Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Reupholster a Vintage Sofa Part 1

I have been wanting to reupholster this sofa for the longest time.

 (vintage sofa)

But I've been a little scaredy cat!
This was a craigslist find and I just loved it when 
I saw it. I had envisioned this for my photography business and use it as a prop. It would look gorgeous in a family pic.
like this:
 {fall photos: Patricia Martinez Photography McKinney Texas}

But then I also wanted to actually use it in my home.
I decided I may as well take a chance on it and upholster it myself. What did I have to lose except a really nice sofa, right?
So, I googled and youtubed how to do this.
It seemed fairly easy but complicated at the same time.
The first thing keeping me back was the cost of good fabric. Holy Cow! $25 per yard!! No thanks.
So one night as I was perusing ebay, I found fabric for REALLY cheap. I'm talking $53 for 15 yards of chenille!! This was it. I had to get it. 
It is the perfect color and the fabric is very durable. Remember I have three dogs and 2 boys and a NEW granddaughter :)
So I decided one cold night to go ahead and bite the bullet. I grabbed my camera and decided to video each step and also take pictures for me to put it together easier.
First thing is to gather the right tools.
Now this, vintage sofa was put together by thousands of upholstery tacks. My hubby recommended that I use his staple gun, which I did.
I saved the tacks though, and I am glad I did.
You'll see why.
I will try to tell you step by step. This will be part one.
Tools needed:
staple gun
upholstery tacks and magnetic hammer
upholstery needle and thread
fabric scissors
upholstery tack/staple remover
lots of patience :)
I'm so glad my friend loaned me her tool to remove all those tacks. It looks like this:

I strongly suggest you get this tool. And a VERY good staple gun.
So I gathered my tools and slowly began to pull off the decorative trim around the front and back of the sofa.
This was just glued on. I saved it so that I can use it to go by some new trim.
Next, I slowly removed the front of the backrest. I saved all the pieces and labeled them with painter's tape so that I could use them to make my patterns with the new fabric.

Now I moved onto the back. Keep in mind that you will be putting this back together in REVERSE.

I kept the batting up and as intact as possible by holding it in place with painter's tape.
I saved all the tacks in a little bowl just in case :)
I made note of how the fabric was held in place. 
Like the sides here, you can see where a big piece is brought over from the front and stapled to the frame.

Remember, I also took video of the steps I thought would be most important, and hence most likely for me to forget.
I noticed how some pieces were sown on to help keep in place

The fact that I made so many notes on my camera, REALLY helped as I did this all by myself.
After I removed all the pieces, I put them aside and had my mother cut out the patterns on the new fabric. I am not good at cutting and I knew I would ruin the fabric. My mom is a professional seamstress so she knows how to cut!
I also noted that in some areas, like the underside of the armrest, they had used a piece of cardboard to conceal the tacks.

I forgot to mention, the sofa has some decorative wood trim, so I removed that as well and labeled accordingly.
Tomorrow I will show you how I started to put it all together. 

In the meantime, don't forget about my Kohl's giveaway.
Enter here

Stay warm.


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Would you like to comment?

  1. You are so brave! I would never have the nerve to start pulling apart that lovely sofa. Can't wait to see what you do and would love for you to share at Fridays Unfolded!


  2. Thanks Alison! I actually got the hang of it pretty quick. It's not so bad. I'm getting bold and I think I'll do my wing chairs too!

  3. How did you get the wood trim off. I have redone a couch before but one I'm fixing to start has wood trim on the front like yours how does it come off?

    1. Hi M Vines
      I had to carefully pry the wood off it. You can wedge the staple remover tool and carefully lift it away from the sofa. You will see the nails come off with the wood. At the end I carefully tapped it back in.

  4. This gives me hope! Where is part 2? I'm excited to see your masterpiece. I sure am glad I came across your site.

    1. Hi: Thanks for stopping by. Here's the second part.


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