Intro: Upholster a Settee
This was a recent project for a friend of my brother. Unfortunately I forgot to document the old, ragged, beat-up fabric that the settee arrived in. You can use these instructions for other upholstery projects as well. Make sure you have a digital camera ready, and take pictures of all major steps of unassemblying the furniture. This will be your guide to put it back together.
Step 1: Remove Old Fabric
Usually there is some sheer fabric stapled on he underside of the furniture. Start by removing this first. Then remove the paper strips and welting at the bottom of the piece. This picture shows the corner, which is the most critical part of the structure. There is a grove beneath the welting and it is glued there. The reglueing will come much alter, but I don't have a better picture, so take note.
Step 2: Continue Removing All Separate Pieces by Pulling the Staples With Pliers.
Continue removing all separate pieces by pulling the staples with pliers.
Step 3: Internal Hardware
At the edges, you will find internal upholstery hardware that was used instead of staples to hold the straight edges together. Carefully remove these, and save the metal piecer, which you will use again with the new fabric.
Step 4: Strip Down to the Wood
Layer by layer, strip down to the wood, but leave the padding intact.
Step 5: Save the Padding
You will encounter loose pieces of padding which you should also keep to reuse later.
Step 6: New Fabric
If you were lucky, the old fabric came off intact, and you can use it as a pattern to cut the new upholstery. When cutting, make sure you keep all key parts in the same direction, so at the end it will seem like a single piece of fabric was used to cover the whole piece of furniture. Start with the seat, and make sure you stretch the fabric so it will be smooth and flat throughout.
Step 7: Welting and Trim
Cut long strips of fabric diagonally, and sew a piece of chord in the middle for decorative welting. You may buy ready-made welting too. Fortunately you can just use a staple-gun to put the pieces in place. Then staple a panel beneath the welting, and staple the other edge on the bottom of the furniture.
Step 8: Arm Rest
This is by far the most difficult part of the project. You have to follow the pictures you took very closely to make sure everything is atteched in the same order. You need to sew the front fascia/scroll in the shape of the arm rest, with welting between the front and the top. The side getst stapled-on, and the two side-seams require the invisible upholstery hardware to hold it in place.
Step 9: Repeat on Other Side
Repeat the same process on the other side. Since you've already got some practice, this is easier to do than the first time. MAke sure the two arms look even and symmetrical. Staple some more welding around the bottom edge, and then use some cheap fabric to cover the inside and finish it off. And you are done! It feels great afterwards!