Sofa upholstery

12 Jan

I reupholstered my own sofa! Our 6 year old sofa was badly stained and the foam for the cushions became very uncomfortable.


  • new cushion with dacron wrap for around $100. I decided to replace the three cushions with one large cushion.
  • Fabric. This is the most expensive part of the project. My fabric was around $15/yard. I used 14 yards. The fabric would have cost less, but I cut it very inefficiently.
  • Sewing machine. I sewed all of this on a very simple Singer Tradition machine.
  • Upholstery needles for the sewing machine. Regular poly blend thread.
  • Buttons that can be covered with fabric
  • Cut to length zipper.
  • Long hand-sewing needles.
  • Upholstery tack strips (optional)
  • Staple gun
  • Something to mark your fabric like chalk.

The steps:

  1. Sew a new cover for the cushion with zipper. I used this tutorial.
  2. Strip the sofa of all old fabric. Figure out how it is constructed to get access to the back of the sofa. Save all pieces of cardboard or other hardware that you remove.
  3. Sew arm covers. Its very similar to making the cushion, but its only closed on two sides. Staple the bottom and back to the sofa frame.
  4. Sew the front of the sofa (the part you rest your back on).  I sewed a strip of fabric for the top/sides onto a rectangle for the front. I laid it in place and I stapled it to the back and sides. You could also skip the sofa and just fold/tuck the fabric in place.
  5. Staple fabric to cover the bottom front of the sofa.
  6. Make the fabric covered buttons. Sew through the entire sofa front so that they make nice little indentations. It is tricky to get them all lined up and evenly spaced.
  7. Reassemble the back of the sofa, staple as needed.
  8. Use the upholstery tack strips to attach the top of the fabric to the back of the sofa. Fold the sides in and then pull taught at the bottom. Staple in place. You could skip this tack strip if you sew the back to the top. I more or less did this but only used the tack strip on the top.
  9. Step back and reflect on the fact that you spent $300 and 5 or 6 hours to fix up a $600 sofa.


  • Do you REALLY need piping? Doing the piping added hours to my project.  If I ever do this again, I will skip the piping. It was a total pain. If you ARE going to do piping, I recommend using a double welting foot to make the piping.
  • Plan out all of the cuts to the fabric. I just cut as I went along and I ended up with lots of large (useless) scraps. Consider doing the back of the sofa with have a vertical seam or even two. I did mine as once piece and the back of the sofa alone cost $60 in fabric.
  • When ordering the cushions, measure your old ones.

My new sofa is really comfortable and I don’t think it looks TOO homemade. What do you think?

Before (when sofa was new)




2015-01-11 17.33.20


2015-01-11 17.32.15



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