Wednesday, April 10, 2013

DIY Sofa Reupholstery | Sources and Tips


Thank you again for all the super nice comments this past week about my sofa reupholstery job.  It's one of my favorite projects to date and I'm happy to report it survived its first real test with flying colors.

Ellie went running into the living room on Monday directly after drinking a berry smoothie and apparently rubbed her dark-purple-smoothie-covered-mouth on one of the cushions.  Once I recovered from my mini-stroke, I grabbed a wet washcloth and it came right off.  Just water, no hard scrubbing even.  So, I would totally recommend this fabric to any of you with messy little people living in your house!

Today isn't exactly a tutorial because any given couch will be a little different.  But I hope some of the techniques I used, tutorials I referenced, and materials sources might be helpful to you in small and big upholstery projects alike.

So, as a reminder, this is what I started with:


I know...ewwwww!

One BIG bonus to this sofa is that the arms are removable, so I was able to pop them off and work on the arms and the center separately.

Step one was stripping every last bit of leather off and then removing all the staples.  The tools I would most recommend for this part are a pair of very sharp scissors, a small flathead screwdriver (for prying staples), and a pair of needlenose pliers.


It can be kind of tedious but in the end it's worth getting all the staples out.  I had Pandora playing and it took me a couple hours to get everything stripped down.  There will be cambric (the black cloth underneath) that doesn't all need to come off.  Just pull out the staples at the edges where your new fabric will go under.

After that I worked on upholstering the base in my new fabric.  I wrapped and stapled across the front bottom of the sofa and across the back on both front and back, then re-stapled the cambric underneath where I needed to,  Like any upholstery project, you have to play with your fabric a bit to see how it lies best.

For the arms, you can see how I pleated and stapled them here (the front is on the left and the back on the right).

To finish the arms I cut two identical pieces of fabric with a rounded top and used brass nailheads to attach them to the fronts.



For the backs, I stapled the fabric on and them made double cord welting to cover the staples.


I worked about 8 hours straight the day I started and got the whole sofa stripped and the frame and arms finished.

To finish exposed edges I made single welting and stapled it to edge I needed to finish.


I held the fabric for the inside upside down and stapled the top right up against the top welt.



Then I used tack strips along the sides to seal the fabric down right up against the welt.


I sewed removable box cushion covers with welting and zippered backs for the three seats and flat back cushions with welting and zippered bottoms.


Tutorials I used to help me through this can be found here:


The fabric I used can be found here.

Have I missed anything??  If you have questions, please ask and I'll try to help.

Happy upholstering!

30 comments:

  1. Jen, beautiful work! Very impressive. Just wondering how many yards of fabric you ordered (and how much you actually used)?

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    1. I ordered 14 yards and used most of it. I might have been able to get away with 12 or 13 yards but did make some little mistakes along the way and was happy to have the extra!

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  2. Love it no I'm itching to upholster mine, mine is a similar one except its sectional . Any tips n removing the back cushions? - dee

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    1. If you're going to take it all apart anyway I'd just cut them right off! My original seat cushions were sewn to the frame but I made the new ones completely removable.

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  3. Love this so much! Truly! Your tutorial was so easy to follow!

    Thank you for inspiring me today!

    blessings,
    karianne

    PS Totally pinning!

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  4. This is incredible! We can't afford a new sofa but I'm inspired to reupholster the old one now!

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    1. That was kind of where we were...wasn't the right time to buy a new one and for under $250 (and a lot of work!) I was basically able to turn our old one into a new one!

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  5. WOW! A lot of work and it looks great! xo Kristin

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  6. So much work and I know your posts will come in handy when I finally tackle my chaise.

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  7. This is incredible!! I can't believe you reupholstered this!! It looks incredible!! Oh man, I want to tackle something like this now!

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  8. Wow, this looks fantastic! You did a great job -- I about poked my eyes out after two dining chairs!

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  9. So, so, so beautiful. Def. pinning if I ever work up enough courage to do this. Love the nailhead and the fabric! How did you secure the welting?

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  10. Great job you have did. I have also two sofas which are not useable, Now i will try to re posheh them. Your idea is very good and looking much easy. I will definitely try.

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  11. Wow! The sofa looks awesome. I have only re-covered dining chairs, but would love to reupholster our playroom sofa which has seen better days. Now you have got me thinking.... Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    Kathy
    http://pearlsinparadise.blogspot.com

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  12. It looks so professional. You truly did an amazing job!

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  13. I still can't believe you covered an entire couch! It seriously looks amazing!

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  14. Hi Jennifer. I just wanted you to know that I liked this so much that this project is one of the Friday Favs on my blog. Happy weekend! xo

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  15. Wow, I'm in awe of your talent and hardwork. Looks amazing!

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  16. I just pinned this - it makes me so excited to think about recovering my couch/chairs. I got an estimate to have it done, and it was going to cost between $5-6K for someone else to do it!!! My question is: how did you figure out how much fabric you needed? Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. That sounds like a crazy ripoff...you should be able to get a couch done for under $1000. I used this guide as reference for how much fabric to use: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-much-fabric-do-i-need-to-reupholster-this-172797

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    2. Thanks - I'll check into that!

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  17. Fantastic work!! I LOVE it and am about to do the same to my couch! Saw you feature in BHG and stopped by to check this out. Congrats on that!! Question, did you just glue the double welting on for the back of the arms?

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    1. Thank you for the congratulations! The feature was so thrilling for me and I think I'm still carrying the glow around :) You're right - just plain old hot glue to attach the double welt. I've also seen FabriTac used. Good luck!!

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  18. Did you have to use a sewing machine at all? I would live to do this to my couch but I don't know how to sew!!

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    1. Hi Lisa! Sorry to tell you that this is the most sewing I've ever had to do for a project! The frame was a no-sew part but the cushions all required lots of sewing.

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  19. Also love your rug and was wondering where it was from? Thanks!

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    1. I got it at Pottery Barn 6-7 years ago and I'm pretty sure they don't carry it anymore. It's a looped wool rug. I think they still have the same style but in different colors and patterns.

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