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Up-cycling Mid-Century Furniture

Upcycling Mid-century Furniture with British Wool Furnishings Croft Mill

Have you ever upcycled a piece of furniture? We know that the stitching community is a creative lot, so we thought we’d have a slight change and blog about upcycling and reupholstering. After all, our British wool furnishing fabrics are woven on the isles of Scotland for exactly that!

A long running trend in upcycling is for mid-century furniture, recast in bright British wool furnishing fabrics,  to give them a new lease of life.

Names to look out for

If you are new to reupholstering mid-century furniture, a key name to look out for is Kofod Larson.

The Danish designer was incredibly sought after during the 150’s and 60’s. He designed mainly for the Swedish market, using Rosewood and Palisander in minimalist designs. His minamilist style, means that his furniture has seen a huge resurgence in recent years, with pieces selling on average between £290 – £400. So if you can get yourself a Kofod Larson article and upcycle it you may be able to add quite a few pounds to its value. He also designed for a name you might recognise, G – plan.

G – Plan is a British company that was highly popular in the 150’s and 1970’s and was designed mainly by Donald Gommes. Donald once stated that his dream was for people to be able to furnish a house in G – Plan furniture, without them having to buy a set. Which is great if you plan to have a long running reupholstering project, you don’t have to bulk buy all the items in one go! G – Plan furniture is known for its long, low and retro look, and when upcycled with British wool furnishing fabrics in vivid colours they are often the feature piece of a room.

Another British name to look out for is Ercol. The Ercol brand hails from High Whycombe in the 1920s and was renowned for ‘bending’ wood using steam. The company’s designs became so popular that in 1944 the government commissioned 100,000 low budget chairs – which resulted in the Windsor chair. The Windsor chair is sturdy, economical and modern looking; especially when the base is covered in a bright coloured fabric. However in the present day, it is his Butterfly Chair that is in high demand, especially when the base is upholstered with a fresh British wool furnishing fabric. Ercol also became famous for its choice of material, using English Elm when most furniture makers refused to work with it. So if you get an Ercol chair, you know you own a wood that many people don’t.

Quality Materials

Back in the day, when furniture was made it was made to last. So it is no surprise they used good quality materials. Most of the materials they used are still available today – but at a price. If you are upcycling a piece of furniture, and you want it to last another century we really do recommend pushing the boat out when it comes to certain things.

Horse hair was widely used as stuffing for mid – century furniture and it is easy to see why. Its springiness and durability are second to none. In fact it is so durable, that when most pieces are reupholstered  the horse hair stuffing can be simply taken out, washed and put back in. If you do need new stuffing though, you can use this safe in the knowledge it will not ‘mash down’ anytime soon.

As for the fabric itself that you are going to use, again quality is key. We recommend (and not just because we are a tiny bit biased) that you invest in our British Wool Furnishing fabrics, for two reasons. Firstly they are 98% Wool, 2 % nylon and flame retardant – something it is worth keeping in mind for gadget packed houses. Secondly they have an astonishing 100,000 rub count. I say astonishing, because when we discovered this, we really were astonished. The average rub count for domestic furniture is only 10,000.

(In case you are wondering, the rub count is how many times you can sit down and stand up again before the fabric wears)

We have them in some lovely colour as you can see here.


Now we have discussed designers and materials, I think it is about time this blog post draws to close… mainly so we at Croft Mill can argue over who’s having which colour out of the British Wool Furnishing fabrics and scour ebay of mid – century chairs!


UPDATE: Our British Wool Furnishing fabrics have proved so popular they have sold out, however we are trying to get them back in stock, so please do keep checking our website. 




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    Sewing Bee Season 3, Episode 1 - Our Thoughts - CM Craftii
    06/02/2015 at 2:20 PM

    […] Next up was the sewing bee alterations challenge. We love how this challenge tests both the skill and the creativity of the contestants. It’s one thing to be able to think about transforming a garment and another to actually be able to do it. If you’re like me, there are probably plenty of times you have thought about upcycling but never been quite sure you know enough techniques to get the finished thing just right. (If you do like upcycling you can read our post on upcycling furniture here) […]

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