Upholstery Repair

How to repair upholstery tear? (How To Guide)

How to repair upholstery tear?

The key to having a successful and effective DIY upholstery repair is by acquiring all the required tools and learn  how to repair upholstery tear.

There are different methods how to repair upholstery tear. But the two methods that are effective for DIY upholstery repair are patching and sewing. To determine which method to use, it’s advisable to identify the type of material that the furniture upholstery is made of.

Here are few of the materials that furniture manufacturers commonly used for furniture upholstery:

    • Acrylic
    • Acetate
    • Cotton or cotton blend
    • Leather
    • Polyester
    • Velvet
  • Wool

For the fabric type, the best repair method for an effective DIY upholstery repair to use is sewing; while for the leather is patching.

Guide on how to sew upholstery tear

The materials needed for this DIY upholstery repair are nylon thread, curved needle, anti-fray glue, and seam sealant.

Step 1: Tear Assessment

Every guide always starts with an assessment and this guide on how to repair upholstery tear by sewing is no exception.

For upholstery tear, the purpose of this assessment is to know the exact length and shape of the torn part. You can do this by removing the upholstery from the furniture and turn it inside out. If it can’t be removed from the furniture, it’s all right because you can still assess the tear’s condition.

Optional: If there are frayed areas on the edge of the torn fabric, you need to apply an anti-fray glue/seam sealant on it. Once dry, you can fold it under the edges.

Step 2: Sewing

In sewing the upholstery fabric, you must hold the two edges together. If the opening is too far wide, you can put some pin to hold it together as you sew. You must also keep the stitches small and close to one another to ensure proper sealing.

Optional: For the frayed areas, keep in mind that you still need to hold the frayed areas under the edges while sewing.

After sewing the torn part, you will notice a slightly small fold near it. To make the new stitches look seamless to the original, you must sew it as well.

Step 3: Secure it with a knot

Securing the stitches is second to the most important stage of this DIY upholstery repair. Here’s how to do it securely: upon reaching the end of the torn area, pull the thread then stop once you formed a loop. Pass the curved needle in it and pull it tightly until it reaches the end. Repeat this twice and then cut the thread.

Step 4: Follow this step if you removed the upholstery from the furniture

Put back the upholstery back to the furniture and zip it up.

Guide on how to patch upholstery tear

The common materials required for this DIY upholstery repair are alcohol, soft rags, glue, tweezers, sub-patch (e.g. canvas), heavy filler, leather finish, and leather dye.

Step 1: Clean it

You can clean the torn edge surface with a soft rag and alcohol. The alcohol may be harmful to the gloss of the leather, but it is effective in removing grease or any oily substance that your furniture has.

Step 2: Apply glue then re-attach

Spread a small amount of leather glue to the torn edges’ underside. Once done, you can softly press the edges together. Just make sure you aligned the torn edges correctly to avoid seeing any materials from the inside.  

Tips: If you use different type of glue, once the torn edges are attached you need to immediately remove the remaining wet glue around it with a soft rag. In case the glue already settled in, you can remove it by sanding. The right sandpaper grit size to use will depend on the type of leather your furniture made of.

Also if the torn edges keep on opening up, you need to repeat this step several times until it successfully sealed.

Step 3: Leather dye application

Use a damp sponge in applying the leather dye. The key to ensuring it will have the same colour as the furniture’ original, apply it in thin coats several times.

Tips: For better result, wait until the first coating is dry before applying the next coating.

Note: This process of how to repair upholstery tear via patching is only applicable if the affected surface has a different colour from the furniture’ original colour.

Step 4: Leather finish application

Apply the final stage once the leather dye dries off. The application of leather finish is the same with leather dye. Use damp sponge in applying it and wait for it to dry off before applying the next.

Tips: The ideal number of leather finish coating to apply is between 8 to 10. This will create a good and healthy finish to your leather furniture.

One hour is the typical length of time you need to wait for the glue to set in. But if it never set at that time, just wait for it to naturally dries off. Never use any form of heat to quicken the drying process as this will only harm the quality of the leather.

Please note that this instruction is only applicable for small-sized torn edges. For deeper cuts, it advisable to hire a professional upholsterer instead as they know exactly on how to repair upholstery tear for each leather type.

Always remember that each leather furniture is unique. One method may be effective on one furniture, but it doesn’t guarantee to have the same result on other furniture.

Featured Photo Courtesy of stevepb via Pixabay 


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