living room pillows | welting vs. gimp

by | May 28, 2015 | All Things Home, Living Room, My House, Tutorials, upholstery | 24 comments

In case you missed it, Kriste and I are heading to Wisconsin tomorrow!  We’re going to be in Milwaukee and Sun Prairie, on Friday and Saturday respectively, to teach workshops, demos and just hang out with blog readers, milk paint lovers and friends-we’ve-yet-to-meet.  You can find all of the details of our trip HERE.

Between the long weekend and our trip, though, we’ve been trying to squeeze in some productivity.  I have a big photo shoot in my house coming up, which is a good excuse to get some finishing touches done.  Those are the things that linger on my to-do list and end up getting bumped when more exiting or pressing projects come around.

This week, we’ve been finishing up the upholstered chairs in my living and dining rooms and making pillows.  Most of them are still in process, but we did get the living room pillows, for the bergere chairs, finished today…


They’re made in a linen with a blue, white, green and brown “faux” crewel work floral pattern and we used the checked fabric on the chairs for piping.  I still need to hand-sew the bottom seam and add the double welting to the chair under the window, but this pair is almost done!


Speaking of double-welting, one reader asked me why I use gimp trim on most of my upholstered furniture.  For those who don’t know, this is gimp trim.


It’s pre-made, inexpensive and I think it looks good on most pieces.

This is double-welting…


It is custom-made, so it matches or compliments the upholstery perfectly.

Both hide the staples and raw edges and frame out the fabric.  Since gimp trim is already made, it only has to be glued on, making it the cheaper and faster option.  Welting has to be made from scratch.  It takes lots of fabric and lots of time…about 3 hours or so for one chair.


I love the look of double-welting, but it’s just not practical for every piece, especially those I sell.  I would have to charge a lot more for the extra time and fabric.  So, I reserve the welting for really special pieces, like the living room bergeres.



Before I sign off for the night, I wanted to share one more thing.  Do you remember seeing this bench in my Lucketts pictures?



I was so in love with the cutout legs and the soft, worn paint color.  The top is made of one single plank and joinery of the legs is beautifully done.  I wish I had a place for it!  I didn’t, so I brought it to sell.  The woman who bought it needed it to be a certain size, so she asked if we would customize it for her.  Jeff and I discussed some options with her.  We wanted to get it to the right size without having obvious, freshly cut ends.  I assured her that I would make it look good, however we decided to finish it.

After thinking through some different ideas, I decided to just cut off the excess and go from there.  There was, of course, fresh wood ends that looked out of place.  I mixed a custom MMS Milk Paint color using Schloss, Layla’s Mint and Lucketts Green that was a very close match, but a little lighter.  I dry brushed it on the ends and allowed it to dry.  I then sanded the edges and finished it with some Antiquing Wax.




I was pretty impressed with myself!  I actually called Kriste over to show her how well it turned out.

And this brings me to something rather embarrassing.  When the woman purchased this, we tied a tag with her name and number to the bench.  I told her, “Please e-mail me if you don’t hear from me.  That means I’ve lost the tag.”  In true Marian-fashion, I have lost the tag.  I had it in my purse, so it wouldn’t blow off in the back of the truck.  I set it on my dining room table, being so careful to not misplace it.  I then put it somewhere safe and promptly forgot where I put it.  So, if this is your bench, please send me an e-mail!  (


  1. diedre roberts

    not sure where my comment went…..
    I said that maybe you could also use a file to rough up the fresh cut a bit…

  2. maggie

    Please don’t take this as a criticism because you do beautiful upholstery work and I could never do half as good a job, but why couldn’t you do a single welt? Maybe you just don’t like the look of it?

    • marian

      Single welting isn’t wide enough to cover the edges and the staples. It would also be hard to trim it, so there wasn’t excess fabric showing. With the double-welt, the excess fabric is trimmed and hidden underneath.

  3. Ruth McGrath

    So excited to meet you & Kristie at the Ironstone Nest on Saturday!

  4. Anya

    Marian, those chairs are nothing short of fantastic. They are so beautifully done. I watched your upholstery video series as you were sharing it, and I really need to find the time to jump into revamping a chair that I have. The fabric on the pillows is beautiful, I love how you used the checked pattern from the chairs on the piping to tie them together. And that bench – I would have never known that you cut and refinished the ends. A perfect match!

  5. beck campbell

    I make a lot of welting and piping for upholstery projects…and yes, it can be a bit time consuming and take a TON of fabric. Suggestion…I use bias tape…you can buy it in packages…not real expensive (especially on sale!) and comes in a multitude of great colors! I always get the “double width” so I can get two lengths out of one package. I use the cording to roughly measure out the length I need and then just make enough to do the piece I am working on so I don’t have a lot of waste. I just did a barrel chair…painted it white with “gold dipped” legs and used gold bias tape for the piping and welting…too stinking cute!!! Can’t wait to share it!

  6. Debbie V.

    These two chairs are my absolute favorites of all the chairs I’ve seen on your blog! I love everything about them – the monograms on the back, the different fabrics and how you tied them together, the double welting, and the colors! I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!!! Good job.

  7. Becky

    Marian, the chairs are really pretty. I’m so glad that others can’t find things they put in safe places. I’m sure the owner of that beautiful bench will contact you soon. It’s a great piece.

  8. marlene sockwell

    Could you share the name/manufacturer of the pillow fabric? You may have before but I must have missed it. The chairs and pillows are wonderful.

  9. Laura G.

    I’ve been following you for a few years but I can officially say today that I love you! 😉
    The story about the tag, made me feel normal. You’re awesome and like Debbie V. Said above, these are the best chairs EVER!

  10. Diane

    Glad its not just me who puts things away in safe places and then forgets where the safe place is…I get really cross with myself when I do that…there appears to be a black hole in this house we are renovating…we buy things and then a week later when we want it we say where did such and such go and neither one of us can remember…we hunt and hunt for it but it just seems to disappear!

    I remember one summer’s day driving along the motorway in my old spitfire with the hood down coming back from a vintage car show and I said to my husband cant seem to find my sunglasses can you look in my bag..he just turned to me laughed and said “you are wearing them silly!”.

    I am in total agreement with Anya those chairs are on my favourites list of things you have renovated!

  11. Terri

    As always, love it!

  12. Kelly

    This chairs look amazing, great job! If you have extra time on Saturday morning, you should stop by the Farmer’s Market in Madison.

  13. Breezy

    Really wished I would of known you were going to be in Wisconsin, even though it is still 4 hours from me would of made the trip . Next time! I have just used the milk paint for the first time and am a true fan, love it. Whoever were the lucky buyers of the bergerechairs at Lucket Sale made a great buy I have been looking for 3 years for just those chairs.

    • Jillian

      I have been following your blog for a few years so excited to actually meet you Saturday at the workshop in Sun Praire!

  14. Jan

    Love love love that combo of checks, large print, and solid fabrics.

    I also think the double welt looks more high end and custom.

    I have a pair of chairs (antique) that I think I will redo with a combo of fabrics AND double welt.

    Double welt=fancy LOL

  15. Judy

    You mentioned while upholstering these chairs that you would be doing a tutorial on how to make the double welting. I have been watching for it. Hope I didn’t miss it.

  16. Ginger Marshall

    Marian, here’s a tip that might save you the headache of a “lost tag” in the future. Take a picture of the tag with your phone. I always take pics of important papers, receipts & business cards, I haven’t lost my phone yet (knock on wood) but in usual Ginger fashion, I’ve misplaced just about everything else!

  17. Naomi W

    What is the pillow fabirc called? Where did you get it? It would match my living room so well

  18. Tracy Perrone

    I love the pillow fabric, any chance you can give us the name? I found one that is close, but it seems a little more muted. As always, thank you for the inspiration.

  19. Hyedi

    ‘The blue & white floral pattern is Richloom Darjeeling Blue Stone fabric and the yellow & white bolster is the Madeline Gold Neckroll from Pine Cone Hill. The other fabrics were remnants and I don’t know the names or makers.’

    I just copied and pasted from the post, thank you Tracy Perrone!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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