Sunday, February 2, 2014

DIY Reupholstering a European/Victorian Style Couch-Taking Notes as I Tear it Apart

So this is part two of Reupholstering a couch... I decided I was going to finally buy some fabric for the couch several months ago. Sometime around Thanksgiving I had the swatches and had finally decided on which fabric I wanted. I knew I could either go for it and finally be happy with the color and look of the couch, or be content with wishing it looked a little different. I used the yardage chart from Restoration Fabrics to figure out how much fabric I'd need. Then, I dove right in and bought the fabric (ambrosia mist) from Warehouse Fabrics Inc.

The fabric was already priced under $10 per yard. And that's a great price for home decorating fabrics, but I was pleasantly surprised when I learned they also had a military discount which furthered my savings allowing me to buy a couple extra yards for a little more wiggle room. I just had to e-mail them before I made my purchase and they added the discount to my account. After all the other fees it only cost around $85 for 18 yards! That's a good deal for reupholstering a couch. And since the couch is relatively new I likely won't have to replace any cushions or other odds and ends. 

So the fabric arrived sometime in December and then it sat. I was pretty good at finding reasons to not start on my project. Let's face it, once you start pulling fabric off a couch there is no going back. Luckily, a friend asked about it and offered to help along with several other people. Had Audrey, Doorly, and Lois not shown up I may have just let that fabric sit in my basement as I found more excuses to not get around to using it. Thanks for helping me rip apart my couch ladies!

Seriously, it took forever! There more staples on top of staples and then some! There were 4 and a half of us (my husband came and helped a bit as well later on) and we weren't even done digging those staples out after three or so hours! 

In case you're curious about the process, here's what I've done so far...After taking tons of pictures before so I could have a reference to look at. I also took plenty more during the demolition couch phase. Here's the pictures I took and my notes as I tear the couch apart... Of course, every couch will be different, but you can get a general idea. We'll see if I needed to take more photos or not after I finish...

There our couch is. There's no going back...she's completely vulnerable and uncovered. We'll see if I can do this!

Okay, so....we started at the bottom of the couch. We just undid the top row of staples:

Underneath the black fabric was floral fabric (from the bottom of the front) stapled on the wood: 

The paneling had fabric folded under and stapled (trim was glued over that to cover staples):

Hmmm. I think this was along the side? Ladies? Good thing I wasn't the only one there...Wish I'd have taken notes about what part of the couch this was... I'm thinking it's the side?

Under batting was white felt stapled on side:

The bottom side had fabric with piping rolled and sewn on top (not in bias tape) and was stapled on top of side piece:

trim was directly over bottom...

Here's side again...

Inside the arm of the sofa looking in from the side. There was a layer of fabric, gray, and white... These pictures show that the white was in the middle with the fabric which they put together on the wrong side about 1/2 an inch and then flipped over after they stapled it on the grey. There are several pictures of this because it was pretty hard to see what went where...

The curve along the side arm

Side arm

Piping along side arm

Top piece on arm tucked under and stapled first, before side paneling goes on:

Bottom of the couch had a lot of slack on the side

Where the seating fabric was. Under the fabric was batting

Top of the couch between side and seat back:

 There's a lot of slack of fabric:

The fabric along seating area is connected to side fabric and was then all flipped over. It was stiched on the top:

This is what it loos like flipped over:

Another look into the side of the couch:

and another:

The batting goes over foam on the front:

The backside...You can see where the additional fabric sticks out which was attached the the fabric on the front. It was tucked under...

Like so...

Here's a look in between the arm...

Not quite sure about this one...Notes people...Take notes!

If you made it this far I'm truly impressed. After the couch was uncovered, I had to take a moment to keep myself from hyperventilating. There really was NO going back. It was all off. Next step, ripping seams to use old pieces of fabric as a pattern. Cutting the fabric is almost just as intimidating. Here's hoping they make sense as I put everything back together again...


  1. Brave woman! I can't wait to see hoe it turns out. I reupholstered a large ottoman last year and have loved its new personality.

    1. Maybe a little too brave... Hopefully it turns out! Otherwise I may need to enlist some professional help. I'd love to see the ottoman you made!