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Common Upholstery Techniques
Many of today's upholstery tools and techniques are the same as those used 200 years ago.
Ready to Start?
Many of today's upholstery tools and techniques are the same as those used 200 years ago, but with a few modern updates. Take a look as we demonstrate the step-by-step by reupholstering a chair, then try it on your own chair, wall, or headboards.
A clunky, outdated chair desperately cries for a fabric makeover.
The chair is stripped of its original fabric and the pieces saved and labeled. If needed, an additional layer of batting is stapled to the frame.
Make a Pattern
The old fabric pieces serve as the pattern for the new upholstery. They are laid right sides down on the new fabric and cut out.
Pin to the Chair
The pieces are pinned wrong sides out onto the chair. The pinned cover is removed and sewn together, with welting reinforcing the seams. The sewn cover is then put back on the chair.
Pleats are often used to ease fabric around curves. Gluing on a covered button hides the staples that hold the pleats in place.
Attach the Back
To attach a back panel, tack strips are stuck through the wrong side of the fabric at both long edges, about an inch in.
Tack the Fabric On
The tack strips are then flipped over to pull the back panel taut and make clean, straight edges. The tacks are hammered into the frame with a hammer that has a piece of batting secured around the head.
Attach the Sleeves
A sleeve of fabric is sewn for the chair seat and pulled on. The back edge of the cover is pulled through the opening between the seat and back and stapled to the frame.
Cover the Seat
The seat cover is also pulled tight and tacked to the bottom of the chair frame on the front and sides.
Skirt the Bottom
A lined, box-pleated skirt with welting is sewn. To assemble the skirt, layers are arranged on the chair, pinned in place, and sewn together at the top.
Staple the Skirt On
The skirt is stapled to the frame on the wrong side of the fabric, just below the seam.
Tailored, sophisticated, and elegant, this newly covered chair adds a stylish element to any room.
Foam cushion replacement project
Sofa foam cushion replacement project
This particular foam (in green) is 5" thick and is the exact thickness needed to duplicate the existing sofa/couch cushions. We took the sofa measurements to a local fabric store and the clerks were very helpful in determining which type of foam would work best for our replacement cushion project and how much to purchase. Once we brought the foam home it was time to pull the covers off, remove the netting (netting holds the batting in place), peel away the batting (batting is a soft pillow-top liner for the foam cushions) and trace our outline of the old cushion onto the new 5" foam.
Following the line we made with a colored marker, we used ( recommended by the experts ) an electric knife, the kind your mom used to use to carve the turkey or ham. I've always said to do any job correctly all you need is, " the right tools and a little bit of time". The electric knife cut through the foam like "butter", not to mention how easy it was to keep the knife at a near perfect right angle for the sides of the new sofa cushions.
Here is a shot of the old and the new foam (left) cushions side by side.
Next I took the batting and wrapped it around the top, front, bottom, and back of the new cushion. Then I trimmed off any excess so it was the same size as the foam piece.
The original netting I used again to hold the batting in place. I assume this is for two reasons. The first is that it will be easier to put the cover back on if the batting stays conformed to the cushion. The second is that the batting, over time, could move around as you use the sofa or chair creating lumps in the cushion if it weren't for the netting to hold everything in place.
Notice how the netting controls and conforms the edges and corners from their original right angle cuts.
Tucking the cushion into the fabric sleeve was not as easy as I thought it would be, but with a little effort.... The trick is to have the cover inside out and start with the extension of the seat cushion first and work the cushion to the back. As you are inserting the foam, adjust and even out the batting as you go.
Before you zip it up, butt the two ends of the batting together and adjust the netting for an even finish.
Compare the old with the new. First the old. This sofa needed the cushions replaced.
Not a huge visual difference, but when you compare the two by sitting on each of them, you can feel a major difference. The total time spent on the three cushions was about an hour and a half. Here's the finished product.
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