Business Essentials Certificate

Set up a business with our Business Essentials Certificate upholstery course

This course will run Thursday and Friday for 6 weeks beginning May 6th 2021.

Our Business Essentials Certificate has been designed and developed with a sole purpose in mind – to give you the essential skills, knowledge, and confidence to set up and run your own upholstery business. We know that many people are either looking for a change to their routine; want to create a better work/life balance; or simply want to earn some extra money; but they are not sure they have the correct skills and/or knowledge to make the change.

This is the ideal upholstery course for someone in that position. It’s packed with practical, hands-on experience, with much of the theory and knowledge being dealt with during the practical sessions – e.g. pattern matching is introduced in a practical session rather than in a classroom because it makes much more sense when you can see the pattern on an item of furniture.

The course is focused on teaching a range of core, transferable upholstery skills that can be applied to a range of furniture and items soft furnishings, and that will allow you to begin creating and selling from your kitchen table, spare room, or garden shed. The equipment needed to set up your own upholstery business is limited to a few key items and you will learn about each of these on the course.

The two day a week over 6 weeks timetable means you can work around current commitments and still have time to practice skills and techniques at home, as well as study the knowledge elements, and plan your business. You will be introduced to all aspects of setting up your own upholstery business within the course, and our first-hand experience means we can answer all your questions.

After you have completed the Business Essentials Certificate you can choose to extend your skills by booking additional short courses to learn further techniques that can be applied to different pieces of furniture, or learn the traditional techniques that are in demand but in short supply.

The items of furniture covered on the course are small enough to create from your home and are items that we know from experience are in demand. All the skills transfer naturally between pieces – e.g. buttoning can be applied to footstools, chairs, headboards, storage boxes and more. The focus is on learning skills through repetition and practice and our experienced tutors will provide the time and guidance to ensure you learn them thoroughly. They will assess each piece you create and provide guidance along the way. You will learn to choose, cut and apply materials throughout the course, as well as creating your own templates – not just assemble pre-made components.

Pieces of furniture included in the course:

  • Drop-in seat pad - modern materials
  • Shallow buttoned Footstool - modern materials
  • Deep buttoned Footstool - modern materials with van dyking (joining two pieces of fabric with a hidden join) and a fixed border.
  • Headboard - sample boards with different styles covering borders, piping, fluting, and square/biscuit finish
  • Single headboard of your choice applying your newly learned skills.
  • Scatter cushion with piping and zip
  • Modern Cocktail chair with a stitched border – modern materials with options for different finishes using your newly transferable skills e.g. buttoning/fluting.

Frames and materials for all pieces are included within the cost of the course supplied, students only need to supply top cover fabric and flame retardant interliner if required. These can be bought through Manorhouse or via other outlets, but must be of suitable upholstery standard and comply with fire and safety regulations. You will learn all about this on the course and we will advise at all stages.

Practical Skills that will form part of the learning for beginners:

  • Health and safety
    • Identifying tools and their uses and safe use of tools
  • Use of existing material for templates
  • Planning your project
  • Fabric selection
  • Fabric calculation
  • Pattern matching
  • Calculate and make patterns for deep buttoning
  • Calculate and make patterns for square buttoning
  • Van Dyke joins
  • Make buttons
  • Shallow button techniques
  • Deep button techniques
  • Square /biscuit buttoning
  • Make and apply ruching borders
  • How to sew mitres
  • Make and apply plain borders with mitres
  • Fluting techniques
  • How to apply studs
  • Applying finishes to raw wood
  • Recognise, select and apply webbing
  • Recognise, select and apply foam
  • Forming corners
  • Doing cuts
  • Apply back tacking strip
  • Apply metal grip
  • Hand finish sewing techniques
  • Apply bottoming
  • Sewing machine selection and safe use
  • Safe use and operation of overlocking machine
  • Make double and single piping
  • Insert a zip

Essential Knowledge

In addition to the practical elements above, the course includes several knowledge sessions, each designed to give you the essential information to plan, set up, run and maximise the potential of your new business.

These are:

  • Workshop set up and introduction to compressors and tools
  • Fire Regulations
  • Fabric Knowledge
  • Fabric Measuring
  • Job estimating and pricing
  • Setting up and operating the business – includes business type, insurance and legal requirements
  • Marketing and promoting your business

Course structure

The Business Essentials course will run every Thursday and Friday for 6 weeks beginning May 6th 2021.


What’s Included?

  • All frames are included and are brand new so there’s no stripping of wood involved - which means you can be productive from day 1!
  • Everything you require to upholster your furniture items is also included in the cost of the course. You will only need to supply the top cover fabric and any fire retardant interliner, should you require it.
  • All tools are available in class to use or students are welcome to bring their own if they have them.

We have a maximum class size of 8 and places are booked on a first come, first served basis.


We have a payment scheme that allows you to spread the cost across three smaller, more manageable instalments.

Payment 1 – payable at time of booking £495

Payment 2 – payable at the start of week 3 £400

Payment 3 – payable at the start of week 5 £400

All the items you make on the course are yours to take home and either keep as samples for future projects, or to sell.