Leather to Fabric Upholstery Conversion

Turn your leather couch into a cloth couch.
Turn your leather couch into a cloth couch. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Furniture consists of three main parts: a frame, padding and fabric. If you wish to turn the leather fabric of your furniture into cloth fabric, you can remove the leather and replace it with sheets of cloth. Converting upholstery can be difficult for large or complex pieces of furniture, such as recliner chairs or couches.

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Removing Leather Upholstry

Remove upholstery by disconnecting the seams of the leather. These seams are typically located on the top and sides of a chair or sofa and can be removed using scissors or pliers. After disconnecting the seams, pull the leather off the seat and set it side. If you are converting the upholstery of an automobile seat, you should remove the seat from the car before removing the upholstery.

Tracing the Seat Shape

If you are replacing the upholstery yourself, you must trace the shape of the original upholstery before adding the cloth to the seat. Lay one piece of leather fabric over the cloth fabric and trace the shape with a pencil or fabric chalk. Repeat this process for every piece of upholstery. For most pieces of furniture, this involves at least two pieces of fabric.

Adding the Cloth

Attach the cloth to the couch using the same method used for attaching the leather. Typically, you must place the piece of cloth in the correct place and sew it to the piece of cloth next to it to create a seam. You may wish to glue the cloth to the cushions of the furniture using fabric glue.

Differences in Leather and Cloth

Leather seats offer the benefit of resisting water and stains. However, these seats can be very temperature sensitive. If they receive direct sunlight, leather seats grow hot and may stick to your skin. If your home or car is cold, the seats feel cool to the couch. Though some people enjoy this cool sensation, others feel it saps their body of warmth. Cloth seats resist temperature. Cotton or velvet seats typically feel softer than leather seats but they are more likely to show stains. Typically, you can find a variety of colors and patterns for cloth furniture while leather upholstery consists of one basic color, such as tan, red or black.


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