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sofa re-covery

From Habitat magazine - issue 01

Step by step instructions to re-cover a sofa

You’ll need:

  • Old chisel or screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Staple-gun or fabric tacks
  • Chalk
  • Fabric
  • Gimp or studs
  • PVA glue or gimp pins.

Upholsterer: Peter Derbyshire. Fabric: Alderbury Straw from Textilia. Gimp: Potential by Pamela

Step 1 measure Step 1
Measure all upholstered parts of the furniture to a few centimetres past each edge, from front to back and side to side.
Step 2 roll out fabric Step 2
Unroll fabric and ensure weave is running towards you. Measure up fabric for panels and mark cutting lines with chalk. Cut fabric. If using striped material, ensure stripes on back will match stripes on seat.
Step 3 remove old upholstery Step 3
Remove all old gimp, upholstery fabric and tacks with hammer and chisel, working away from furniture frame so as not to damage it.
Step 4 check webbing and springs Step 4
Check that old webbing still supports springs. If adding webbing, nail it to one side of frame, run it across base of sofa, wrap around small block of wood, stretch onto frame and secure. Always cover base, even if with calico or an old sheet, to contain any dust from the wadding.
Step 5 check wadding Step 5
If wadding has become unevenly spread, dacron can provide an interim solution to re-padding. Lay across seat, pulling through to back, and trim to size.
Step 6 check fabric Step 6
Find middle of new seat fabric and check pile direction to ensure it’s the right way round. Temporary tack at front, pull through to back and temporary tack. Start to tack into place, pulling firmly, so there is an even tension. Leave corners until last.
Step 7 do the corners Step 7
For rear corners, fold fabric in a triangle away from post and cut down the middle to a couple of centimetres from where the post meets the seat. Pull tightly around the post and tack. For front corners, fold in a rectangle and cut on an angle to where the arm meets the seat. Pull tightly around the post and tack.
Step 8 trim fabric Step 8
If stapling, trim away excess fabric with Stanley knife. If tacking, trim fabric quite close first, then double edge over before tacking for a tidy line. Treat arms as above.
Step 9 apply gimp Step 9
Ensure gimp is the right way up. Measure out slightly more than required for each run, starting from a corner. For close-woven gimps, use tacks or glue; for more open gimps, use glue. Double over end of gimp and secure, then attach along length or around panel. Guide gimp gently around corners, rather than folding it over.

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