I have been working on reupholstering a camelback sofa see my process of tearing it down here.
I started by adding a little more padding to the decking. I just draped the batting and trimmed it to fit the area for the decking and cut it to size.
BTW, don’t you just love my fantastic props for the couch?! The white box is our Christmas tree I purchased from Hobby Lobby (80% off after season) and the FedEx box is filled with Christmas decorations 🙂 it’s a little lopsided but it’s done the trick!
Next, I took the old decking (I used my seam ripper to separate it from the back part of the decking) and measured that for my new decking piece.
I pinned it back to the back part of the decking and sewed it together.
I installed the decking pulling it through the back frame. First I stapled the back part of the decking just right along the same staple line that was there previously.
Then I stapled the front underside to the couch as well.
One Sunday afternoon I had a bit of time to create all of fabric templates. I decided to iron all of my old pieces of fabric.
I laid both fabrics FACE DOWN. I supposed you could lay both face up, but either way, both fabrics need to be facing the same way when cutting from the templates. I pinned all of the old fabric to the new fabric then proceeded to cut all of my patterns.
I decided not to re-invent the wheel and reuse the fabric that was sewn onto the old fabric that stapled into the frame. It’s all the right length, you won’t see it, and it saved me time and fabric.
I referred back to my numbered pieces of old fabric and saw that the inside wing was the first thing that needed to go on… I struggled with this step! Pushing and pulling the staple fabric where it needed to be on the frame through all of the batting was hard!
I tugged on these staple pieces to get the main fabric in place.
This is where I ran into my first problem. I didn’t cut the fabric long enough for the lower side of the arm (not sure how that happened, I used the other fabric as a template). I ended up seam ripping some of the attaching staple fabric (seen above) to give me a little more fabric to pull down.
Sorry no picture of this, I was a little flustered I’d messed up so early in the game! But I stapled in some batting at the bottom arm (see in the bottom-center of the photo) and then continued to staple up the inside of the arm… Just following the line of the padding of the arm.
Next, I did the pleating on the arm of the sofa. About every 2 inches I added a pleat, staple, and repeat (hey that rhymes!). I just followed along the edge of the arm cushioning.
Once I got the pleating done on the front part of the arm. I moved along to staple the arm to the outside of the couch. Don’t judge for my horrendously uneven staple job; I had the couch turned on its sided and it was 11pm…
Next I created the pleats for the back of the couch arm. I started where my pointer finger is, then moved inward (opposite what I did for the front of the couch). I think the staples need to be hidden for this one so I created a pleat, stapled, then covered the staple up with the next pleat fabric…
I added some batting to the side of the couch and a few staples to keep it in place.
Okay, for the outside part of the arm, I used tack strip (omg the staples are worse here) but you won’t see them. It took me a while to get the placing right for this fabric, I wanted to make sure the fabric was even and I had enough to staple it to the front part of the couch.
So I pulled the fabric down. Pulling and stapling at the same time, I started at the arm roll and worked my way down.
Then I stapled the underside (see above) and last the backside (see below).
I trimmed the excess fabric from both the outside and inside sections of the arm and stepped back to see how it was looking.
Wahoo, the first arm roll completed… Not bad if I don’t say so myself!
So I did the other arm exactly how I did the first arm. The second arm was tougher for some reason. After I had it all in place I actually ended up taking out the staples in the front, pulling the fabric tighter, and re stapling. The thing I’ve learned about upholstery is making sure the fabric is TIGHT. There is a lot of tugging and pulling to make sure you get the fabric as tight as possible.
These two pictures below are before I undid the staples in the front and tightened the fabric.
Next step was getting the front back on the couch. Again, a lot of tugging, pulling, walking around the couch, re-positioning the fabric all before stapling.
I started with stapling the back of the fabric to the frame.
Then moved on to stapling the bottom part of the front to the back of the chair.
Here is a picture of the side wing stapled.
Here is a picture of the arm AFTER I took out the staples in the front and pulled the fabric tighter; much better and much more polished in my opinion. After I was happy with the arm I went ahead and stapled on the batting to both sides.
On to the back! I was really excited to be *almost* finished (I still have to finish off the arms and add the nail-head trim). Man, was the back hard! I started by laying the back fabric over the front, right side down (see picture below). I positioned the fabric to be even on both sides. I needed a tack strip on this piece because it was going to be pulled down so that tack strip holds the staples in place. Sorry I don’t have the best pictures on this process; I needed all hands on deck to hold the tack strip, position and staple the fabric!
For the sides, I reused the ply grip from the previous upholstery job. Good grief was this hard… Watch this video for a full explanation and tutorial!
Below is the ply grip before I hammered it into the side of the couch.
Here are pictures of the front and back FINISHED (minus the arms and nail head trim). My little hands are hurt from the stapler and tugging on fabric. I’m going to take a break and cut out the arms and the cushion pattern before I finish off the couch!
Rereading this for editing, I realized how many times I wrote “good grief this part is hard”. While this takes a little more than basic DIY skills, DIY upholstery is TOTALLY doable. You just have to have time, patience, TAKE PICTURES AS YOU TAKE THE PIECE APART, and search the internet a bit for tutorials.
I hope these posts encourage others to upholster as well. By no means am I an expert but feel free to reach out to me with any questions!