Before deciding on an upholstery course, I did an extensive amount of research throughout London and the UK. Very few offered an all-day, full-week, bring-the-piece-of-your-choice format which is important if you don’t want to spend more time setting up, breaking down and waiting days between lessons than actually upholstering! I communicated with a few studios and Polly stood out immediately by her expertise, sense of style, personality, and obvious dedication to teaching with a personalised approach. I spent two weeks at Polliander studio learning far more than I expected (about a process more complicated than I realised) and having more fun than I imagined! Polly is an excellent teacher offering technical instruction as well as the sort of tips of the trade that comes only from years of experience. I tend to learn a lot of things from books and videos, but there’s absolutely no way that would have worked with upholstery, I would have been making mistakes I didn’t realise and the results would have been bafflingly sub-par. Polly’s studio is a friendly, enjoyable, often very funny, motivational environment. I can’t wait to get back with my next piece. Oh, and to top it all off, there’s a smashingly handsome studio dog named Toby.

Nicole - London


I spent 3 wonderful weeks at Polliander Studios learning more about this beautiful craft & genuinely enjoyed every minute of learning.
Polly is a fountain of upholstery knowledge and her enthusiasm for the craft is apparent in everything she teaches.
I learned so many new skills which I am now already putting in to practice on my next project.
I didn’t want the three weeks to end & am planning to return next year to learn more.
I met some lovely like minded upholstery students, all with a passion for fabric & colour during the course and will be eagerly following their progress & hopefully keeping in touch. 
With the breathtaking beauty of the Cornish coast to explore in your free time what’s not to love about an upholstery course in Falmouth.
Missing everything about my time there but so grateful to Polly for her patience and skill in passing on her passion for upholstery.
I can’t see this new upholstery love affair ever ending

Jane Bern, Switzerland


A week spent at a Polliander creative leisure upholstery course, under the meticulous eye of Polly Waite, helped me revamp my1950’s Hungarian lounge chair into a gorgeous on-trend piece…and gave 1950’s me a new lease of life! The Polliander workshop is a bright and airy space nestled in the chancel of a listed Cornish Methodist Church. The atmosphere oozes creative vibes and genuine camaraderie between the eclectic classes of both Diploma-standard students and leisure upholsterers like me. Polly is a warm-hearted, magnificently accomplished and uniquely creative super-upholsterer with boundless enthusiasm and inspirational tips-of-the-trade to share with her students, whatever their level of expertise. During my first week alongside Polly, I felt a moment of sheer relief to hear that just about all of us underestimated the time it might take to tackle a technique (let alone complete a project) and properly hold a nifty little magnetic-tipped temporary tack hammer to full effect. There are so many intricate and testy skills to watch, absorb and action. If you don’t conquer a technique at first attempt, Polly encourages and cajoles students into trying again. And again, in my case. She boasts a comprehensive library of titles such as One Thousand Chairs and How to Sew a Box Cushion where I took time to study at my leisure. And when your concentration levels wain or you fret about ever conquering the art of ‘tucking a corner’ or stitching a perfect strip of piping (they MUST be perfect for Polly!) take a moment out to cuddle Toby, the adorable workshop Pup. The days fly by on a Polliander course.


Just finished a week with Polly upholstering a Parson’s chair. I didn’t think it would be too hard but little did I realize that there is a lot more to upholstery than you see in a book or on You-tube; obviously there are specific skills you need to learn but also the ‘feel and eye’ which you don’t get from books but from a teacher.

Polly was always on hand to guide me through the steps and ever so patient when I needed things re-explained. With only 4 people on the course Polly could keep us all busy although she was kept super busy flitting between us.

There was a lovely atmosphere in the group and also we had the pleasure of Barney, a very ‘chilled’ golden retriever being with us (the pet of a course member). I did not quite finish my project (did not expect to do so in 1 week) but Polly explained the final steps which I could at home.
A great week and thank you Polly; am aiming to be back in the very near future. I just loved using the staple gun with the compressor!!



I’ve done one short upholstery course with Polly previously and enjoyed it immensely; so decided to travel down to Falmouth from London to spend the week on a second project. The studio is a beautiful light space and I had a wonderful time with the other people on the course. Polly is hugely knowledgeable, very patient and guides you through every step of the way. No question was seen as a bad question and the course was tailored to each of us in an individual and personal way; so this course would be perfect for beginners and more advanced learners alike. With a constant supply of tea, biscuits and snacks, as well as good conversation and laughs, my dog and I left feeling very relaxed and looked after. Although I didn’t get round to finishing my project (I picked a rather complicated armchair!), I feel as though I now have the skills to tackle this at home. I can’t wait to return for my next project!



I have recently spent the most enjoyable three days upholstering my armchair with the expert help and guidance of adorable Polly.
Polly’s knowledge and teaching skills are second to none.
Together with her hospitality (Polly is a feeder!) and her warm personality, there is no better place to go in order to learn the art of upholstering.
I really did love my experience and cannot wait to enroll on another.
Thank you Polly, I wish you every success. You absolutely deserve it.



Had a great week at Polliander.
Polly was an excellent teacher, very knowledgeable. I brought an old chair found at a boot fair so I was very excited to have a go (I couldn’t have brought a lovely dining chair). I thought that would be too easy, I was amazed at how skilful you need to be for any upholstery.
Polly went through everything thoroughly, the hand stitching, the lashing of springs and how to get the webbing perfect. Sophie and Helen the other students were very friendly, we were all glad that there was only us three because Polly found time to help all of us through every step. We were treated to a lovely lunch every day and tea/coffee and biscuits when ever we needed them. I could have easily stayed another week it was relaxing and therapeutic for me, just loved the whole process. Can’t wait to have another chair to work on and I would probably do another course with Polly or a weekend if I find something more than I can cope with like a chaise longue. Crazy. Just had such a good week.



A very big thank you for a wonderful 5 day course.
I can’t believe how much we covered and feel confident to get on with future work on my own. Your passion and enthusiasm is infectious and a real tonic.
To everyone reading this – don’t wait and book a course now – you won’t regret it. I certainly will recommend Polly to everyone I meet in the hope they meet this excellent tutor.



As upholstery tutors go, Polly is up there with the best of them. I can’t recommend taking one of her classes enough. Her ‘can do’ approach, teamed with her wicked sense of humour and years of experience in the industry is infectious and you’ll be tackling that chaise before you know it! I enjoyed every minute in her class and learnt so much – enough in fact to do this chair (*see butterfly chair image on upholstery page). Happy Upholstering x

Samantha Traynor


I have just spent 2 weeks with Polly learning about upholstery and following through on a long term pipe dream of learning to upholster! I took a leap of faith after seeing Polly’s upholstery course online and I am so pleased I found it, I couldn’t recommend Polly enough!
From her delightful studio in beautiful Cornwall to her personal and intimate approach to teaching, Polly is a creative, intelligent, patient, perfectionist helping you learn the art of deconstruction and reconstruction of furniture traditionally and comprehensively! The course is extremely reasonably priced, the teaching is clear and creative and you even get a tailor made delicious lunch to boot!
I feel inspired and excited about applying all Polly has taught me and excited to be returning regularly for top up / specialist teachings. Polly’s a wealth of knowledge and so lovely. Can’t wait to come back!

Leanne Fry


The perfect way to spend a weekend.

I adventured down to Cornwall for a much needed escape from the big city – to learn how to upholster by the seaside. I had bought some dining chairs a while back with the vision to give them a new lease of life only I didn’t actually know how to do that…

When I arrived at the studio I was greeted with a very warm welcome. The studio is a really lovely space to work in. Polly knows her trade inside out and is very passionate about her trade. Her attention to detail is really quite something. Over the course of a weekend I learnt how to strip back my chairs and rebuild the coverings with my chosen fabrics.

My chairs now look absolutely brilliant in their colorful new skin and after my weekend course with Polly I feel confident enough to up-holster similar items again myself in the future.

I’ll be back Polly – next time to tackle an arm chair! Thank you very much.

Sophie Fletcher


The lovely Polly taught my course at the Good life Center in London last year – we all had a fab time, learnt lots and laughed lots too. Learning upholstery has come with its ups and downs for me but it was great to be taught by Polly with her optimistic, can do attitude – whatever random projects I showed up with (tiny ottoman that started life as an apple crate anyone?). Having been taught by Polly has given me both confidence and a great foundation of skills to build on, I’m sure her new studio will be fab and I look forward to visiting sometime soon!

Kirsti Hummel


I had a really good week at Polly’s studio! Very excellent teaching, she really knows her business and is also really helpful and supportive. A lovely atmosphere for learning and being able to reupholster beautiful chairs and have a good old chat!

Claire Hewlett


What a fabulous way to spend a weekend. Polly makes the learning so easy and effortless, any hic cups and she quickly shows you how to sort yourself out. The workshop is bright and airy with plenty of room to do your project. Polly’s knowledge and passion ensures you have the best training and experience. I shall hopefully be back for more THANK YOU 

Tracy Okeeffe


I just wanted to drop you a message to thank you. I had the BEST time last week. You are a very compassionate teacher and a vessel of invaluable knowledge. I couldn’t have chosen a better tutor to begin my upholstery journey with. 

Please give Bear a big squeeze from me, she helped when I needed 5 minutes away from the staple gun and just needed a hug 

Keep doing exactly what you are doing, you do it so well.

All the best,



Hi Polly, a moment out of the chaoticness that is my life recently to say a big thank you for last weeks upholstery course, I thoroughly enjoyed it…apart from the Y cuts  its not an exaggeration to say it was bliss to be so absorbed in something completely new and that didn’t involve hospitals!

Currently sat in the old ex wing back, enjoying the afternoon sun with a mug of tea, contemplating the slip/ladder/castle stitch, have to say even without the seat cushion the old chair is more comfortable than it has been in years..and it no longer creaks!

Will drop in soon with pins and money.

Hope dear Bear also enjoying sunshine

Thank you again,

Jude x


My week course with Polly was brilliant, I turned up with a rather knackered vintage chair which it turned out needed rebuilding from scratch (I had to rebuild springs, original straw and horse hair stuffing even before getting to the finesse of the hessian, wadding, calico and top material layers). I went away having had a fun week, the chair 90% completed and with the confidence to complete it at home. Polly has an infectious encouraging, positive and friendly style which made the experience very rewarding and enjoyable. I couldn’t recommend her and her courses more highly.

Andy Page

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