Perfectly crafted chesterfields built in the UK

How a Chesterfield is made

making an s.w. james chesterfield

The Chesterfields luxurious, deep buttoned style has become internationally recognised. At S.W. James we are proud and committed to supporting an English manufacturing institution.

The Chesterfields handmade manufacturing process has become a neglected and lost art. At S.W. James we are pleased to be keeping this art very much alive. Every element of your S.W. James is crafted by hand in our workshops.

Making an SW James Chesterfield sofa

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strength, style, comfort

Our goals are simple, how we achieved them are not.

To accomplish these three simple aims took years of testing and experimentation until we were satisfied with the results.

Every S.W. James produced comes with a Lifetime Guarantee* (see terms)
At S.W. James we hand build Heirlooms designed to last a lifetime. Our heritage would not have it any other way.

Solid wood framed chesterfields

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1- The Frame

All our frames are made of 100% Solid Beech. Some manufacturers will use cheaper cuts of wood to reduce production costs or even use a mix of wood in the frames. It could therefore be possible by clever wording to buy a part Beech frame with MDF arms. Every S.W James is manufactured with a 100% heavy duty Beech Frame, ensuring that the frame literally lasts a lifetime.

Expertly crafted sofas and chairs

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2 – Expert Craftsmanship

At S.W. James, we insist on creating every Chesterfield we make in the most original, time-honoured manner as possible. Every S.W. James is hand made using over 80 individual processes.
This is why you can trust your new S.W. James will be a piece of furniture that will live with you and only become better over time.

Incredibly comfortable sofas and chairs

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3 – Foam

Furniture must look good in our homes but must also be comfortable. What most people don’t know is that there are many many different types of foam that offer varying degrees of comfort and ‘return’ (the extent, speed & the amount of times that a cushion moves back into is original shape once you have stood up)

In general each S.W. James has 2.5 inches of foam wrapped around the frame and a further 3 inches of Vita Foam Ve28 155 Grey on top of that. Further reading can be requested if required. All foam is combustion modified high resilient foam, meeting all safety standards.

a perfect sit

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4 – Comfort and cushioning

At S.W. James no corners have been cut when it comes to the selection of the cushion fillings for our Chesterfields. We have worked very closely with cushion manufacturers to create a range of cushions for your seat base that will suit any requirement. At S.W. James we offer ‘Firm’, ‘Soft’ and ‘Sumptuous’ options for our cushions.

A lot of our competitors use cheaper fillings for their cushions such as fibre. Over quite a short space of time fibre starts to compact and the cushion loses shape and becomes less and less comfortable and is therefore not an option for our Chesterfields

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a lost art form

S.W. James Chesterfields are handcrafted by a small team of seasoned expert tailors working from production houses based in Greater Manchester, UK. At S.W. James, we insist on creating every Chesterfield in the most original, time-honoured manner possible and every S.W. James is hand made using over 80 individual processes.

Only the finest handpicked fabrics and leathers

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5 – Fine upholstery

Every leather and fabric chosen for the S.W. James collection has been hand-picked by us and has had very little in the way of treatment. Our leather is as they say in the industry ‘Closest to the cow’. Meaning that every leather hide that comes into our factory is of the highest quality possible, requiring minimal treatment and correction.

Selecting the perfect leather and fabric ranges to represent S.W. James has been a true labour of love. We have spent countless hours perfecting our choices. At S.W. James, we are famous for our use of luxurious materials and our belief in firmly honouring design, craftsmanship and traditional methods.

Uniquely hand crafted to perfection

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5 – The Hand crafted details

At S.W. James our meticulous handmade manufacturing process makes every Chesterfield we create, unique.

The detailing added to the Chesterfield throughout the handmade production process defines its character. From the pins and piping to the stitching & studding. Each S.W. James in our range is meticulously crafted.

The buttoning on every S.W. James is painstakingly completed at the hands of master craftsmen. These craftsmen have been hand making Chesterfields for decades.
Buttoning in such manner is becoming a dying art in the furniture industry and is a very physically demanding job. There are now very few people who have the skills to do this properly. Doing this by hand rather than on a machine is the only way to ensure that each and every button has been inserted deep inside the sofa correctly and firmly so that the sofa will last a life time.

Every stud on an S.W. James Chesterfield is tacked by hand. This is done one at a time to get an authentic feel and spacing. This is an incredibly painstaking task. Over 700 finishing studs are applied by hand to complete a 3 seater Chesterfield to the S.W. James standard.

To help understand some of the terminology used above we have put together a helpful little dictionary & illustration – click here to see it.

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the devil is in the detail

When every S.W. James has been completed, our production manager runs over the finished item and completes a rigorous sign off process. Nothing leaves the production floor if it’s not 100% perfect and ready to be moved into the shipping process

Talk to the team at S.W. James

The S.W. James Team

we’re here to help

We know ordering your own handmade Chesterfield or vintage sofa is a very personal decision and we know you will have questions before you decide to choose an S.W. James of your own. We are here to help, and we work closely with you throughout every step of the production process to ensure you are 100% happy with your new S.W. James when it arrives in your home.

We’re a passionate team and we love to talk about our Chesterfields and vintage sofas. As a result, if you have questions before you order, or at any point during production, just ask. You will always talk directly with Warren and the other business founders.

Call the team today for a friendly chat on

+44 (0)161 359 5462

Or email Warren and the team by clicking here :

Our office hours are Mon- Fri 9am to 6pm, Saturdays 10am to 6pm, Sundays 10am to 4pm. Feel free to call any time. If the office is closed just leave a short message and we will call you back as soon as possible. Alternatively email us any time you like.