Reupholstering a Sofa

Whether it is due to age, a few pet mishaps, or relentless assault from the kids, furniture does not always age so gracefully. When your sofa has become worn, outdated, or simply does not mesh well with your décor, reupholstering a sofa can breathe new life into your old furniture while potentially saving a lot of money compared to replacing your sofa entirely or having it reupholstered by a professional. All it takes to do it yourself is a few tools, some basic sewing skills, and time.

First let’s look at the tools you will need to complete the process. While these may vary from sofa to sofa, a general list of supplies will include:

Photo by paintchipdiaries

• Staple or tack gun
• Chalk, fabric markers or colored pencils
• Sewing machine
• Fabric
• Replacement padding
• Needle-nosed pliers
• Scissors
• Measuring tape

After measuring your couch to determine your fabric needs, find a suitable replacement fabric for your reupholstering project. Keep in mind the wear and tear this fabric will be subjected to and any special needs you may require the fabric to have. Measure each part of the sofa and use these numbers to figure out a rough (generous) estimate of the amount fabric needed.

The first, and often most time consuming, step of the process is removing the old fabric from the sofa. Using a pair of needle-nosed pliers, remove the staples or tacks holding the existing fabric to the frame of the sofa. This will make it easier to remove the cloth without further damage, which will be important in the next step. You might want to mark the location of the pieces you remove with a fabric marker or take step-by-step pictures as you remove the fabric. This will provide an easy guide for re-applying the fabric later.

With the sofa stripped down, check the padding, supports and frame for damage. Tighten any loose springs and replace padding as needed. This will increase the comfort of your sofa and provide a cleaner final appearance.

Photo by paintchipdiaries

Take your old fabric pieces and lay them on your new fabric. Trace and outline of each part onto the new fabric. Allow an extra inch or so around the edge of the traced pattern when cutting to help compensate for securing the pieces. If your old fabric is damaged, consider tracing onto art tissue or newspaper before transferring to the new fabric. This will make it easier to compensate for any changes in the original fabric shape.

Attach your new fabric pieces to the frame of the couch. Start by securing the corners. While pulling the fabric over the couch, pull the fabric just tight enough to eliminate wrinkles. However, over-tightening the fabric increases the chance of rips and tears. Working from the corners of the piece towards the middle, secure the fabric using staples every inch or two. Repeat this process for each part of the sofa.

All that is left is to sew the cushion slipcovers. Simply remove the covers and split the seams. Trace these pieces onto your new fabric and sew the new covers. If you do not wish to re-use the old zippers, using buttons, snaps or loop-and-eye fasteners can offer the same benefits with easier sewing.

This is a guest article by Jurgen Heidenreich. He runs a German website about sofas, which features useful information on many types of sofas, including big xxl sofas and sectional sofas (called wohnlandschaften in German).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *