How to repair sofa cushions that need filling

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to repair sofa cushions that need filling
Repairing sofa cushions is a doable do-it-yourself task. (Gary Houlder/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Sofa cushions often go limp over time and wear, causing the fabric cover to loosen and become more susceptible to tearing and harder to keep clean. The first step to repairing and maintaining the sofa is to remove the cushions and thoroughly vacuum the sofa. This will reveal if the support frame is in good shape and if there are any other problems that need immediate attention. Take the time to remove stains and steam clean the sofa and cushions so they will be in the best possible condition. Now is the time to refill the sofa cushions and make the final repairs.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • Quilt batting
  • Needle and thread
  • Iron patching material
  • Sewing machine

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  1. 1

    Insert a seam ripper into the bottom back seam of the cushion cover. A seam ripper is a small hand tool sold at fabric stores. It has a needle-like projection and a small hooklike feature. The longer needle side is slid between the stitches, and the bottom of the hook area cuts the threads. Carefully open the entire seam along the back side of the cushion.

  2. 2

    Remove the foam insert. If the insert is damaged or does not rise to a square shape, you may want to have a new foam insert cut at your fabric store. This is not expensive. Most inserts have collapsed or compressed, but still hold their shape. If the foam is stained, you can wash it in the bathtub or some large capacity washing machines. Use a gentle soap. Allow the foam to dry completely.

  3. 3

    Launder the cushion cover with a gentle soap using a gentle cycle. Air dry the fabric. Examine the cover carefully for rips or very thin areas where the fabric is badly worn. If you don't wish to sew a new cover, simply mend any tears and consider ironing a patch material to the back side of the worn cushion fabric.

  4. 4

    Place thick quilt batting on your work table. Place the foam cushion on top of the batting so it is centred by width. Pin the end of the batting to the cushion along one edge. Roll the foam over to achieve the foam thickness you feel will fill out the cushion. Trim excess batting along the sides. Use a needle and thread to tack the batting in place in all corners.

  5. 5

    Fold the foam in half and insert it into the cushion cover. Press the foam all the way to the end of the cover. Reach your hand up inside the cover and smooth the batting and edges. Repeat this for all sides of the cushion. Check the fit of the covered foam. The cushion should look filled, but not bulging. If you have used too much batting, remove the foam and remove some of the batting. Tack the corners and insert the foam again. Repeat until the cushion looks and fits well and all sides are filled out.

  6. 6

    Hand sew the cushion cover closed using needle and a matching thread. Keep your stitches small and discrete so your repair is not easily visible. Any joining stitch will work.

Tips and warnings

  • If you add batting to one couch cushion, you should also add it to all; thus, they will all look similar.

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