Upholstery 101: What Every Upholsterer Should Understand

23 July 2021

The art and craft of quality upholstering is a specialized skill that requires knowledge and experience. Detailed projects involving furniture pieces with zigzag springs and coil springs or repairing padding and reinforcing the basic structure require extra time.

If you are reupholstering an older item with multiple layers of worn fabric, you must strip down each layer. In this case, you may need to charge a client a higher fee. If you are reupholstering a furnishing as a favour for family or friends, it may take longer than expected.

Facts and Tips That Every Upholsterer Needs to Know

Important facts and helpful tips that every upholsterer needs to know include the following:

  • Know the Bones of Each Piece. If you are reupholstering an older piece of furniture, take time to examine its bones. There is no need to do extensive invasive “surgery” on the piece. Just by removing the dust cover from the bottom of this furniture item, you can usually accomplish this task.
  • Perform the Tear-Down Carefully. When reupholstering furniture, the tear-down is a major phase. There are recommended steps to complete a successful tear-down procedure. You should start at the bottom and work upward.

Remove all of the layers of old fabric completely, one layer at a time. Save and label each layer. Refrain from attempting to rip away several layers at a time as this reckless method will take longer than expected. It may also cause some damage to the bones and joints of the piece.

  • Buy Only the Fabric Yardage Needed. Whether you are upholstering a newly made sofa, parlour chair or deck lounge chairs, measure each item carefully. Buy only the yardage of fabric that you need to complete the job.

Of course, mishaps may occur, so it is wise to include a couple of extra yards when buying your fabric. Any yardage leftover can always to used for making antimacassars (arm and headrest covers), valance or accent pillows.

  • Use Tear-Down Layers as Reupholstering Patterns. When reupholstering an older item of furniture, use the layers of old fabric removed as pattern templates for cutting the new fabric. When cutting new fabric using your pattern, allow enough extra for pulling the new material smooth and tacking.
  • Reuse Piping and Revive Foam. You can repurpose piping if it is in good condition. After removing it from an older furnishing, recover it with new fabric. You can also rejuvenate used yellow or white cell foam by placing a steamer near the flat surfaces, bottom, top and sides to revive the volume.

By consulting our experts at Absolute Upholstery located in Petersham, NSW, and serving Sydney and surrounding regions, you can obtain excellent advice, tips and a full line of upholstery services. Our experienced team will guide you in choosing the ideal upholstery fabrics and methods to ensure the beauty and high quality of all of your upholstered furnishings.

They will share their knowledge, skills and valuable tips to make your upholstering projects successful. Whether you are upholstering newly made dining-room chairs or reupholstering a vintage sofa, they will guide you in completing a highly attractive and rewarding project.

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