Ask an Upholsterer

Do you have an upholstery question, need help, advice or professional support on an upholstery project. With 48 years of furniture upholstery experience, I may be able to help. My name is Joe Gramm, owner and upholsterer at Cape Cod Upholstery Shop. Submit your upholstery questions at the bottom of the page and I will try to answer them from a professional upholsterer’s perspective. Please allow a day or two for my reply.

To help me answer your questions, please include a link to photos of your upholstery project. Use a service like Dropbox or Google+  and include the link with your question.

4,107 thoughts on “Ask an Upholsterer

  1. Hi
    I am starting my first ever upholstery project. I took apart an old chez lounge which was my grandmothers. The edge roll is a very stiff rawhide type material. I found the name of the product which is Ring-Fast by Flex-O-Lators. I cannot find the product online. Could you tell me where I could purchase this or the equivalent? Thank You!

    • I would highly recommend you contact your local upholstery shops to see if they have in stock the Flexolators. I could direct you to a few places that sell them, but the problem is the shipping costs. All the shippers, UPS, FedX, etc, changed how they price packages to more of a size pricing in addition to weight. Flexolators are 96″ long. So you pay for a 96″ package to be shipped. I have been quoted by my main upholstery supplier that shipping on a package of 12 Flexolators would be $128, just for shipping. Is I would check with your local upholsterer.

      If you want to know where you can buy them besides locally, Check here at Albany Foam & Supply.

  2. HI JOE. CAN YOU OFFER AN ADVISE. I HAVE A BRAND NEW SOFA THAT WA BROUGHT IN BY ETHAN ALLEN. WHILE CUTTING THE PLASTIC COVER, I BELIEVE THAT THE MATERIAL WAS ALSO SLIGHTLY CUT. I REFUSED THE DELIVERY AND REQUESTED FOR A NEW ONE. I WAS INFORMED THAT THE UPHOLSTERER HAD PUSHED THE MATERIAL UP AND YOU NO LONGER SEE THE PROBLEM. I DONT THINK THIS FIXED THE PROBLEM THOUGH. I AM CONCERN THAT AFTER CERTAIN YEARS, THE THREAD WILL LOOSEN AS IT HAD BEEN DAMAGED. ISNT THIS CORRECT. SHOULD I NOT GET A BRAND NEW PORTION OF THAT SOFA?

    • You don’t indicate where on the sofa the rip is, how big it is, etc. So I can’t tell you if what they did for the repair will be good enough.

      Generally, if the sofa was damaged at delivery, I would ask for a new sofa. Or, the ripped piece should be replaced, not stretched so it’s out of site.

  3. When I re-upholster my dining chairs, is it even an option to convert these from drop-in to springs,?
    I *think* it should be possible but would have to add a bit of wood behind the front for tacks, as the very front edge has decorative routing. I was thinking to secure the extra wood to the corner supports for a drop seat.
    The other factor is the set is 90+ years old, mahogany. They seem in good, stable condition. I’ve been thinking I’d have a furniture restorer take a look at the wood first, then do the seats myself one way or the other. I’ll send photos if i can of the seat bottom.

    My second question is will a bond with spray adhesive between two pieces of latex foam be as durable side by side, as one on top of the other?

    • If you could link to a few photos it would help. I’m trying to visualize your project. You have dining room chairs that have what I call loose slip seats. The seats, vs sitting on top of the chair frame, instead drop into the chair frame, leaving the edge of the chair frame surrounding the slip seat. It sounds like you want to convert the seats from being loose to securing the seats to the frame and adding coil springs.

      I would still keep the concept of the seat being a drop-in seat. I would simply (but not really simple) web the top of your slip seat and attach the springs to the top of the seat. Do your padding and upholstery. Drop the seat in and attach it from the bottom to the corner blocks.

      You will most likely need to lower the corner blocks to adjust to the new height with the springs. Make sure your corner blocks are all level to each other so the seat sits properly.

      Is that generally how you see the project.

      • Lol, I have pics but am not familiar with Dropbox. Can I email them?
        I believe the seats do sit on top though, I think the corner supports are just interior corner supports. The set does look well constructed generally.

        • Sorry for the delay. Right now I’m not offering email support. Unfortunately the version of WordPress I have for the blog does not allow for photo or video uploads via the application. So Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple iCloud Drive, Etc are the best options.

  4. Hello, First thank you very much for answering questions.
    I am in the process of reupholstering a sofa with a curved end. The original had buttons, not tufted, and under the cotton is horsehair. My dilemma is where to start attaching the fabric to this inside curve, the top, at the side, or in the center. Do I attach the fabric then add the buttons or start with the buttons, as if I was tufting, and then finish to the edges. I have marked the button positions using the old fabric as a template to keep with the original design. Do you recommend tying them off with batting, as they were originally tied, or stapling the twine to the frame as I’ve seen on some online sites? Do you feel that the buttons are needed because of the curve and not just decorative?
    Thank you
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4vr1nfx221xpdl4/AAAucfzEHDuFIA8MxBvG5JxMa?dl=0

    • Buttons go in after the fabric is on. I usually tie them off with batting. Staple to the frame as needed only or if the buttons need to pulled deeper. As for the buttons being needed, you can decide this once your fabric is in place. If you are wrinkle free at that point, you could consider leaving the buttons out. Otherwise put them back as with the original.

      Start in the center with your fabric and evenly work from the left and right of the center to the sides. Your goal when you get to your sides is to have all the stretch out of your fabric so you can simply lay in the sides without puckers.

      In one of your photos it looks like your batting is stapled to the tack rails. I would recommend against this as you are creating a bulky area to staple your fabric too which usually results in puckers.

      • Thank you for clarifying things and giving me a starting point. I will decide on the buttons after the fabric is in place like you suggest, maybe I won’t need as many. Thanks too for the advice on the batting, lucky for me I only have it tucked in :), I hate pulling staples!!

        • I don’t like removing staples either especially when they brake. Just keep your batting away from where you staple and your fabric should look nice and smooth. Remember as you move left and right of the center to keep removing the stretch in the fabric.

  5. Hello there! I just had my grandparents’ wing back chair reupholstered. It cost me $600 to have done. The chair was stripped down to the frame when I gave it to the reupholsterer. They supposedly used springs instead of those zig zag rods for a better quality seat. But there is absolutely nothing between the fabric and the wood frame all around the chair! There is very light padding on the arms and a bit more in the seat but nothing in the back of the chair and if one sits in it the fabric is the back support! And they even added requested buttons for tufting in the back but they are just sewn on, not tufted because there is nothing between the fabric and the frame. So disappointed! I am having them re-do the job since I have some leftover fabric but what kind of padding should I specifically request? This chair originally had some kind of cotton batting (thick) and horsehair and webbing. I know everything is foam now so what type of foam? Is there something specific? I am so disappointed, but they said they never got a stripped down chair and thought that was how I wanted it.

    • A good upholsterer would know how much padding to use. The basic idea when replacing padding is to use about the same amount of thickness with the new padding as with the old padding. I would say from your chair style, about 2″ of padding for the back and arms. That’s just an estimated amount. All foam in any area of your chair should have a layer of batting over the foam.

      The seat height from the floor to the top of the seat should be 18″-20″. Measure your seat height and you’ll know if the amount of padding amount is correct.

      May I ask what region of the country do you live. The price you paid, $600, is not a lot of money to have the chair stripped down to the frame, new springs and padding as compared to what it would cost here on Cape Cod, MA.

      • Hi there Joe,

        I live in Central Pennsylvania (State College where Penn State University is located) and the chair was taken by a friend to Williamsport, PA to be reupholstered. I paid $300 for the fabric (I think it was 6 yds) and $300 for the job. The chair was in a stripped down state when it was given to the friend. He brought it to the reupholstery company and they didn’t have to do anything to it, it was just a wood frame. That is the reason they said they didn’t add padding, because there wasn’t any on the chair to begin with. The seat height is 15″ from the floor to the top of the seat. They said they will re-do the chair, since I have extra fabric, to my satisfaction and at a price that will be satisfactory for all parties. I sure hope so. I just can’t believe professional upholsterers wouldn’t know to put padding in a chair. And I can imagine the cost would be so much more on Cape Cod. I used to live in Bergen County, NJ outside of NYC and prices for reupholstery were very high. Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. I will send you a picture when the chair is redone. Thank you!

  6. Hi Joe, Hope you are well?
    Could you give me a little advise please? My customer says the sofa he has (for 3 years) is too hard and when sitting on the sofa for an evening he feels like he is sitting it through to the bottom. I have looked at the foam inside the cushions which seems to be Extra High Density but covered (not wrapped) with a very thin dacron only on top and no inner covering (I could feel a slight indentation from the buttox in the middle of the foam when running my hand over it), the base of the cushion cover is covered in a very hard fabric (looks like speaker felt – if I can explain it like that) I think this would have an effect as there is no play in the cushion underneath. The decking seems to be the same fabric.
    I then thought maybe its the deck which didn’t have springs as the customer said he thought it was just wood, but he sent me pic’s and I can see it has sinuous springs. I cant think of anything else that would cause the foam to feel so hard – except now I wonder if the foam is the problem after all. Would you have any suggestions? Dont forget our foam and products here in Africa are not of the same quality as USA. Your help is always appreciated.

    • Hi Charmain,

      Part of the problem may be the sinuous springs as they are notorious for poor support. I don’t know what extra high density foam is. Here in the USA, foam is rated by density and compression. The better (best) high density foam has a rating of 2.6 density. Compression is the soft(27 lbs), medium(35 lbs), firm(45 lbs) feel. So if you are able to find foam that is 2.6 density and a compression between 35 and 45lbs, you are getting good quality foam.

      The fact that your customer feels like he is sitting thru to the bottom and the cushion has an indentation, leads me to believe the main problem is the sinuous springs.

      • Hi Joe, Many thanks for your reply it is greatly appreciated. It actually makes sense regarding the springs as they could be cheap quality as with the foam.
        Ahhh, THE FOAM, well, I can try check what density & compression it is, but guaranteed it’s NOT good quality, in all probability from China.
        Thank you for your explanation regarding the foam density & compression, I think for the first time I actually understand it.
        Best Regards
        Charmain

        • How and where do you get your foam. Ask the vendor if they can get you the specifications on the foam. My guess is the foam you’re getting has a density of 1.8 or lees. Less than 1.8 density would not be suitable for seating as it would quickly fail.

          Here in the states, most new furniture has a seating foam density of 1.8 and doesn’t last very long. The worst is when people purchase new furniture with the seat cushions attached. The foam is usually cheap foam and when the foam fails, usually with a few years depending on usage, it can not be replaced because the cushions are not removable.

          • Hi Joe, sorry I haven’t been online for a bit again. I have to get my foam locally (Now in Swaziland) The manufacturer doesn’t know the actual density/compression – (He says they don’t work on a density figure, they just work to a formula of Low Density/Medium Density/High Density & Extra High. Very frustrating. The only way for me to make sure is to do the density/compression test myself. This is a quote from one of the manufacturers in South Africa – “Foam mattresses have many advantages, yet the foam needs to be of high quality. We offer standard foam mattresses in various widths and a length of 1880 mm. They also come in various densities, ranging from the low densities, such as the budget and economy mattresses, medium densities, which include the Ezee Sleep and Comfort Sleep mattresses and then our high density mattresses that are available on request. Our standard foam mattresses are covered in an envelope Stitch Bond Fabric” –

            So this is what we are dealing with in Africa.

            My client was so frustrated with the couch he had, he has now decided to buy another lounge suite, I can only hope he looks carefully at what he is buying.

            I would like to thank you again for all your knowledge which you selflessly give back to people like me. Thank you Joe

            • My guess is this in terms of density:
              Low Density = 1.2 Density
              Medium Density = 1.5 Density
              High Density = 1.8 Density
              Extra High Density = 2.6 Density

              1.8 and 2.6 is what you want to use for upholstery seats and backs. Soft compression for backs, medium-Firm compression for seats.

              There is also the possibility that the supplier is using the word density when they should be saying compression. The low to extra high could mean soft, medium, firm, extra firm.

              Ask the supplier if they are willing to give you samples of each density.

            • So it sound like you go directly to the foam supplier to get your foam. If that’s the case, you can feel the foam before you buy it.. Feel each density and see if you can feel a difference between them.

              • Hi Joe,
                Are you familiar with reupholster fabric on wall? My client wants to renovate lobby wall and also somehow adding sound proofing/absorbing on the wall too. What will you use as padding under the fabric? I don’t think I can use Dacron because it doesn’t comply with the building code for fire retardant. Please see Enclosed picture samples. I feel a piece of 1.5” wood along perimeter on wall and look under the double welt has staples. Any suggestions ? ThAnk you very much.
                ( you may have to go to iCloud.com to download picture if this link doesn’t work. But it should work)

                https://share.icloud.com/photos/0SNk1hY6zp-XoiTESd79mmxqA

  7. Is it possible to just replace the tops of removable leather sofa cushions (with fabric) keeping the welting and the sides in leather or should the entire cushion be recovered in fabric?

    • It is possible, depending on how the cushions were constructed. Be careful not to rip any of the leather you are keeping, especially in the stiching area. Normally, the welting is sewed to the cushion top first, then the boxing to the welted top. You should start by trying to remove the boxing from the welting. Then remove the welting from the cushion top. If you are careful, you may be able to re-use the welting.

      Cut your new fabric top the exact size and shape as the leather top.

  8. Can #16 cotton kitchen twine be used to tie down springs in the reupholster of a chair base? Or does it need to be something different, and why?

  9. Hi Joe. I am recovering tufted back cushions on a dining room bench seat for my daughter, but she doesn’t want the tufted look any longer. What do you recommend before recovering so the indents don’t show? Should the buttons be removed?

    • At the very least, fill in the button holes with cotton batting, making the holes as even with the rest of the back as possible. You can spray a bit of adhesive into the button holes to make the batting stick better, but the spray adhesive is an option. Then you’ll want to cover the back with an additional layer of either batting or 1/2″ foam with batting, etc. Then your finished fabric.

      At the most, all new padding, equal in thickness to the old.

  10. I am making a button tufted ottoman 42: x 42″ x 18″ H. I’m using 3″ foam and have calculated a minimum of 71″ wide fabric. However, the fabric the client has chosen only comes in 54″ W. I was wondering if I could sew up two panels to the proper width and then run the seam down the center?

    Wyatt

    • Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I was away on vacation camping up in the White Mountains in New Hampshire with very spotty internet.

      Putting a seam down the middle will not look good. You will need to do either of these two options for the best results:

      1) Go as far as you can with the tufting with the 54″ width and simply continue with a new piece of fabric to finish the tufting.

      2) Determine how much width you will need to complete the job and create a seam that will conform to the location of your buttons. This way the seam will be hidden in the tufting.

      Hope this makes sense. Let me know if you have questions.

  11. Hi Joe, when making a cover for a one-piece flat sofa cushion should the box strip of fabric be cut with the grain just as the top and bottom, or against the grain of the fabric? Thank you!

    • Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I was away on vacation camping up in the White Mountains in New hampshire with very spotty internet.

      The boxing should match the direction of the top and bottom cushion.

  12. Hi Joe! I’m redoing the foam and batting in my 20 year old purple couch cushions (2 cushions). I looked online, asked Joann Fabrics, and read all the posts and comments on your blog dating back to June 2016, but I cannot find the answer to my question.

    I’m confused what size foam I should order and what thickness and kind of batting I should order based on my measurements. I measured the cushion as is and I also measured the foam in the cushion because I read you can do it that way as well. But the discrepancy of the two measurements (the cushion and foam) complicates my decision-making. Im not sure if this helps or not but my couch is big and comfy, and must be high-end quality for as much as I paid for it 22 years ago.

    Cushion measurements — 5 1/4” x 25 3/4” x 34”
    Actual foam measurements — 4 3/4” x 23 1/2” x 31”

    Thank you in advance!

    • Sorry for the delay getting back to you. I was away on vacation camping up in the White Mountains with very spotty internet.

      Strange measurements indeed. I can see why you’re confused.

      I would take one critical measurement before you order foam. On your sofa, measure the distance from one inside of the arm to the other, paying attention to measure approximately where the cushions will meet the arm. Once you have that measurement, divide it by two and that should give you the approximate width needed for your new foam. Based on your cushion measurements the width divided by two should be around 34″.

      Your actual foam must have been wrapped in a substantial amount of batting in order to make up for your cushion measurements.

      What type of feel are you looking for in a new cushion. Do you want the cushion to be relatively flat or have a crown.

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me!

        Who needs internet while camping? 😃 Hope you had a wonderful time!

        Yes I’d like a crown but I guess it would be a medium crown. I’ve seen big, firm crowns and no crowns on couches. It *was* a lot of batting! The batting measured 3 1/2” after I peeled it from the foam.

        My measurement from arm to arm about where the cushions begin is 69 1/4” so now I’m more confused lol. I still have one cushion intact and remeasured it again and got the same measurements.

        If I divide that new number in half and buy that length foam, what thickness batting do I need and do I get the bonded Dacron?

        Thank you!!

        • Here is what I do for a standard cushion without any kind of special instructions from a client. For a cushion with a finished 3 1/4″ boxing, I use 4″ foam completely wrapped in 1.0 oz stitched dacron. Depending on the cushion or the type of fabric, I may add a layer on the top of the cushion of 1/2″ or 1″ bonded dacron.

          More foam will hold up better than more dacron. So in your case with a 5 1/4″ boxing, you could use either 5″ or 6″ foam. 6″ foam I would use 1.0 oz stitched dacron with maybe a layer of bonded dacron. If you use 5″ foam simply use more dacron to make up the difference, like a layer of 1″ dacron top and bottom then completely wrapped in 1.0 oz stitched dacron.

          Keep in mind an option you have is to bring your cushions to a local upholsterer and have them stuff the cushions for you.

  13. I am finishing upholstering the back of a chair that used ply grip to attach the fabric to the top. I removed the ply grip and it is pretty bent up, but I think I may be able to reuse it. Would you recommend this, or must you always use new?

  14. Hi, What is your opinion on “best” outdoor cushion construction? 1) Fast dri / dry foam vs. foam wrapped in a water resistant wrap vs. something else. 2) What type of fabric, sunbrella, sunbrella rain, other? Thank you.

  15. Hi again, I previously posted June 24 regarding help needing a fine wire staple. You graciously responded with BEA #7 1” nose. Can you be more specific? Is #7 part of the 71 series? I went online and just don’t have enough information to find this stapler. I did find a BEA Fine Wire 22 gauge 3/8” stapler for 71 series or Senco C style staples. If your description was a little more detailed maybe I can find it online. Thanks so much.

    • With all due respect, I can not get more detailed than I already have.. I gave you links to the #7 stapler I use in the shop. I’m not a staple gun expert. Instead of relying solely on my information, I would call both BEA and Senco customer support and you could get the exact information you’re looking for. That’s what I would do. Please keep in mind I’m an upholsterer and and not a staple gun company.

  16. Hi Joe. My name is Robert. I am in process of starting my upholstery shop. I was hoping to get some advice on how to deal with collecting state taxes. Is it true that if I buy materials from my local upholstery supplier and I don’t get charged taxes on that material, am I supposed to then apply taxes for that material upon completion of the upholstery project to my customer’s invoice? Also, do I apply taxes to services such as upholstery? If I don’t add any materials to a project and the customer supplies the fabric, and I only use my labor or services to complete the project, is it exempt from sales tax? Your help would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Robert

    • Hi Robert, every state is different. If you are starting the business in Massachusetts, These are the sales tax regulations for an upholstery shop. See Sections (3) & (5e).

      If you don’t live in MA, you’ll need to check with you state’s sales tax regulations as I’m only familiar with MA.

      If you live in MA, these are the answers to your questions:
      1) Is it true that if I buy materials from my local upholstery supplier and I don’t get charged taxes on that material, am I supposed to then apply taxes for that material upon completion of the upholstery project to my customer’s invoice? Yes
      2) Do I apply taxes to services such as upholstery? If I don’t add any materials to a project and the customer supplies the fabric, and I only use my labor or services to complete the project, is it exempt from sales tax? YES, upholstery is considered a “Fabrication”. Tax is charged on the total invoice amount, including labor, even if the customer supplies the fabric. The only items that I know of that are exempt from tax are shipping, pickup & delivery & certain repairs like gluing a dining room chair.

  17. Hi! I am reupholstering a cane back chair and the back panel (not cane) has tufted button upholstery. The tufting was done on a heavy cardboard backing which, when mounted to the chair after upholstery on it is complete, is stapled around on the inside back of the chair. A premounted panel on the back outside hides everything. To hide the inside edge, double piping surrounds the stapled on back upholstery piece and is in place with fine wire staples placed in between the piping. I have 2 pneumatic staplers and both of the staples are too large and bulky. Can you recommend a stapler that can handle a delicate job like this and uses fine wire staples? The size of the staple to use would help also. They look like desktop staples but measure 8 mm crown; 12 mm depth. Although it is thin wire, the staple is very sturdy. Thanks

  18. Hello. I have 2 cushions on my se tons that have the spring coming upwards. My cushions are not removable, and I looked at the bottom on the couch and everything seems intact. You can see the deformity in the 2 cushions before you even sit on it. I tried looking on Google and YouTube but found no help. Hoping you can help

    • I’m sorry to say if the seat cushions are attached and not removable, there isn’t much I know of to repair the cushions. During the upholstery process, the seat cushions are basically the first step in the upholstery process. This means you need to lift up all the outside sides and back in order to get to where the cushions are stapled to the frame. Then the cushions could be removed and repaired. The only other option is to cut the cushions free from the the sofa. This is not a particularly could option because re-attaching them would be difficult.

      Word of advise to anyone listening. DO NOT BUY furniture with attached seat cushions. The filling in the seat cushions is usually the first thing to go bad, rendering the furniture not usable.

      Lifting up all the outside pieces and the front seat deck to get to where the cushions are attached to the frame, is your best option for repair.

  19. Hi Joe! I have a fairly new couch, about 4 years old. The cushions are horribly our of shape and we can feel the springs through the foam. To replace the cushions, should I replace the foam around the springs, or get new springs as well? Could I simply replace with foam or are the springs necessary? Thanks!
    Amy

    • I would not just replace the foam around the springs. For the average person, making a brand new spring core cushion is not an easy task. I’m inclined to tell you to replace the cushions with a solid piece of foam wrapped in dacron batting with a 2.6 or higher density and a medium compression of around 35lbs. If you want the cushions on the firm side you can go up to a 45lb firm compression.

  20. I have these very old chairs to redo, the seat is drop in so no issues there however the back is a little confusing to me. would you suggest they be done as one piece with fabric attached as a backing that shows through or is there a method for this type?

    Thanks so much!

    Shelly

        • Thanks.
          1) Staple/tack your finished fabric facing to the outside of the back.
          2) Pad only the area where your outside back is. 1/4″ bonded dacron or batting will do.
          3) Staple 2-4 strips of 3″ webbing
          4) Cover with a piece of burlap
          5) Attach/glue your padding leaving 1/2″-3/4″ away from the outside edge of the frame.
          6) Staple your finished fabric to the outside edge of the frame.
          7) Three options to cover the staples…double welt, braided gimp, decorative nails

  21. Hi Joe. I have three plywood framed/shaped benches. They are boxed style with solid top and sides – basically a long rectangular cube w/ a curve at the halfway point making one side a seating height of 18″ and the other side approx. 13″. Hollow at the bottom. Looking to cover these with heavy wool felt. No padding. Is there a special upholstery adhesive to use for this situation? Have you done this? Do you have any tips? Thanks so much.

    • I haven’t used wool felt for padding before, but I have used synthetic deck padding. A good quality foam adhesive should work fine. It’s possible you would not need to use an adhesive at all because the wool may not slide on the plywood. Test a piece with and without the foam adhesive and see what you think.

  22. I ordered a sofa and the cushions do not meet my spec. They are supposed to be flat and boxed. Instead they are crowing/domed. They were made with a spring inner core and wrapped with memory foam and they are also encased in something. Also the back cushions are sort of collapsing, not boxy. Finally, the frame is too tall (but you can’t fix that). Can you possibly advise on how my cushions can be fixed? Thank you. See link https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JF9Kzo2uq9T98pXZvONM_HO0Rvpi-mho?usp=sharing

    • I don’t see a way to fix your cushions especially being they have a spring core. If you were to take the wrapping off that is covering the springs, in an attempt to flatten the cushions, you are likely to feel the springs thru the fabric.

      You could replace all the cushion inserts, but you would still need to fill the cushions according to the current boxing size. If you wanted to replace the inserts and have a lower profile cushion, you would most likely need to alter the the height of the cushion boxing. Replacing all the inserts alone would be a big expense. Altering(cutting down) the boxing would be an even bigger expense.

      If the sofa is new and does not meet the specs, I would simply contact the company you bought the sofa from and request a return.

    • If whoever made it won’t take it back, trying one cushion will tell you if it will work, and there’d be no need to take apart the pocket springs:
      In a pinch, you could unwrap the pocket springs, use ruby twine at each of the problem bottom hog ring points to snug down the crowning/poufy areas (Loop it, catch the loop above, loop again at the top, and knot it). Re wrap, and insert it back in….
      I hope they take it back though, they ought to…..

  23. Hi Joe,
    My client wants to use cowhide for her new cushions on her sofa. It is a wooden sofa with loose cushions, no upholstery involved only sewing. Can you give tips on working with upholstery grade leather? Is it necessarily to glue each seam allowance before top stitching the seam? I bought DI needles for leather and plan to use nylon #90 for sewing and thread #132 for top stitching. Love to hear your advice and suggestions from you please. Thank you
    Aung

    • Hi Aung, I am not the one to ask about leather. I stopped working with leather many years ago. Maybe some of the members here can answer your questions or simply Youtube it.

  24. Hello, I started doing upholstery about a year ago as a hobby on old furniture. My first ever client that isn’t a friend or family is asking what I would charge to recover 4 of her dining room chairs. I am wondering how I even start to price out work for people that ask for a quote without seeing the furniture. What is the pricing process for someone who is just starting out?

    • First of all you have to see the furniture before you can give a price. The easiest way to initially see the work is to ask them to email you a photo. A text if you prefer that method. Or have them bring you one of the chairs for you to see. Or you go to them and look at the chairs.

      In order to give prices on dining room chairs you need to know things like: is it just the seat that’s upholstered, is the seat removable, is the the seat upholstered to the frame, is there any upholstery on the back, does the chair need new padding.

      Once you know what the job entails, you can decide what your time is worth and that will be your labor. Then figure out what supplies you will need and include the cost of supplies.

      Something like:

      4 dining chairs @ $100 = $400
      4- New Padding @ $25 = $100
      Total Cost- $500

  25. I bought a chair with the intention of recovering the seat. I assumed that the seat unseeded from the frame. So not the case. How do I remove the seat from the frame? Thanks for your help.

    • From your photo showing the bottom of the chair, it looks like the seat does not come off and is upholstered to the frame.

      Could you please link another photo of the chair standing up, showing the top/side of the seat..

  26. Hi I purchased a sectional off EBay in 2014. Now one. Side of the piece is sitting low. And when you sit on it you here and fell the broken springs. Ugh is there s that I could fix? Wasted my money on a sofa that didn’t if last 5 years..

    • You’ve given me zero amounts of information except for the fact that your springs appear to be broken. Whether or not your springs could be fixed is not answerable because I don’t have any information to go by.

      But what is the case, it probably wouldn’t be worth the cost to have a professional fix the springs.

    • Things that can cause puckering with the cushions can include:

      Type of fabric, length of cushions, thread tension, welting not cut on bias, type of padding, cushion cut to big/to small, skill level of upholsterer.

      There are many reasons a cushion can pucker. You either need to explain the issue in more detail or better yet, reply back with a link to a picture of your cushions.

  27. Hi. I’ve torn down a Drexel wingback circa 1995. Hasn’t been used much in the last 10 years. Just wondering how I evaluate the 8-way hand tied springs. Bottom line, do I need to replace, just restring or can I leave them as is? They seem fine to me, but I’m not a pro at this. The webbing isn’t jute, rather a piece of what I think I’ve heard referred to as “sag-less”(?). Anyway, it’s a solid piece of sturdy man made fiber. The springs are clipped on to it. Thanks in advance.

    • If the webbing on the bottom seems tight, none of the spring twines are broken or loose, then you should be fine to leave them as is.

      You can’t directly upload photos here, but if you have Dropbox, you could reply with a link to your photo in Dropbox and I could evaluate more accurately.

  28. Hi. I am reupholstering an antique settee and the previous owners attached the burlap straps on the small amount if wood with so many tiny nails that I am having to try and think if a different method of attaching the straps to the bottom. Maybe vertical attachment to the wood instead of traditional horizontal method. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Although you can attach the webbing to the sides of the frame, it makes it more difficult to staple/tack your fabric to the bottom. I would staple the webbing to the sides only as a last resort.

      Have you removed the nails from the previous webbing/burlap or are you leaving them in.

  29. Hi! I am sewing new leather upholstery for my 1960 Morris Minor. The seats have a middle section with four vertical tucks in them. I don’t want to topstitch the seams or the tucks, but also want to be sure they are strong and don’t pull apart. Should I use some kind of reinforcement for the seams or would using a basting stitch and good heavy polyester thread be enough? The car will not be a daily driver and will be garaged. Thanks for your help!

    • I’m not an expert on either leather or auto upholstery. I think you could use a single stitch with either a #69 or #91 bonded polyester thread. For added strength you could add another stitch about 1/4″ out from your first stitch line, but that can add a bit of bulk to the seam.

      Maybe someone here in the group who works with leather and auto upholstery can help with a more definitive answer.

      • Thanks! Any help or advice from the community is appreciated! I am using upholstery leather, have a Husquvarna Viking sewing machine, the proper needles and thread. The seat is not large, and the three decorative seams will run vertically at about four-inch intervals and are about 8 inches long. They are very basic, rectangular seats — very straight lines, no curves or complications. My sewing skill is high, but this is my first project of this type and I wanted as much knowledge as possible before I begin.

    • Thread size, thread type, stitch length, type of fabric, type of sewing machine, type of sewing machine foot, size of sewing machine needle, skill level of stitcher, could be anything as you can see. I need more info.

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