I'm finally writing about this pretty camel back sofa I got last year, which went through a makeover. Now, I know this sofa is not perfect. I fully recognize areas that might be too lumpy or not pulled tight enough. Therefore, I must apologize to all of you perfectionists out there, but I'm just thrilled it's done and not looking half done. I am by no means a professional upholster. I upholstered a small chair a few years ago. I really wanted to bring this to an upholsterer but that darn budget forces me to take measures into my own hands, literally. I am so glad I did it. I had several friends come over and help me take this couch apart (I bribed them with lunch) and a good friend that helped me sew the cushion.
One friend who came over to help me said encouragingly, "Tracy, you just have to look at this as your practice sofa. Who cares if it's not perfect? Try your best and don't worry about it." Oh, how wise! These were just the words I needed to hear to get over some of my fears of upholstering a whole sofa, which sounded daunting sometimes. Actually, it's good advice for anything we do, especially in design. There has to be some trial and error and we learn from our mistakes which help for the next project that we do.
If you ever find yourself wanting to rescue that chair or sofa and you know you'll need to reupholster it, then know you can do it! You will need to have some determination, goals and band aids near by when you take that sucker apart.
The sofa project took a long time because it got put on the back burner with other projects several times. I hope to be able to explain some tips and things that helped me upholster the sofa. Every sofa or chair is different and I'll explain the things that helped me with my particular sofa.
Step 1: Find your vision and sturdy fabric
I had read how velvet is a wonderful durable upholstery fabric so I wanted to go with that type. Also, I knew I wanted to stick to something solid in color (as a beginner upholster). It would be difficult to match up stripes or a patterns.
Finding navy blue velvet was not common. I ended up finding some on Ebay for $12/yard.
This chart helped me know about how much fabric to expect. It's always a good idea to buy extra fabric than what it calls for so you can feel safe you have enough.
I looked up some You Tube videos and found this one most helpful here. Also, Jenny from LGN has some incredible upholstery tutorials. There are also several books out there that are helpful like this one, which I got at the library.
Step 3: Stripping the sofa
-flat head screwdriver
-a bowl (to collect staples) and band aids (it's easy to hurt your hands doing this part. You could wear work gloves.)
Save all your pieces of fabric and label them. You will use these pieces as your template for your new fabric.Also, save the welting/rope to reuse it for the welting. My little girls added some stuffed animal friends on the sofa to keep me company.
Step 4: Stapling the sofa:
-Air compressor with upholstery staples in the gun. This way it went fast!! (optional)
-the new fabric (cut pieces)
-Curved needle (I needed this in one section)
- I used cardboard for the front arm
- Fabri-tac adhesive
-Nail head trim (optional)
Curved needle sewing isn't as scary as I thought. If you have the right tools, things go a lot more smoothly.
Overall, I'm happy to have a piece of furniture in our library room now besides our piano. Someday, we will add side chairs and a small coffee table, but this room is baby steps to being done. It's good for the soul to try challenging, out of our norm projects and I'm glad I did.