The inspirations of this chair are the black velvet dress and the black leopard. I am really obsessed with the powerful gesture that the woman presented in the photo. Confidence is the best perfume to be worn.

According to the general idea, I want to make a chair that has a strong-muscled, powerful look.

I quickly decide to use black velvet as the main fabric for the chair. At the same time, I want to have some contrast to make the “powerful look” even more exaggerated. So, I add a choker element to the design. The choker could be both decorative and functional. In my imagination, the choker belt could be fastened at the back of the chair, which tighten the “muscle” of the chair and make the “muscle” look larger.

Due to the time limit and the course requirement, I bought a second-hand club chair, strip it down and reuse the wood structure inside.

the original look

It was really interesting to see how the chair was made when I striped down the fabric piece by piece. The fabric on the whole chair was stapled to the wood frame, there was no sewing at all.

Based on the wood frame, I start to design the leopard chair. I want to make the seat back shorter, and the arm wider so the whole proportion of the chair could change from a tall slim shape to a short wide one.

all dimensions of the wood frame
the sewing technique
the final dimension

I cut the seat back with a Japanese pull saw, then I draw a pattern on the chipboard, transfer the pattern to the plywood, cut the plywood on the bandsaw, sand the sharp edge off and staple the plywood to the wood frame.

inner frame
overall look
cut a "window"

Also, I cut off the connection part between the arm and the back to create an open space that will allow the fabric to go through in the further step.

instead of webbing
instead of webbing

Instead of using black webbing, I use some non-stretch fabric to cover the wood frame so that the chair could maintain its shape.


Then I glue the foam in the order of firm, medium, and soft from bottom to the top layer by layer. I use the foam cutter and the brush to shape the foam.


Dacron is the last step for adding the softness to the chair. It has the same function to cotton. Also, Dacron is able to fully fill any gap or empty space between the foam and the fabric.

pattern on paper
pattern on chipboard

I draw the pattern on paper and chipboard and transfer the pattern to the black velvet. 

Here is the big mistake I made: The pattern of the fabric should be drawn based on the technical drawing. I drew the pattern based on the shape of the foam that has glued on the chair. As we all know, the foam is spongy. It is not accurate when I drew the pattern according to the foam shape. In that case, the pattern I drew is larger than what it should be.

So, due to the larger pattern, the chair is going bigger and the proportion changes a lot.

zig zag sewing machine
metallic gold thread

Because of the massive black color on the fabric, I decide to sew a gold color topstitch line as a nice detail. The metallic color thread is in polyester and is quite thin. To make it more visible, I do a zig zag line instead.

choker belt
choker belt
ring at the back
leopard's eyes

I really like the gold color in the leopard’s eyes. The bright outstanding color is like a warning sign that brings a feeling of danger.

I want to make the feet of the chair in gold color. People usually look at the chair from a high angle. So the feet are barely seen. However, when people lower their bodies and see the chair from the front, they will immediately notice the golden feet. It’s like “you think the leopard is taking a nap, but when you get down you suddenly realize that the eyes are open, the leopard is awake all the time”.

matching the color
imitation gold leaf test

I watch some videos to figure out how to work with the imitation gold leaf. Then I do a small material test. It looks great.

After I pull the black velvet and staple it to the bottom. I notice that it creates a gap between the seat and the back. Also, the seat depth is large. It seems that it would be great to have a back cushion. To balance off the massive blackness, I use the gold brown color velvet (the same material as the chocker belt) to cover the cushion and I add a black strip as a decoration.

the final look in studio
side view

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