How to repair upholstery fabric

Written by brenda priddy
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How to repair upholstery fabric
Upholstery is usually repaired with a patch. (luxury furniture image by Andrejs Pidjass from Fotolia.com)

Upholstery is made from all different kinds of fabrics. Many upholstery fabrics are tough and tapestry-like, but others are thin and similar to clothes fabric. Both tough and thin upholstery may get torn at some point. If tears occur, it is important to repair them right away before they become even larger. There are two different ways to repair them.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Thread matching upholstery fabric
  • Needle
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Straight pins

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Instructions

    Seam Tears

  1. 1

    Check the upholstery to see if there is a zipper or some other method used to hold it in place. If possible, the upholstery should be removed from the cushion to make it easier to sew. Remove the fabric from the furniture and inspect the seam tear.

  2. 2

    Turn the fabric inside-out. Locate the tear and make sure everything is lying flat. Trim off any edges or threads that are raggedy or loose. Place the two sides of the seam together and iron them flat. If the tear is long, pin the two sides of the fabric together.

  3. 3

    Place the upholstery on the sewing machine base under the needle. Make sure the thread is angled toward the back of the machine. This will provide a better stitch. Sew the hole together, starting along an area that is not torn, for greater stability. Sew a little over the sewn side on the other side of the tear as well.

  4. 4

    Cut any loose strings. Turn the fabric right side out and put it back on the cushion. Replace the cushion to the furniture.

    Non-Seam Tears

  1. 1

    Use this repair method for upholstery that cannot be removed from the furniture or for non-seam tears in the fabric. Pull the two sides of the tear together and trim any loose strings or frayed fabric.

  2. 2

    Pull the ends of the tear together and turn the edges under slightly. It's helpful to have the edges of the fabric turned under so that the fabric will not fray and the tear will be more invisible. Match a thread to the colour of your upholstery. The threads will be somewhat visible, so it is important to have a colour match.

  3. 3

    Whip stitch the two sides of the tear together (see Resource 1). Make sure the knots on both sides end up on the inside rather than the outside of the fabric where they can be seen or become snagged on some other object.

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