How to Repair Sofa Fabric

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Take time to repair your upholstery correctly and avoid a messy and obvious finish.
Take time to repair your upholstery correctly and avoid a messy and obvious finish. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

With frequent use, fabric upholstered sofas begin to lose shape and the cushions or backing push against the seams. This often results in tears that, when left untended, get worse over time. While slipcovers are a quick fix, they do not offer a long-term solution, as they are not a part of the actual couch. A furniture upholstery shop can likely fix the sofa for you, but can be costly. Fix the tears or fraying on your own to save the cost of a professional and prevent further damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid seam sealant
  • Upholstery needle
  • Heavy-duty thread
  • Scissors

Apply a liquid seam sealant to any fraying around the hole or tear in the fabric. This will prevent the fabric from continuing to fray.

Thread an upholstery needle with a heavy-duty thread that closely matches the fabric in color. Cut the thread with scissors to a length about six times the length of the tear, to be sure that you will have enough. Knot the end of the thread.

Fold the torn edges inward to hide the fraying fabric and crooked tear line.

Push the needle through the inside of one of the torn sides and pull it out until the knot catches on the inside of the fabric.

Pinch the separated fabric together with your fingers to close the tear.

Stitch over the opposite side of the tear, bringing the needle up out of the original side.

Continue stitching short, tight stitches poking into one side of the tear and out the other until you reach the end of the tear. At the end of the tear, there will likely be a pucker of fabric, as the rest of the fabric has not been stitched. To fix this, continue pinching the fabric and stitching past the tear, gradually pinching less fabric until the repair blends with the rest of the upholstery.

Knot the end of the thread where you have stopped stitching and cut off the excess thread.

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