Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reupholstering How To

Here is the FINAL part in my reupholstering adventure! I tried my best to break down what I did into steps - not every reupholstery project will have these steps and some might have even more!

This is the actual reupholstering of my love seat! 

Incase you missed the first few steps you can check them out here:
The steps all together are:

I honestly thought this day would never come! I gave my word to my husband, Z, that I would have it done in 90 days - I missed the mark but I DID have it done in 110 days. Im sure that I honestly could have done it much sooner but I took my time and didn't get started right away on it because I was a little bit  intimidated.

I had done all of my prep work before, the stripping it down, refinishing the legs, making the piping, and completing my tufting so that once I started I could just go for it. It is true that all of the prep work is easily 75% of the job - meaning that the actual process of reupholstering is isn't nearly as difficult as removing the old materials. As you will see I opted to replace all of the old foam and batting with new - in total I probably spent about $250 on ALL of my supplies, foam, and fabric. I used coupons from Joann's and was able to get great deals - especially on the 8 yards of fabric I needed. [And I borrowed tools- staple guns (yes I used three) and the staple remover from my dad]

Okay so here is goes: 

This is my starting point: I was lucky that it didn't have springs that would need recoiled. I just replaced the twine as seen along the edges of the springs.

Remember how you took ALL of those pictures?? Well this is where they will come in handy - I referenced them many times to figure out exactly how things were pieced together. I also wrote down [very quickly] when I took this apart - and I worked in reverse putting it back together.

I started with the arms:
Using the old fabric pieces I traced out new pattern pieces and labeled them:

Then I covered my arms in foam and then batting, putting the staples where they were originally. I used 1" foam for these parts and covered with quilters batting. 
Try to keep the batting as smooth as possible because the fabric is the next layer:
Since the pieces were cut to the pattern it only took a little finessing to get it pulled right in the right places.
For this chair the staples helped to create the curve of the arm.  Next I placed the fabric over the wing back portion of it. This fabric was stapled on the back of the chair.

The other side of the wing back:
Staple the fabric down - it will go thru the batting and apply piping along the curve:
Then I applied the curve ease with my staple gun. This I saved from the original chair because it was very small and still in good condition. This was a little tricky for my first arm but is really neat! 
Once that is secure now place the outer fabric piece. the part was stapled along the upholstery cardboard tack strip and then folded over and the top curve was tucked into the curve ease and lightly hammer down. Then staple along the back to secure the fabric. 

On any part of the love seat that used the cardboard tack strip - which helped to created clean straight lines and helped secure the fabric so the staples didn't rip through it- I sewed the tack strip to the wrong side of the fabric. I simply couldn't get it tight enough when trying to hold the fabric and the tack strip in place while stapling. This made it MUCH easier!

Then I stapled down the from of the arms - I played with the folds in the fabric a little bit to help distribute the fabric evenly.

This is what my finished arms looked like:

I added a thick canvas/duck cloth over the springs using my handy staple gun yet again. I found this fabric in the remnant bin at the fabric store for 75% off [which is why they don't match :)] But they wont be seen right?!

Using the old foam piece I traced it on to the new foam and cut out using our serrated kitchen knife. An electric knife would make a much smoother cut but no one had one to borrow. Baby as always like to sit on whatever I am working on <3
I placed the foam on the seat and covered with a thick 3/4 inch batting and stapled down.

And cover with your upholstery fabric:

The front of my love seat had a layer of piping right below the foam and then a strip of fabric attached using the tack strip
  I placed a thin layer of batting under the strip of fabric to create a softer edge against the wood and stapled along the bottom:
 Then another layer of piping to create a finished edge. I cut out a section of the piping to fit nicely around the groove of the leg:
Once that was secure I stapled the cardboard tack strip on top of the last layer of piping on the underside of the seat:

Just a quick glimpse of what the backside of the love seat looks like :)

Now it was finally time to place the tufted back on to the love seat. I just worked the fabric through the side and bottom slats and secured with staples and the handy dandy tack strip:
  (With a layer of piping of course)

Now that majority of the seat was complete I went back through my pictures and notes just to make sure that I wasn't missing anything. The last two steps - applying the sides and the back of the love seat will hide all of my other staples so I knew it was going to be a bit tricky.

The side pieces were stapled udner the curve of the arm, then used a real tack strip (also something I saved from the original) along the front edge to secure the fabric down with out showing any marks:

Following how the seat was put together I just pierced the strip through the fabric and folded over and hammered into the wood arm.  And stapled the fabric to the back and underside of the seat.

Once the sides were secure it was time to attach the back panel and hide all of this mess:

I cut fabric large enough to cover the entire back and stapled first along the top:
Then used the tack strips that were similar to the sides to secure the sides of the back. I was so focused on finishing that I didn't take pictures of that step. The tack strips were as long as the sides and I just pierced it thru the fabric and folded over and hammered down. 
Then I stapled along the bottom pulling the fabric tight:

And applied the dust cover:

Then.... TaDa!... It got moved into the house!! 

Z was quite happy to have the space in the garage again :)

The last last part was applying the nail heads to cover the staples on the front of the arms:
I cut out the piece using the old and ironed over the edges so it looked identical - I even applied interfacing just to help hold down the edges.

And then placed it and pinned it while I hammered in the nail heads:


I am SO happy with the finished result! Im not sure what room is will live in but I am just happy to have it in our home and it is even quite comfy to sit on! :)


  1. A lot of work went into that, and it was sooo worth it!! It's just beautiful!!

    I'm a day late, but visiting you from the Weekend Blog Walk. :)

    1. Thank you so much! Yes it was a lot of work but I am happy with the result! Have a good weekend <3

  2. Wow! You are impressive and amazing! I have a few things I'd like to reupholster - will have to come back to this post :)

    Found you through the Blog Hop - now following via GFC, excited to read more!


    1. You should definitely tackle your reupholstery projects, once you get started it is way easier to understand! Good luck!! <3

  3. What a project! I can't believe the transformation :o)

    Glad you joined us at the CHQ Blog Hop! Hope you've made some new bloggy friends tonight! Happy Thanksgiving!
    xo, Meredith @

  4. Wow! That is a really ambitious project, I'm not sure I'd want to tackle something so big, but it turned out beautiful!!

  5. Hi there! I just found your blog via the "An Aloha Affair" blog hop! I love your step by step reupholster. I've only reupholstered chair seats, so this is quite helpful!

    Project Lovegood

    1. Thank you! I honestly could have broken it down even more there was so much to do! Have a great weekend! <3

  6. You are fearless! What an awesome project. I have a Duncan Phyfe settee and the fabric to reupholster it but I've been waiting for a few years to do it because I'm scared! Kudos to you for simply going for it. Awesome!

    1. You should totally get started!! Honestly once you start taking it apart and documenting it starts to all make sense! AND the reupholstering is easier than the tearing it apart! Good luck!! <3

  7. Incredible. (Both the outcome and the fact that you were willing to give it a go). Enjoy your new fabulous seat.

  8. Wow! You truly gutted that thing, didn't you?! I cannot believe how great it came out...good for you!!

    Thanks for partying with us @ Keep Calm & Link Up! Have an awesome week :)
    xo, Meredith @