before buying.  If you need any advice please get in touch.


Where to stay:


If you are coming from further afield there are a number of Airbnb rentals within Long Wittenham, or a wider choice of hotels and B&B’s in the surrounding villages, Abingdon, Didcot, Oxford and Wallingford which are all a short drive away from the workshop.


Other things to see and do:


Whilst you are attending the course you are welcome to explore the Wood Centre and the surrounding countryside. Why not stay in the area for longer and go walking on Wittenham Clumps or the Ridgeway, explore the historic towns of Abingdon and Wallingford or the university city of Oxford.  The Sylva Wood Centre also runs a variety of courses so check out their website to see the latest events www.sylva.org.uk/courses

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