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I finally took the opportunity to take a class from Shelly Leer from Mod Home Ec.  I “met” Shelly through blogging at least four years ago and then met her in person (even though she lives in my city) at a blogging conference called Haven in Atlanta two years ago.  I vowed I would take one of her upholstery classes.  I finally signed up and paid to take her spool ottoman class.  Not only did I make an uber cute little ottoman pod but I learned a few tricks I never would have figured out about upholstery before – like lining up fabrics, knowing the types of fabrics to use when upholstering, using a web stretcher, etc.



This class was a two-night evening class.  There was 4 other people in the class -three from a different state!  It made me realize what a huge blessing it was to have Shelly in my area and be able to take her class locally.  These three ladies spent some serious dough to fly in, rent a hotel, etc., simply to learn from Shelly.

So I arrived at her studio with this in front of me.  A refabbed electrical spool with added 2” x 4” supports.  The first thing we had to do was some math to know where to place the legs.  That, by far, was the most challenging part.  My brain just could not compute circumference and compasses apparently.  After that nearly devastating event I was able to move on.


Next we had to add some webbing and burlap to give the sides some added stability.  We learned how to stretch webbing and staple it in place followed by some burlap.



Next we added the foam circle to the top and had to sew a dacron cover for the top.  I was so nervous having to get everything perfect but Shelley was there to hold my hand when I needed it.




The fabric I chose was Embrace Storm Twill from Online Fabric Store.  The fabric definitely isn’t upholstery weight.  It is a home decor fabric which is great for pillows and curtains and such.  However, I loved the pattern so Shelly had me add some stabilizer to give it a little more girth while we sewed it.  When you sew on a heavy duty upholstery machine you need to make sure you have the correct weight of fabric so you don’t get puckering.  The stabilizer helped solve this problem.  However, one thing to think about over time is the fact that this fabric will stretch more than a heavier weight upholstery fabric.

After much measuring, pinning, sewing and fitting we had the ottoman cover sewn.


You can see the added stabilizer ironed on the top of the ottoman.  This is where we are fitting it that is why it is inside out.


Final fitting!


Then we stapled the fabric to the bottom and added the dust cover.



Lastly we screwed the legs in place.


When I got home I decided to stain them Special Walnut by Minwax.


Isn’t she cute?

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Since the color is so neutral it literally will go well in any room in my house.


For those of you that live in the Indianapolis area I highly recommend taking one of her in-studio classes.  However, Shelly has had great success launching her classes in the online space, she just finished her second Online Upholstery Knockouts Class.  Her next online class is a diamond tufted boudoir bench.  Now you can learn in the comfort of your own home.


Upholstery is definitely one of those skills I want to continue to hone.  I think it is such a cool skill to have.  I plan to take more of Shelly’s classes in the future.

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  1. I know I’d mess this up if I had to calculate all that math for the legs! Not my strong suit, lol! It turned out beautiful, Beckie!

  2. It looks super professional – you did an amazing job! I’d love to take an upholstery class some day!

  3. Ottomans cost so much at stores and it’s unbeliveable that you can make one out of an electrical spool. So worth it to make! My mind is going miles now! Thank you sharing such a valuable idea.

  4. Your welcome Antoinette. Ottomans have been so popular lately. They’re so versatile and a homemade one can be customized to match your decor. Best of luck on your new project.

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