Upholstery repair is the process of fixing damaged furniture, including couches, chairs and sofas. While many homeowners attempt this project on their own, the job requires knowledge of specialized techniques and tools.
Before you begin your upholstery repair project, you’ll need to know how much fabric you’ll need. It’s a good idea to reference an upholstery yardage chart. It will help you estimate the amount of fabric you’ll need to cover your project, and can also help you avoid running out before the end of your upholstery project.
The first step in determining how much fabric you need is to measure the section of the chair you want to cover. This is usually the seat, but it can also be the back. The easiest way to do this is with a measuring tape. Using your measuring tape, measure around the widest part of the seat.
Once you have that measurement, use a ruler to measure the length from one front leg to the other. This should be about four inches longer than the seat measurement. This will give you a little extra fabric to use for hemming, seam allowances, crimping and smocking.
Next, cut a piece of graph paper to represent the upholstery fabric. Because each square on the graph paper represents 6 inches, this will allow you to use this number to determine how much fabric you need.
Alternatively, you can measure the total length of the chair and add it to the seat width. This can be a more precise method, but it is a bit more time-consuming.
After you’ve measured the entire chair, you can take a closer look at each piece of the upholstery. You’ll need these pieces for pattern making and to create the finished chair, so it’s important to mark each piece on the fabric with its name and location on the chair.
To make your own upholstery patch, cut a piece of heavy-duty fabric slightly larger than the torn area in the upholstery. Pin it to the torn area with a poultry skewer or an upholstery pin, then brush the patch with a thin layer of latex fabric glue.
Repeat until the entire tear is repaired. After the patch is in place, sew it on using a curved needle and rip-resistant nylon thread. Keep the edges of the tear folded under as you stitch, and don’t sew too close to the frayed edge. This will prevent future damage.
For more extensive repairs, you can use a sewing machine to stitch the patch into place. You may need to sew it several times, or you may have to adjust the size of the patch as needed. Once the patch is securely in place, you can add more poultry skewers or upholstery pins along the torn edge to hold it in place while the glue sets.
Another option is to coat the patch with a liquid seam sealant. This will help prevent frays and make the patch last a long time. It can also be applied over torn edges that have already been sewed, like corners or sides.