AMUSF Training and Qualifications

The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers qualifications are based on acquiring good practical and relevant skills. These qualifications may lead to employment within the industry or with additional practice may lead to you starting your own small business.

From September 2015 the AMUSF qualifications in both Upholstery and Soft Furnishings have been revised and expanded. Successful completion of all three stages in the Upholstery qualification will result in the award of the brand new AMUSF Diploma. 

Students browsing fabric samples
Image courtesy of Wendy Shorter Interiors Ltd

The Upholstery Qualification is delivered in three stages with each stage being a qualification in its own right and will be certificated separately. The Soft Furnishing qualification is a single stage. These qualifications can only be delivered by an AMUSF Approved Training Centre.

Each stage is designed to be delivered in approximately 210 hours but Training Centres will arrange their timetables and commencement dates to match their demands.

Briefly, each stage of the Upholstery syllabus contains the following. Items highlighted in bold are the pieces that will be marked at the end of each stage but all other exercises must be completed. Students will also receive tuition on underpinning knowledge. It is expected that the written research project will be undertaken away from the class and is outside of the 210 hours.

Deep buttoning detail on an ottoman
Image courtesy of Upholstery Skills Centre Ltd

Stage 1 – Craft Certificate

    • Drop-in seat (modern materials)
    • Drop-in seat (traditional materials including fabric and bottoming cloth)
    • Stitched and stuffed footstool or chair (traditional materials and methods including fabric and bottoming)
    • Sprung dining chair (traditional materials and methods including fabric and bottoming cloth)
    • Sprung arm exercise for an inset facing (traditional materials and methods. Calico to be stitched under the roll. Fabric need not to be applied)
    • Box Cushion with piping and zip (sample)
    • Bolster End with piping (sample)
    • Upholstered and lined box with decorative detail and deep-buttoned lid (modern materials, with a minimum of three diamonds)
    • Portfolio containing notes and details of work in progress
    • A Written Research Project
Modern turquoise chair in workshop
Image courtesy of the Upholstery Craft Training Centre, Scotland

Stage 2 – Intermediate Craft Certificate

  • T-Shaped Cushion with piping and zips (samples)
  • Tailoring, including the fitting of caps and collars (samples)
  • Independent sprung edge for a cushion seat (exercise) (traditional materials and methods, including fabric and front border)
  • Armless chair with traditionally upholstered seat and back (seat to be sprung with coil springs)
  • Post 1950s Armchair upholstered using modern materials & methods
  • Portfolio containing notes and details of work in progress
  • Written Research Project
Student working on a traditional armchair
Image courtesy of the Upholstery Craft Training Centre, Scotland

Stage 3 Diploma

  • Substantial Traditional Armchair of advanced techniques, which should include at least two of the following elements: the fitting of caps and collars, scroll arms or stitched-up edges to arms, sprung arms, coil sprung seats, independent sprung edges, deep buttoning, fluting or an iron framed chair.
  • Modern Chair with a concave inside back incorporating tailored fitting and top stitching
  • i.e. Egg style (shell frame)
  • Portfolio containing notes and details of work in progress
  • Written Research Project 


The Soft Furnishing Qualification – Essential Soft Furnishings – is a single stage qualification typically delivered over 210 hours. Students will be taught different techniques and make various samples before producing the following pieces for marking:

  • A pair of full length interlined curtains.
  • A Roman Blind.
  • A decorative scatter cushion.
  • A decorative bolster cushion.
  • A piped box cushion with zip in a stripe or check fabric.
  • A written project.

Good quality training is offered by our own AMUSF Approved Training Centres. Find out more about our individual Approved Training Centres and the courses they offer.

Updated March 2018