Upholstery Repair—Needlepoint Stool Cover

My friend Gay’s mom owns an upholstery shop in Tennessee. They had received a lovely Victorian needlepoint-topped stool that was in disrepair, and needed help restoring it to its original condition. Gay’s mom removed the needlepoint and sent to me.


There were holes in the canvas, plus tears in it that affected both canvas and yarn stitches, which you can view if you click on the photos above. Critters had nipped at the wool yarn and removed either all or part of the stitches. Plus, the piece was dirty and needed a cleaning. This is an all-wool work, and thus had to go into the freezer for a de-bugging before anything else was done. Next came washing and blocking (done face-down, which keeps the stitching uniform):


washed and blocked another angle    washed and blocked upside down

I also stitched a fine netting material around the piece, which makes it easier to pull it for blocking, and also keeps the edges from raveling. Thanks, Bid! She’s my friend and fellow needlework repairer who also designs canvases. We share lots of great tips. See my blocking table? That was also a tip from her. It’s a hollow core door from Home Depot, with a checkered oilcloth stapled onto it. That makes it easy to line up fabric.

Step 3 in this repair job was to begin stitching up the canvas tears. I had some good black tapesty wool for the job, and used some sturdy upholstery thread to reweave the canvas. Here are some photos of that work:

Once the canvas was stabilized again, I could start the actual stitch repair:

For large size canvases, you may wish to purchase a pair of canvas pliers.  The large grooved teeth are great for gripping canvas and stretching.  These are available at art supply stores.

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Plus there were other little repairs to single stitches here and there.

And here are the photos of the finished piece:

And here is the finished stool. Didn’t the upholstery shop do a great job?

finished stool--Nelms Upholstery

A Mother’s Needlepoint Restretched on Acid-Free Board and Reframed

My customer had a beautiful needlepoint woodland scene hand-stitched by his mother that had been water-damaged. Mainly, though, it needed to be removed from the old cardboard backing that someone had originally stapled it to for framing.


Close-up photo of water damage, acidic cardboard and tear in canvas:

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I began by removing the staples and getting the needlework off the cardboard. Next, I patched the torn area with interfacing fabric. Then I machine-stitched clean, unbleached muslin fabric to all sides of the piece. This fabric doesn’t have any starches or finishes on it and it’s very sturdy. It should last a long, long time and be “healthy” for the needlework.

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Once the fabric was on, all the seams were hand-stitched together and the edges turned under, preparing the piece for lacing it to a piece of Canson brand acid-free art board. Here it is, pinned for lacing:


And here is the piece laced and ready to go to the framer:

Now the woodlands needlepoint stitched by Ron D of NY’s mother is finished. The frame is from Caroline Budd’s shop here in town. They put it in a protective plastic, and hence the glare and the wrinkling. I didn’t want to take it out and have to wrap it again since it is taped in the back and will ship better that way. Looks good!