Tips for Choosing Curtain Fabrics

Tips for Choosing Curtain Fabrics

ou have tons to think about when deciding on fabric for window treatments. Choosing the correct weight, texture, light-blocking or light-exposing qualities, and the fabric’s durability are just the beginning. If you spend some time considering your options now, when it comes time to look at dozens of fabrics at the store, you’ll have a clearer idea of what will work best for your specific needs.

  • Durability: Over time, the sun can damage all fabrics, but silks are especially prone to sun rot. Some of the window fabrics least prone to sun rot are chintzes, brocades, and cotton canvas.
  • Thread count: Generally speaking, decorator fabrics have a higher thread count than fabrics used for making clothes, so decorator fabrics last a bit longer. Some of these fabrics need to be dry-cleaned; check the fabric bolt tag or cylinder tag.
  • Weave: Plain, twill, satin, or damask weaves are common ones for decorator fabrics. Most printed cottons are plain or twill weave. For example, satin weaves are used to create stripes in some fabrics, and a damask weave is a single-color, patterned weave.
  • Width: Fabric generally comes in two basic widths: 42 to 45 inches and 54 to 60 inches. Always check out the fabric bolt label or tag to determine its width. Home-decorating fabrics compared to fabrics used for clothing are in the wider width. You can also find some decorating fabrics that are 72 to 75 inches wide, 90 inches wide, and even some that measure 105 or 110 inches or wider.

Still not sure what kind of fabric to choose? Here are a few familiar window treatment situations and recommendations for picking the right fabric:

  • A bank of wide, long windows that need plenty of coverage: Fabrics with some heft to them will meet your coverage needs. Make simple floor-to-ceiling panel draperies in a heavier-weight fabric, such as velvet, velveteen, corduroy, or a wool-blend fabric that limit the light. An alternative is to line your draperies with cotton duck.
  • A bank of wide, long windows where not much coverage is needed:A swag and cascade (made out of a nonsheer fabric with great drapability, such as a silk or blended charmeuse) that frames the top and sides of a bank of windows is a perfect treatment to provide some dress-up without much coverage. If you want to use a sheer fabric to diffuse the light, choose panels in gauze, batiste, organza, chiffon, or even lace.
  • A small room with drafty windows: Think about adding a drapery that covers the window entirely. Measure your drapery so that it extends well past the window’s trim molding. Then choose a heavier fabric, such as damask, in a color that matches (or closely matches) the room’s paint color. The window treatment helps block cold air. Matching the fabric with the room’s walls gives the room-enlarging illusion of unbroken wall space.
  • A very low-ceilinged room: Measure your draperies so they extend from the floor to the ceiling and match their color to the wall color. Be sure to install the curtain rod nearly flush with the ceiling. If you want to let in light, choose a fabric whose texture is very light yet crisp, such as voile. If you like coverage, choose a tightly woven cotton. Using a fabric that features vertical stripes is another nice way you can create a feeling of length and height in a low-ceilinged room.
  • A small window, the only source of light in a small kitchen: If you have a small kitchen with only a tiny window, you want to maximize the window as much as possible. Consider adding a simple valance, or if you have the ceiling height, an arched valance in the mediumweight fabric of your choice. For privacy in the evenings, you can add a simple roll-down shade, mounted out of sight under the valance for daytime.
  • Blah-looking windows in a formal dining room that doubles as a study: Balloon valances look great over sheers in dining rooms, and this treatment lets in adequate light for dining, working, or studying while adding a bit of design pizzazz. Choose a fabric with a tight weave and even a bit of stiffness when creating balloon valances (like chintz or taffeta), so they’ll keep their shape.
  • A bathroom window that needs privacy but still needs natural light:Try a heavier voile or plissé, which both give a bit of coverage, yet let in some light. Plissé fabric comes in solids or patterns. Create a simple curtain panel with this fabric, and your problems are solved. When considering plissé, test a sample before pretreating; some plissés lose their texture when washed.

How to Reupholster a Stool

They say “To a guy with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Well ever since I bought this bad-ass, cast-iron, fully refurbished 1953-model Singer 15-91 sewing machine on eBay, I’ve been looking for things to repair by sewing. So first up, I’m gonna show you how to reupholster a stool. As usual I’ll include my screw-ups in hopes you can avoid them. And even if you don’t have a stool to re-upholster, hopefully the methodology of this post will teach you a little about taking things apart and fixing them.

A little background on the sewing machine: I came across an engineer who restores and sells these in his spare time (more on him in a future entry). The one I bought from him was a little cheaper than usual–$200 price range–because although it is mechanically perfect, the condition of the machine’s cast-iron body makes it look like it actually fought in World War II.

So here’s the stool in question. I bought six of these on Craigslist for ten bucks each; they were originally $40 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

As you can see, the corner seam of the vinyl is ripped and the foam is poking its way out. I don’t know anything about how stools are built, but it hardly looks like rocket science, so I’ll figure this out as I go along. Please join me on my magical journey of self-discovery. First you gotta get the seat off of the legs, so put the stool upside down and grab a screw gun. (I was going to say “or you can grab a screwdriver if you’re Amish” but I just realized anyone Amish is not on the internet, which is why I will freely fill the bottom of this post with anti-Amish slurs.) Remove the screws holding the seat bottom to the frame.

Now we’ve got just the seat cushion. We see it’s covered in some type of plasticky paper with some flammability requirement label no one’s ever going to take the time to read. There are staples around the periphery and through the label.

Remove just the staples around the periphery. I like to use this Oxo Good Grips blade-style staple remover, as I find the common jaw kind will tear up the material. More on this tool in a second. (At one point I tried using a standard claw hammer, but the claw wasn’t sharp enough and it was too wide to get inside a staple.)

The best way to remove a staple using this tool is to get the tip under the staple at a high angle, then bring it level with the material, push it under the staple and wiggle-rotate it, like you’re turning a screwdriver back and forth. This should release both ends of the staple. If you screw this up, you will release only one end of the staple, as I’ve done here–

–that means you’ll have to use a pair of pliers to yank the staple free.

When you have to remove 20-30 staples using two tools, that increases the time greatly, so either develop the skill to do it with just the Oxo or cancel your afternoon appointments.

The Oxo tool is made out of soft metal. Here you can see I’ve bent the tip through repeated use.

If this happens just flip the thing over and you’ll eventually bend it back the other way. Over time you will chew the tip up; it’s handy for now, but this is not a tool you will be passing on to your grandchildren.

By the way, don’t take the staples out of the label. I’ll show you why in a sec.

Now we’ve removed all of the staples from the periphery of the plasticky paper sheet. Finished, right?

Wrong, sucker! Lifting the paper, we now find a crapload of new staples attaching the vinyl to the wood bottom.

Sigh loudly and dramatically so that your roommate goes “What’s wrong?” while you mutter “Nothin’, mind your own goddamn business.”

We also see that the wood bottom is particle board. I freaking hate particle board. It’s crumbly, dusty, it doesn’t hold screws well, and it always makes me crave peanut brittle when I don’t have any around.

Fold the corners of the plasticky paper into the center, then tape the whole thing shut with a piece of tape. (I used blue tape and if you don’t use blue tape your stool will explode, causing severe burns.) We could remove the paper, but there’s no point, we just need to get it out of the way. In general, when disassembling something I find it’s best to leave attached whatever you can leave attached, you save yourself a little work later.

If you are sensitive to particle board dust, or just a plain ol’ pussy like me, now is when we vacuum the dust away so we’re not breathing it in during the rest of the process.

As we begin to remove this second round of staples, let’s observe how they were applied. We see there’s three in the corners, because that’s the high-stress area. We also see that they were placed closer to the center of the board, leaving room on the periphery for the plasticky paper staples. Good to note.

Another thing we should observe is which corner folds are on top, which tells us the order in which the sides were stapled and folded. It’s different than how I thought: I would’ve stapled and folded two opposite sides first, then did the remaining sides. But here we can see the manufacturer did it in a clockwise fashion, so we should probably copy that later when we staple the new fabric on.

After removing all of the staples from the vinyl, you should now have a small mountain of them. They’re metal, so make sure you recycle them! I throw mine into a drinks can first, so the garbageman doesn’t get stabbed when he picks the recycling bag up. If you don’t like your garbageman, coat the staples in Ricin and throw them straight into the bag.

Peeling the seatcover back, we can see the seat’s “ingredients.” We’ve got a smooth vinyl outside and a crunchy particle board inside with a creamy polyurethane foam center.

Now we remove the vinyl altogether. It’s sewed at the corners and we need to take the stitches out. For this you can use an X-Acto knife or a stitch ripper. Though the stitch ripper was designed for this purpose, I actually find the X-Acto knife superior for stitch removal.

With the vinyl piece now flat and the stitches removed, we could simply trace its shape onto the replacement fabric; but since I have six of these stools and will likely replace the seat on all of them down the line, it’s worth it to make a template. Get a scrap piece of cardboard, foamcore, or one of your roommate’s prized LP record covers.

The vinyl has been stretched through use into an irregular, not-quite-square piece, so I measure it, average out the inconsistencies through guesswork, and draw the corresponding shape onto the foamcore. It’s basically a square with flaps coming off of each side, simple.

Only after cutting out the foamcore–my last piece of it–do I realize I’m a retarded idiot that has mis-measured the flap sizes. But luckily the seat center is the correct size, so I can compensate by leaving a perimeter around the template before tracing it onto the new fabric, then extending the flap lines out to make them longer.

Next I cut the fabric out. I was supremely impressed by Fiskars in my recent review of their Cuts+More scissors, so now I’m trying out a dedicated pair of their fabrics scissors, the 8″ Softgrip Razor-Edge. Cuts like a beaut.

Now what you want to do is fold the corners shut, with the “good” side of the fabric inside, and sew them shut with a single line. By observing the vinyl we can see there’s a 3/8″ “seam allowance,” meaning the stitching is 3/8″ from the edge.

Sewing a straight line on a machine like the Singer 15-91, which pulls the material along strongly and smoothly, is probably the easiest sewing operation you can do on a machine.

After doing all four corners, we now have this floppy box.

Turn it inside out, so now the sewed flaps are on the inside. Use your finger to push the corners out from the inside. Be thorough, as you’ll think the corner is fully extended but then a little bit more will pop out.

Next we shove the foam-and-particle-board sandwich down into the material, foam side down, obviously. If you’ve done everything right up ’til now, it should already be a tight fit.

Check to make sure the corner of the fabric lines up with the interior corner of the foam-wood sandwich.

Now it’s time to assemble, so we grab our trusty staple gun. What’s that you say, you don’t have a staple gun? Well you’re in luck, we sell them on Hand-Eye Supply! What a co-inky-dink, that I wrote this entry and then we just happen to sell them! Funny!

Before stapling, grab one of the old staples (careful if you did the Ricin) and check the length. Staples come in different sizes, and obviously you want to use the same length so it doesn’t go all the way through the wood and poke someone in the ass. Here we see they used what looks like a 3/8″ staple, and the 5/16″ staples we have on hand are close enough.

Next we load the gun up–be sure to empty it first, in case there are longer staples already loaded–and start stapling the fabric. Tips:

1. Stretch the fabric and staple it under tension, so it’s nice and taut.

2. Remember to staple closer to the center of the board, to leave room on the outside for the second set of staples.

3. Also remember to duplicate the order in which the original fabric was folded and stapled.

I opted not to do the three-staples-in-each-corner because I believe this fabric is stronger than vinyl and I want to see if it still tears. I’ll check it after a month of use.

Once all four sides are done, inspect the staples. I found several of mine were screwed-up and didn’t go in all the way. This will happen if you don’t apply enough pressure when stapling–you really need to lever down on the staple gun and apply a lot of pressure to the tip at the exact moment you pull the trigger. Here’s what a good staple looks like,

and here’s what a screwed-up one looks like:

Obviously this must be fixed, or the fabric is more prone to tear because it’s being pierced by two pinpoints, rather than sandwiched against the wood by the surface area of the staple top. So give the staple a good whack with a hammer to drive it flush.

Next we untape the plasticky paper and staple that back on. I can’t see any function for this paper other than to catch the particle board dust and hold that stupid label.

Now, ta-da, the cushion is done, and hopefully your corners are nice and tight.

Re-attach the legs by driving the four screws.

Particle board sucks, so the existing screw holes are probably kind of loose. To compensate for this I drove the screws in at a bit of an angle, hoping they would bite into fresh wood. But I may have just succeeded in widening the already crumbly screw hole, so I may have to eventually replace the wood.

For now though, the base seems solidly attached. Now you’re finished, and you can sit on the stool for many weeks to come while scanning the papers for your garbageman’s obituary. Congrats!

List of Fabric Types for Curtains

Perhaps the most compelling reason to make your own curtains — other than the satisfaction that comes with completely customizing their design and execution — is picking out fabric. Although you are limited to woven fabrics, you have many more options at a well-stocked store than you have for premade panels. While perusing fabrics, look beyond just the color or print. Unwind some bolts and feel the fabric with your fingers — don’t be shy. See how it drapes and gathers, and assess the texture and transparency. All of these characteristics determine the finished look of your curtains, and they vary considerably by fabric type.

Decorator Fabrics

Decorator fabrics, which occupy their own section of a fabric store, are generally the best choice for curtain-making, especially if your curtains will get a lot of use in terms of opening and closing, and if you intend for them to last many years. Decorator fabrics usually have a high thread count, which makes them more durable than other fabrics. The more substantial weight of these fabrics also helps curtains hang nicely. Typical decorator fabrics that are suitable for curtains include linens; silks and faux silks; cotton and cotton-blend chintzes, which have a shiny coating; warp sateens, which are smooth and heavy; drapey antique satins with characteristic slubs; and brocades, with raised, tapestry-inspired motifs. Velvet is a nice choice for a traditional, regal look.

Garment and Quilting Fabrics

Garment and quilting fabrics don’t have the high thread count or substantial weight of decorator fabrics, but don’t eliminate them entirely as an option for curtains. They are suitable for more lightweight window treatments, particularly those that are intended to be decorative rather than functional. Examples include cafe curtains, which cover just the bottom part of a window; hourglass curtains, mounted at the top and bottom of a glass-paneled door and cinched in the middle; and simple, plain panels that will hang from clip rings. Use these fabrics also for curtains that will only be hung for a limited time, such as in a short-term rental or the room of a child whose tastes will quickly change.

Sheer Fabrics

Sheer curtains offer some degree of privacy without fully blocking light, and are used either alone or as a decorative accent layered over an opaque window treatment, such as blinds. These lightweight fabrics tend to appear delicate, complementing a romantic or feminine style of decor. Laces and eyelet fabrics, most commonly in white, are easier to handle than you might think; often you can trim around their design for a decorative, no-sew hem. Lightweight, transparent sheers, usually polyester, are available in a wide variety of colors and sometimes prints. They are slippery, which can make them difficult to work with, but successful cutting and sewing is achievable with patience. For a more rustic version of sheers, consider a loosely woven fabric, such as burlap, which is easy to fray at the edges if you want to create a fringe instead of hems.

Linings and Interlinings

Lined curtains, with the exception of sheers, have a more professional-looking finish, block more light and offer more insulation than unlined ones. They also resist fading and look more attractive from the outside of the house when drawn closed. White or unbleached cotton is typically used to line curtains. Special blackout fabric is available specifically for lining curtains, and is a good choice for bedrooms. Insulated lining is another specialist option, keeping a room warmer in winter, blocking drafts and possibly lowering your heating bill. Interlining, an additional layer of fabric sandwiched between the curtain fabric and lining, adds further insulation and more body.

How to Install Fabric Wallcovering

Materials Needed:

  • bolt of backed fabric
  • wallcovering paste
  • fabric scissors
  • smoothing tool
  • bucket
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • notepad
  • spackle
  • spackle knife
  • wallcovering primer
  • paint roller
  • paint pan
  • pan liner
  • roller cover
  • sanding block
  • damp rag
  • paint brush
  • utility knife
  • Measure the Walls

    Use tape measure to determine height and width of space for fabric. Jot measurements down for reference.

    Choose Fabric

    Bring swatches of assorted backed fabrics home from fabric store and tape up on wall using painter’s tape. In order for fabric to adhere to wall, it must have fabric or acrylic backing. Fabric without backing can be custom-backed by local fireproofing and backing shops. After a few days, decide which fabric works best in space. Keep in mind patterns with large repeats will require more yards, therefore will be more expensive. Smaller prints or textured fabrics require fewer yards, but might not be as impactful.

    Prepare Walls

    Comb walls with smoothing tool to get rid of any bumps. Fill nail and screw holes with spackle using a spackle knife. Once dry, lightly sand residue, then wipe with damp rag. Apply a coat of wallcovering primer using paint roller. Allow three hours for primer to dry.

    Cut Fabric

    Roll fabric out on long, flat surface. Refer to dimensions, and use tape measure and pencil to mark height on fabric. Allow 4 extra inches to account for waste, then cut using fabric scissors.

    Paste the Wall

    Dip paint brush in bucket of paste, and spread paste on wall starting from the top down.

    Attach Fabric

    Hold each strip of fabric up to wall allowing overlap to match up the repeat. Press against glue, and smooth out air bubbles with smoothing tool.

    Cut Excess

    Use utility knife to cut excess from corners and around outlet holes.


How to pick a color palette for your house

After looking at ways to work through paint-color procrastination and how to find color inspiration all around you, we are ready to tackle the last, and possibly most challenging, part of our color series: the whole-house paint palette.

If picking one paint color is tricky, how on earth do you find colors for an entire house? How can you know they will go together? Where do you even begin? Join us as we navigate the process of selecting colors for a whole house, and gather inspiration (and maybe a little courage) to tackle your own walls.

Note which rooms are visible to one another. Walk through your house and note which spaces you can see from each room. Use a floor plan (a rough sketch is fine) to keep track.

Adjoining rooms are part of this, but you may be able to see quite a bit farther — down a hall and into the kitchen, for instance. These notes will form the basis of your whole-house color plan, so keep them close at hand.

Start by picking a color for the biggest, most centrally located room.This will most likely be your living room or kitchen, and it’s a great place to start working on your whole-house palette.

If picking colors has been stressing you out, choosing a soft, neutral hue for the main room will make picking the other colors easier. And you really can’t go wrong withwhite.

Or start with the room you want to paint the boldest color. If you love color and have a certain hue in mind for a specific room, you can start there instead. Looking out from the bold-hued room, choose a softer, more subdued color for the next rooms. You can, of course, put bold colors next to each other, but that does carry more risk — painter, beware!

Build your palette with shades of the same hue. Once you have a paint color picked for your first room, one simple way to move on is to choose shades of the same hue for adjacent rooms or walls. You can choose a hue from a nearby paint chip, pick the next color up or down on the same paint chip, or even have the same color mixed at the paint store with white added to make a lighter version.

The beauty of this method is that, while it will give your home interest and depth, you also can rest assured that the colors will go well together.

Have a strategy when picking colors for an open space. When much of the house is visible at once, as in the open plan space shown here, picking colors that work together is especially important. Using shades or tints (shades are darker; tints are lighter) of the same hue can work well in this type of space.

Another approach is to use an environment as inspiration for the whole space — we touched on this concept in part two of this series, using the beach as an example. The colors that go well together in nature will also work as paint colors.

Work on upstairs and downstairs spaces separately. If there is a true separation between floors, you can easily create a different mood in the upstairs versus downstairs, rooted in the colors you choose. Plus, focusing on one floor at a time can help keep the task feeling more manageable.

Consider keeping connecting spaces neutral. Whitebeigegreige and the like are fairly foolproof choices for halls and landings, and they give the eye a place to rest between areas of more saturated color.

On the other hand, if you have decided to stick with white or soft neutrals in your rooms, the halls and landings can be a great place to experiment with a richer hue. It doesn’t need to be a big departure from the other colors you are using — just a shade or two darker is enough to make an impact.

Test your potential palette. As you narrow down your color choices and think you may have some winners, bring home test pots of paint. Sample cards, even the big ones, can be deceptive.

Painting your own swatches will allow you to assess each color in the room it’s meant for and check that the colors in visually linked spaces work together.

How to take care of your outdoor fabrics

The wonderful thing about cleaning and maintaining outdoor fabric, patio cushions and outdoor umbrellas is that it is not very labor intensive. You do not need to do it very often, but as with most furniture a little TLC done regularly goes a long way.

The easiest and simplest thing that you can do to keep all your outdoor cushions looking good for a long time, is to simply cover them up when not in use. You can also choose to store them away in a safe dry place if you have long cold winters and won’t be using them for several months on end.

Outdoor Fabrics

Outdoor fabrics that cover your slings, chairs and pillows are mostly weather and mildew resistant, but an occasional wash will help keep them looking their best. It is best to refer to your manufacturer’s instructions for care, but here are some general guidelines.

  • Machine-wash outdoor fabrics using the gentle cycle.
  • You may want to add bleach for white items.
  • It is best to dry them outdoors instead of dryers.For hammocks and chair covers, etc. you may want to stretch back over the frame while drying to retain shape and avoid shrinkage.
  • It is best to store fabric furniture indoors during winter time.

    Acrylic Patio Cushions

    Acrylic is one of the most common materials for covering up outdoor furniture, mainly because it is forgiving and is very easy to clean. While it is mostly mildew resistant, you may want to take these steps to help it along even more.

    • Remove cushions from the frame before you begin cleaning. First spot clean with mild soap and water using a sponge if there are any spots or stains. Rinse with clean water.
    • Make sure to dry completely before using or storing acrylic cushions to prevent mildew formation.
    • Even though some types of cushions are mildew-resistant, they are not mildew proof. You can still get it if there is a lot of moisture. To get rid of mildew, clean with a solution of one cup bleach, two cups laundry detergent and one gallon of water. Mix thoroughly and spray on the entire cushion. SAFETY PRECAUTION: Always wear protective eye goggles and gloves when spraying with bleach. Let the mixture soak the cushions for 30 minutes. Scrub with a sponge or clean rag. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry completely.
    • Contrary to how it may appear, plastic wraps don’t help, so never wrap cushions in plastic when getting ready to store them. While it may keep dust out, plastic does not allow the cushion to breathe and in case there is any moisture, you may find nasty mildew when you bring them out of storage.

    Patio Umbrellas

    Umbrellas need a little bit of care too. Covers need occasional washing and the frame joints do well with oiling from time to time. It is always a good idea to put umbrellas away when not in use or if there is a high wind advisory, as they can turn into projectiles causing damage to humans and property. There are also products available that keep them anchored to umbrella bases.

    • You can wash most covers using a soft-bristled brush, mild soap and cold water.
    • Use a spray lubricant on the joints of a wire-frame umbrella. For a wooden-frame umbrella, use paste wax to restore its shine.

How to Reupholster a couch

  1. Find the right couch. Believe it or not, most furniture is designed to be re-upholstered, just as cars are designed to be worked on. Just because the fabric on an old couch has seen better days doesn’t mean the couch needs to be consigned to the junk heap. There are riches to be found here.
  2. Select a couch that fits your taste. At the very least, find a couch that is of a style that can be molded to something enjoyable by the time it is completed.
  3. Take pictures of the couch pre-upholstery. Take pictures of how the couch looks before you tear it apart, and especially all through the process of “destroying it.” Take pictures inside and out, front and back. Take closeup pictures of any area that might be difficult.
    • Couches are not complex pieces of machinery, but this sort of project can take a long time, so it’s good to have a nice “photographic memory” for referencing. You never know when you’ll need to go back and piece something together about what the couch was like before you ripped its fabric off.
  4. Carefully take the couch apart in the following order. While taking the couch’s fabric off, take care not to damage the old cover or other parts that will be needed later, such as stuffing. Otherwise, remove the fabric in the following order:
    • With the sofa upside down or on its back, take off the dust-clothes and all the fabric around the bottom.
    • Turn the sofa upright and take off the outside back, the outside arms, the inside back, the inside arms and the deck.
    • If the old cover fits well, you can use it as a pattern to cut your new fabric. Keep the old cover around until you finish the sofa so that you can refer to it as needed.
  5. Inspect the cushions for compromised filling material. See if any filling material will need to be replaced once the couch has been stripped down. If the sofa needs new cushion filling, purchase high-quality foam (2.5 lb to 3 lb.), which will last for many years. Cheap foam quickly breaks down.
    • High-quality foam can get very expensive, very quickly — its cost is tied to the cost of petroleum, out of which its made — but don’t skimp out, or else the couch will be great looking, but also saggy and uncomfortable couch.
  6. Use your pictures as a guide. As you create and put the new cover on you may want to to consult the “photographic memory” compiled from before the couch was taken apart, or to ask for advice from a more experienced person.
  7. Cut your Fabric. Find a large flat area (a large table or the floor) to roll out and cut your fabric. Use the old cover as a pattern to cut the fabric. Lay the old cover pieces on the new fabric, rearranging the pieces on top of the fabric as necessary to save fabric.
    • On seamed edges cut 1/2″ from the old seam.
    • On stapled edges add 2-3″ more, which will be used to pull the fabric cover onto the sofa.
  8. Sew your fabric. Older heavy duty metal sewing machines work better and hold up longer than the new lightweight plastic machines. Use the zipper foot to sew along the welting edges. Use heavy duty thread and a heavy needle to sew the fabric. Use a 1/2″ seam allowance.
  9. Get a heavy-duty staple gun to attach the new fabric to the couch. If you don’t have one, purchase a good-quality staple gun, and go to town.
  10. Start attaching the new material from the inside out. First attach the sofa deck, then the inside arms, and the inside back, in that order. No matter which way you are attaching the fabric, be sure to pull the fabric snug as you attach it, or it will stretch over time.
    • When the inside is attached, fit and sew the cushion(s). If the cushions are a little too big or too small, you can adjust the size of the cushion area by loosening or tightening the bottom of the inside arms and inside back. Then attach the outside arms and the outside back.