Having done a few different DIY Upholstery projects in the past, I know from experience that my favorite place to start recovering anything is to cover the lower front of the couch, removing the seat cushions.
First I sewed the new decorator fabric at the seam connecting the plain fabric and the decorator fabric. This is where that curved needle we talked about in the last post comes in handy. I just did a simple whip stitch after folding the fabric at the edge, to hide the raw edge. This helps to prevent fraying. I tried to make my stitches small and close together. I also let my kids practice their whip stitches . This part of the couch will not be visible so it didn’t really matter.
Next, I staple gun the bottom of the fabric to the bottom of the couch. I find this works better if you roll the fabric slightly so that the raw edge is hidden. I also added some of these cute upholstery tacks to dress up my diy upholstery project.
After doing the front, I did both arm rests. I started by stapling the bottom of the fabric to the bottom of the couch. After flipping the fabric up and over the arm rest, I tucked it into the seat area of the couch. With this couch, the fabric tucked in very firmly. If it didn’t, I would have either stapled it or hot glued it in place.
The fabric will be overhanging the arm rests. This is because I’m going to roll up the extra fabric to cover the fronts of the arm rests. In this case, A piece of wood (from the original upholstery job) covered in our new decorator fabric was nailed into place over the top of the folded fabric.
This is the most complicated part of the whole project, I think. I have found from doing this on several different couches or chairs, when it comes to the front of the armrests, I mostly wing it, and keep playing with the fabric until it looks right.
The other side of the arm rests (towards the back) were tucked into the back side of the couch on the interior side. rest of the fabric on the outside back was lightly basted to the back side of the couch. I basted it in place with some hand stitches to make sure that it stayed in place. I would cover it with the fabric for the back of the couch.
The next step was to start on the back of the couch. As you can see in the above photo, there is a slight curve to the back, so I folded in a couple of darts as I was attaching the fabric. I didn’t bother dividing it into three parts with cording as the original couch upholstery job was done. There was not much “shape” to the cushions, so I didn’t make much difference.
I again started by stapling the fabric at the bottom of the couch, before flipping the fabric back up and over. Fabric was basted into place on the front side, under the main back cushions. The seat cushions would cover any raw edge, so the basting was mostly just to hold it in place. The loose fabric around the armrests was tucked in closely, like the extra arm rest fabric.
Finally we had to cover the seat cushions. Those I sewed mostly by hand, or rather my girls sewed them by hand.
I found the easiest way to sew the seat cushions was to fold the upholstery fabric onto the seat cushions as if I were wrapping a present. There are other techniques that could be used such as sewing a box cushion cover, but I was shooting for simple. In the past, when I’ve sewed box cushion covers, I’ve invariably made a mistake that made me have to start again from scratch. Because I was using 10 year old fabric that I couldn’t buy extras of, I decided to stick with what I knew I could do without mistakes.
After folding (and pinning) the fabric as if I were wrapping a gift, we sewed the folded seams together using small stitches by hand. This as a bit time consuming but the results are wonderful. There are no apparent seams on any of the cushions that are visible unless you flip the cushion over.
Alternately, you could just leave them pinned on with safety pins.