At DFS for the Joules & DFS Collaboration Sneak Peek

sitting on joules dfs sofa

The weekend before last, I had the very exciting opportunity to travel down to Sam’s old university stomping grounds near Nottingham to visit the DFS workshop. I had been invited there in honour of the Joules & DFS collaboration on a new range of sofas and chairs. 

Long time readers of Rhyme & Ribbons will know that I have a massive soft spot when it comes to Joules, and their clothing has been a staple for me (especially their Harbour tops) so I jumped at the opportunity to see all their glorious fabrics writ large for bigger pieces. 

I’m such a nerd, and learning about any highly skilled job, and getting to “peek behind the curtain” so to speak, is always extremely exciting to me. The DFS studio is amazing. It’s independently equipped to be able to make all its models in house. From sawing the wood to cutting the fabric, you can do it all there. Something that I was shocked to learn about DFS was that they don’t have any “stock” so to speak. Everything that you order is made when you order it, they don’t have piles of sofas sitting around in warehouses! 

But I digress. 

I was there to see the Joules range. 

The Joules x DFS Collection 

The pieces are all handmade in Derbyshire and feature the stunning hand-drawn prints that have made Joules famous. 

The collection runs the gamut of Joules themes from country to coastal to bright pops of colour and encompasses sofas, armchairs and footstools. What I love most about the collection is just how “Joules” it is. The quality is brilliant and there are quirky hidden details all over. You might spy the Joules hare on the foot of one chair, and a special Joules glass pheasant button in the upholstery of another. And the gorgeous hare lining inside all the pieces is a great example of the attention to detail paid in the collection.

My favourite piece of all was the stunning yellow Windsor sofa that you can see at the top of this post. It would be the focal point in any room. You’d have to be brave to buy it, but imagine it in an otherwise fairly minimal room with tall ceilings; it would be the definition of chic! 

The seaside inspired Burnham designs would look beautiful in a cottage. (Though the gorgeous white with navy stripes rule Sam and I out – poor Harold’s fur would show up on it immensely!) The Ilkley – the green and partridge print, I envision in a country home next to a fireplace with hastily kicked off welly boots all around. And the Cambridge, the gorgeous colourful floral prints that I upholstered my own chair with, could do just about anywhere!

The collection also really plays with fabrics. Not only are the patterns and prints all so different, not to mention the design of the sofas, but everything comes with the option of either being in velvet or cotton. I’ve always considered velvet too formal for the relaxed household that we keep, but seeing how it can be dressed up or down (and easily cleaned) completely changed my opinion, and in fact, I chose to upholster my chair in the velvet fabric. 

There really is something for everyone.

Trying my hand

Whilst at the workshop I had the further opportunity to do two more really exciting things. One was to paint my own pattern a la Joules to be printed on to a cushion, and the other was to upholster my own Joules & DFS armchair. I’m not a brilliant artist so I’m semi-terrified to see how my cushion will turn out; despite all the lovely guidance from part of the Joules art design team. Upholstery, however, I am somewhat more confident in. After having it demonstrated to me by a pro (and being carefully monitored by him the whole time), I grew more confident in my stapling abilities. And though I’d never want anyone to pay their hard earned money for something that I upholstered, I’m quite happy to have my chair in my own home. 

Both my cushion and chair will be sent along in a few weeks, so fingers crossed I haven’t ruined them too much! 
dfs studio building
dfs joules yellow chair
design inspiration
fabric room
woodmill workshop wood workshop
pattern making workshop painting pattern design workshop
dfs joules tartan sofa
joules dfs green sofa
blue and white strip dfs joules armchair
white and navy striped joules dfs sofa
dfs joules yellow sofa
foot stool joules dfs floral mushroom sofa

inner lining
joules dfs mushroom armchair leg detail
sitting on joules dfs sofa
my chair mid upholstering my chair in the process
making my chair
looking unnatural with a staple gun
receiving upholstery guidance
upholstering chair up close stapling stapling in fabric
upholstering my chair
smiling with my chair
my joules dfs chair

I’ve made a cheeky little youtube video about my time in Derbyshire and down at the DFS studio. You can watch it below: 

Do you fancy any of the designs? The collection goes on sale in DFS soon, so get to shopping!

Fingers crossed my upholstery handiwork holds up when my own chair gets here!  

***I was a guest of DFS and Joules, but all thoughts and opinions are forever my own.***

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  • So exciting that you upholstered your own chair! I always see beautiful vintage/antique furniture that could just use some TLC, but I don’t think I could ever upholster myself … I can’t wait to see your chair when it arrives.

    • I bet you could definitely teach yourself! You seem quite artistic and handy! I wouldn’t back myself to reupholster anything too complicated with a lot of curves but I *think* I could do something quite simple by myself now! x

  • RosieBaillie

    I love Joules also, their prints are stunning. I saw that yellow sofa on their website or in an email this past week and it looks beautiful. You’re right – you’d have to be brave to have it, but it would look amazing! It’s seriously cool that you got to upholster your own chair too.

    • I’d love to have a house where I thought I could work that sofa into it – maybe one day! I can’t wait for them to drop off my chair. I’m a bit nervous for Sam to see it! x

  • I LOVED following this along on instastories!

  • This sounds like such an interesting experience! Those prints are so beautiful, too – especially the green one with the little birdies! xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • This collection is divine, I think I could quite happily have every single Joules piece in my home, and you are SO lucky not only to learn how to upholster properly (I just taught myself from Youtube and intuition, but it’s far from beautiful yet) but you also get to keep the chair, and it’s a beauty!!! I’d like some home tours coming up please!! 😉 Alice xxx

    • I wouldn’t back myself to reupholster anything too complicated with a lot of curves but I *think* I could do something quite simple by myself now! The pros though…. gosh they were so incredibly skilled – it was amazing! x

  • What a neat experience! I really appreciate well-made furniture. If we ever need to replace our Ikea couch (and I’m sure we will), I hope to invest in furniture from a company that values quality. I dream of someday having a velvet forest green couch (our current color, which I love) or navy blue, but I have a sensitivity to fabrics and I think velvet would make my skin crawl. Nothing against the fabric, it’s just me. You’ll have to show us how your hand-painted fabric turns out! I love interior design & art. I used to have a collection of magazines with the best interiors. I wish I could find them again!

    • Our sofa at home is from Ikea too. 😉 Oh I’ve definitely read another blogger that has a beautiful vintage forest green sofa in her home- I’m just spacing on the blog name. If I think of it, I’ll let you know. I don’t like the way that leather furniture usually feels so I totally get it.

  • Bloody hell what an experience, I think I would suck at it

  • Cate in the Kitchen

    ADORING all of the yellow!