Monday, February 20, 2012

My first sofa reupholster!

It is drop cloth month here at the Powell home. First I made some draperies for my Master Bed Room from bleached cotton off-white painters drop cloths.  After a few weeks of them being hung, I must say I am happy with the way they look!

Now that my confidence is up I thought I'd tackle a sofa we've had for 15 years. It was a well made roll arm from Eddie Bauer Home years ago, but the Belgian linen was intolerant of stains, kids and pets.

Not wanting to invest in new furniture for the sunroom, I like the look of the gray cotton drop cloths (from Duron), and the size and price was too alluring to pass up.  I spent $60 on two -- one is a 12' X 15' and the other for the cushions was 9' x 12'.

After washing them several times to remove the sizing and make them more pliable, I began by draping the fabric over the sofa, tucking it in the seat and arms to help me visualize the process.  I really didn't have a plan other than to staple gun the fabric to the frame and make cushion slip covers.  I am a fairly experienced seamstress, but have only made a slipcover for a Parsons Chair before...

 I was afraid to make the first cut of fabric, since there was so much excess, but with my husband's help, we just went for it.  He stapled the back and arms deep into the back of the seat and on the sides under the arms, and we cut big Vs of fabric away from where we tacked it temporarily....then we stapled the fabric to the underside of the frame both in the back and front.  At this point we could see real progress.

 I pleated the fabric as I rounded the back corners, tacking it in place.  We will use nail heads to finish over the staples.

I had to cut away excess fabric as I went, and folded over the finishing seam , then stapled it in place.

Archimedes, the cat, loved to lay in the puddles of fabric and on the couch every step of the way.

Next I took one cushion apart with a seam ripper, saved the zipper to reuse, and used the pieces as a pattern to cut out a new cushion.  I copied the old cushion exactly, although I did not do piping along the edges.   I also made 2 extra cushions that I will hand-sew closed some time in the future, for easy swap-out if need be.  This cushion project took an entire day.

Then I turned the sofa upside down and folded over all the seams and stapled them to the underside of the frame.

The final stage involved the front of the roll arms. This was very tricky.  I consulted my sister who has upholstered a lot, and she told me to make a cardboard pattern, put tacks thru it stretch the fabric over the tacks and then hammer it onto the front of the sofa…

  (cotton batting, cardboard pattern, fabric, paper pattern)

   Viola! The finished product!

I will post more pictures later but for now project accomplished!!  What a rewarding feeling... give it a try!



  1. I am impressed! Great job Nancy! This is on my list - upholstery class!

  2. WOW! I am so impressed with the finished product. Huge congratulations to you, my dear!

  3. Oh wow, impressive! Major props to you for sure.

  4. YOU ARE AMAZING! I am ever impressed by your ideas and abilities --- adore, adore, adore. (And everything looks so different!) I also very much enjoy the little snippets of a certain helper, Mr. P! (and a former cat friend too, haha)

  5. Love this! I have to recover a heavy, old but fabulous sofa too and this post made me feel much better about it! Thanks!
    Eliesa @

    1. Good luck Eliesa, just dive in, it's not as hard as I thought it would be!

  6. Wow, Nancy, Great Job.
    Can't wait to see more of your upholstery project.
    Thank you for stopping by at my blog.

    Julie x

  7. Wow, amazing job! Your sofa looks great, and I love the art above it! ps. I'm also from Virginia! (though I live in Illinois now)

  8. Amazing! I love the drop cloths -- kind of a durable linen look!

  9. This is so impressive--and I'm 99% sure there's no way I could do it :) Love that you were able to use drop cloths for this project. Thanks for linking up.

  10. I just did my very own couch reupholster, using this post as my tutorial and guide! This was so inspirational for me; I kept scaring myself out of attempting this project, but your lovely couch inspired me enough to give it a try. And I love it! So thank you so much for being my guiding light and sharing this project with us!

    You can check out my reupholster attempt here:

    I included your post within mine and doted on your lovely couch! :) Thanks so much again for sharing!


  11. I was looking for this idea with drop cloth! Thanks!

  12. Fantastic job ! I made a slipcover for my sofa but when washed it ripped where I couldn't repair it. After seeing your post I think it's time to re-upholster rather than more slipcovers. Thanks for sharing :).

  13. hi i want to know how many yard of cloth you use for that sofa i have the for the one you made it and its really nice and beautifull if you give me an idea i would highly appreciated thanks a lot my name is Josephine Acosta

  14. i have lot of old sofa that supposed to be were going to dump but when i saw youre blog its not to late to my own sofa i really love it the way you made a new sofa its amazing keep up the good work.

  15. Wow that looks fantastic !! Great job !!!

  16. So Exquisite-Lovely, Great Job!!!


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