Applications Now Open                  for September 2022

AMUSF Upholstery Diploma

This is a three-stage programme designed to develop a range of both modern and traditional upholstery skills suitable for a beginner or those with some upholstery experience.  Starting with the basics of a simple drop-in dining chair through to large traditionally upholstered armchairs, as well as developing the tailoring skills required for mid-century modern furniture.

Each student is encouraged to aim high and develop their skills and creativity to the highest level.  We pride ourselves in the fact that a large proportion of our students achieve Credits and Distinctions for their work and many go on to set up their own businesses or work for other upholsterers, including royal warrant holders, interior designers and members of the AMUSF.

Upholstery Stage 1 Diploma



During Stage 1 you will develop your practical skills, gaining knowledge and experience in the manipulation of a variety of materials and processes, within the context of a series of individual set exercises and/or assessment projects. 


You will also acquire an understanding of upholstery fabrics and textiles and will be encouraged to develop your own creativity.



  • Drop-in seat both modern & traditional materials
  • Stitched and stuffed chair
  • Sprung dining chair
  • Sprung arm exercise
  • Scatter Cushion*
  • Box Cushion with piping and zip
  • Bolster End with piping
  • Upholstered and lined box with deep-buttoned lid*
  • Portfolio containing notes and details of your work in progress
  • Written Research Project: Fabric Characteristics, Identification & Appropriate Usage

​* One of which must include some decorative details or fabric manipulation.


Upholstery Stage 2 Diploma




At Stage 2 you will further develop the skills learned at Stage 1 with a further range of projects designed to broaden your knowledge and skills, working alongside others who may be working on different styles of chairs:






  • T-Shaped Cushion with piping and zips
  • Tailoring, including the fitting of caps and collars
  • Independent sprung edge for a cushion seat (exercise)
  • Armless chair with traditionally upholstered seat and back
  • Post 1950s Armchair upholstered using modern materials & methods
  • Portfolio containing notes and details of your work in progress
  • Written Research Project: History of Upholstered Furniture – a timeline and overview of the styles of upholstered furniture and the development of upholstery techniques and materials use.

Upholstery Stage 3 Diploma



At Stage 3 you will develop these skills even further learning how to adapt and apply the skills learnt onto more advanced styles of traditional armchairs as well as the tailoring and fitting required for modern curved and shaped chairs.  Good quality upholstery is achieved by eye, feel and judgement and it is these skills that we aim to help our students achieve.


  • Substantial Traditional Armchair of advanced techniques, which should include at least two of the following elements: the fitting of caps and collars, scroll arms or stitched-up edges to arms, sprung arms, coil sprung seats, independent sprung edges, deep buttoning, fluting or an iron framed chair.
  • Modern Chair with a concave inside back incorporating tailored fitting and top stitching i.e. Egg style or shell frame
  • Business Studies - the requirements for setting up a small business 
  • Written Research Project: 20th Century Furniture Design – an overview of the styles, periods and iconic designers of the 20th Century.

Note: The items in bold are assessment pieces that will be marked and graded by an independent External Verifier from the AMUSF.

Certificates are award on the successful completion of each Stage.  Upon the successful completion of Stage 3 you will achieve an AMUSF Diploma and with practice you will be equipped to take on the challenges of upholstering a diverse range of furniture, creating beautiful work stamped with your own individuality and creativity.

Enrichment Programme

Our courses are enhanced by industry based tours and visits and students' work is also eligible for various competitions sponsored by various fabric companies and industry supporters and suppliers, giving students the opportunity of developing their design and creative skills.

Course Structure

These qualification courses are studied one-day per week starting week beginning 5th September 2022:

Stage 1 one-day per week over a three-year period (Mondays).

Courses are based around the academic year starting the first week in September through to mid-July, with half-term and holidays in line with Hertfordshire schools.

Contact Us for more details and an Application Form.

If you want to do upholstery in a less structured and more relaxed atmosphere, then our day-time or evening classes may suit you better.




"After qualifying, gaining work experience and workshop space, I began building my upholstery business.  Crucial to this step was the support and advice given on various jobs and projects by my ex-tutor Wendy Shorter.  Together with this, course notes and various recommended books I gradually built experience, confidence and a customer base.  To date, most of my work is acquired by word of mouth but most importantly the quality of training I received on my course is hopefully reflected in my work and through returning customers."  – Sandra Brooke


"I think Wendy’s course and teaching methods prepared me very well for setting up my own business.  She gave me lots of confidence in both the practical and commercial aspects. I can still remember her explanations of why something should be done in a way, which is so much more useful than simply being told what to do.  Wendy suggested having stalls at local craft fairs / charity coffee mornings etc which worked very well to get my name known.   I sold a few footstools, small chairs and cushions at these type of events, but it was more about marketing - lots of people pick up a card and come back to you months later.  Still having to educate clients that sorting out a sagging seat is not just a case of adding more padding though!!" – Sharon Burvill


"I have found the course to be quite intense but extremely absorbing and enjoyable.  It certainly is not a leisure course and I have learned a tremendous amount in a short period of time. I was amazed at how quickly we started to work on actual pieces and was learning from day one. The 20th century Furniture Design project has been time consuming but I have learned a great deal from doing the project and have put my new found knowledge to use at a recent Antiques Fair.  The course is expensive but having said that I am very impressed with the level of teaching and you do have to pay for this high standard." - Irene W, Hertfordshire.


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