Saturday, February 4, 2012

Before and After Sofa Reupholster

Did you ever go to a thrift store and see a terribly ugly sofa that just called your name and said "recover me"? We did. Here's what we did about it.

This sofa was someone's pride and joy when they bought it in the 1970's.

So we're out thrifting. We find this sofa. It's ugly, but its bones are strong. It's about 7 feet long and seemed a good fit for our smallish house. We paid thirty five bucks for it in early 2011 and dragged it home. Here's what it looked like shortly after we got it home.

A little research and we discovered that will ship any amount of fabric for just under five bucks. Having never done upholstery before I decided we would opt for inexpensive fabric so as not to have lost a lot of money if things deteriorate and the stripped sofa frame goes out to the curb.

I ordered twenty four yards at five bucks a yard for a total of about one hundred and twenty five dollars for twenty four yards shipped. Not bad.

You experienced upholsterers are probably having a good laugh right about now. Twenty four yards? What were you going to reupholster? Your house? Yeah, okay I over did it by a few yards, but I didn't want to run out.

Right about here I should say I did not lift one finger to reupholster this sofa. I paid the invoices and left the creative to my wife, Wonder Woman. This is what I call her because I haven't found anything yet she can't do. When I say I did something that means me. When I say we that usually means Wonder Woman did it by herself.

So we started stripping off the old fabric. We only had this much advice - remove the back first, pull everything off without tearing it because you use the old pieces as patterns for the new fabric, and get a strong sewing machine. We did all of that. I'll tell you about our 1960 Singer Slant-O-Matic sewing machine, made in Anderson, South Carolina, another time.

We pulled the back piece off first and discovered cardboard. Not a high end sofa.

Under the cardboard was wide webbing in good shape.

The springs were still okay, but those legs had to go.

Here it is completely stripped.
Fast forward about 6 months. Patterns were cut and sewn, padding was purchased, old legs were sawn off, and poof! Almost new sofa.

I found some tapered legs at a yard sale for two bucks.

Upon close examination you'll see Wonder Woman in the background.

Here is what it looked like when we finally got it on the floor.

On the floor with new legs (that need stain), and waiting for new cushions.
I found a place that sold high end cushion foam cut to my specs on the internet. Two weeks later new cushion material arrived along with the black stuff that is always stapled to the bottom of furniture. You may never see it, but I know it's there and it does matter.

Here are the legs with stain. Now I'm not sure darker was better.

New cushion covers were made, zippers were installed, and everything came together just right to give our ugly old flowered sofa a new ten year lease on life.

We'll be back later with . . . more stuff.


  1. WOW!!! Your Wonder Woman is . . . WOW!!! I can't believe that is your first try at reupholstering! I'm so glad I stumbled onto your blog!

  2. On behalf of Wonder Woman, thanks. She uses power tools too.


  3. Holy SH*T!! That is an amazing first time reupholstering job! Kudos to WW!

    PS: You can thank Mr. Modtomic for bringing me to your blog. It's fantastic!

  4. Thank you,Mr. Modtomic for bringing Diana to the party.

  5. Thanks so much for leaving this link on my blog. That is totally frickin' amazing. Tell your wife I bow down to her talents. You're a lucky man. Well done!

  6. Wow! How many hours did that take you? The reupholstery job looks amazing!

  7. Thank you, Brandy. I'll pass on your compliment.


    It took about 60 hours over a period of about 8 months. But I think it was worth it.

  8. Amazing job! It looks fantastic. I'm blown away at how similar your newly upholstered sofa is to mine. Check it out in the sidebar of my blog if you're interested. It could be the same sofa!

  9. You're right, it's pretty close.

    If I'd known she was going to do such a good job, I'd have bought nicer fabric.

  10. That is totally impressive! I love it! She is a Wonder Woman! I wish you were local because I could give you some great leads.

  11. Wonder Woman, you ARE amazing!

  12. Wow. I am staring at my 9' version of your "before," and just wondering how, exactly...
    Very impressive!