How To Reupholster A Couch

Learn how to fix your old couch so you don’t have to spend money on a new one with Joquena from Learning how to reupholster a couch might not be as difficult as you think.




Hello. This is Joquena with Modern HomeMakers, and today I’m gonna show you how to fix your ugly couch. So we’re gonna take you from ahhhh my kids have destroyed it. My nice pleather sofa here, to ahhhh my new couch that only cost me $60. O.K. so first think we’re gonna do is we need to go shopping for upholstery fabric. You want to get upholstery fabric because it’s more durable. So I got mine on sale and I’m only doing the bottom cushions of my couch ‘cause nothing else has problems. So this whole project is gonna cost me like 60 bucks and I’ll probably have leftovers to do pillows.

I can’t tell you how much fabric to buy, because I don’t know how big your couch is. So you know, if all else fails take your lovely cushion with your to the store and make sure it’s wide enough to go around. So, first thing we need to do is we’re going to trim away so we have a smooth surface. So, have my scissors here. For me I am not going to remove anything that I don’t have to. So I just want it to be smooth so you cannot see when you get the new stuff on there. This stuffs even tearing right off.

So you can’t see any uneven surfaces. So what you’re gonna do is lay it on top of your new fabric, which I have up here as my tablecloth for today. Top side down. Ewww it’s yucky down there. And what we’re gonna do is leave about an inch of space around the cushion. This is your seam allowance, so that much around. We’re just gonna cut all the way around in the shape of the couch.

This is one of those projects where I recommend you just use the floor in your living room because it’s a big cushion, it’s a big project. Now what we’re gonna do, we’ve gotta do something around the sides. So, we’re gonna leave a little more extra space on this one because we’re gonna hide how we stitch it to the couch on the bottom. Couch is ugly on the bottom. We don’t really care at all what it’s gonna look like but we’ve gotta have enough overlap to come past the sides and down to the bottom. So what I’m doing is, yeah that’s more than enough space ‘cause I’ll be able to take this, if you come in, turn this, you look from the side I’ve got that inch of space that we need to sew and then I’ve got a whole bunch extra to be able to stitch to the bottom.

You don’t want to see any of the yucky how it attaches to the cushion stuff. So, to figure out how much we need here I’m going to roll and move with the couch. And then we’ll drag it down, and drag it down, and drag it down, and one more. Oh no, scissors down. And then we’re gonna do some extra on the end because you can always make something shorter, but we all know you can’t make it longer again. Okay, so that’s enough to get it up to the point, and we’re going to keep that on there as extra. So weve got enough of that. So I’m gonna do several inches extra as a buffer for when I’m sewing it to the back. At this point I’m going to get rid of the couch cushion because we’re just making sure it’s straight with itself. And I’m gonna pause so you don’t have to watch me do this whole thing and we’ll come back in just a second.

Alright so we’re back again and we’ve got everything cut and this is the point where if you have any wrinkles now is the time to iron. And I forgot to say you don’t have to wash your upholstery fabric because you’re never going to be throwing it in the washer unless you up my design and add zippers so you can throw it in the machine. I actually chose not to on purpose because I didn’t want to risk any color changes because this fabric is really expensive. Double checking that it’s big enough, it’s fitting over the thing, and this, if you go all the way around with it real fast you’ll see that it’s got more than enough space to go all the way around.

Now it’s time to have some fun with sewing. And what we’re gonna do, once again we’ve got lots of extra for the width around because we’re gonna trim it when we get closer to the end. Because as you round corners you might have some give and take. So what we’re gonna do is we’re going to take our square piece and make sure that it matches up with the right side of fabric , so good sides together, matching up with here. And I’m gonna hide, for the way my couch cushion is you’re gonna hide your ugly side. So the bottom is ugly, but I don’t want my nice cushion that everyone is gonna see to have my seam on it. I’m gonna hide that where they hid all the ugly stuff in the back here. So this is the where we’re going to do all the work back here. So for me, that would be like right in here is the back of my cushion cause it’s longer. So that’s where I’m going to start pinning , good side to good side, and we’re gonna just pin all the way around. And if you can sew a straight seam you can reupholster your couch cushion.

So just pinning all the way around and I’ll show you how to do a corner and then we’re gonna pause again so you don’t have to sit here and watch me pin all the way around. So we’re at a corner here and I’m just gonna pinch it a little and turn it. And then keep on going. We’ll be back in a bit and I’ll show you what it looks like when it’s all pinned. Okay so you’ve pinned all the way around and I went ahead and I slipped it on my cushion just like it’s gonna be so that we can get rid of this big chunk of excess I told you to have on there. And you can see I folded over the corner where I started so we’ve got some give in there and I’m gonna meet this up just where that would be and I’m gonna do the same, I don’t know is that about an inch and a half of extra. So, we’re gonna clip that and just try to get it off without making a big mess. So we’re gonna cheat and use our fabric here cause we’ve got stripes we’ll go about the same distance down. So you’ll have to measure if you don’t have this awesome stripey type pattern.

Save that for your scrap pile for pillows and I’m going to go ahead and pin that in the same position. And that’s still leaving you with some excess just in case you make a booboo or it doesn’t go right when you turn it or whatever. You could always rip out that seam. So at this point you’ll notice it fits of the couch cushion you know, but you’ve got like a fingers width of extra space on the corners. This is your chance, treat this like a dress form and you are gonna custom size this baby down to where you want it to be. So fidget with your pins. You don’t want it to be tight cause it is gonna have to fit on there, but you want it to fit, so just, and it should be mainly th corners that you have issues with. So I’m going to finish all the corners and when I’m done it should be reasonably snug, you shouldn’t have a bunch of billows and stuff in your fabric. It should lay flat. So I’ll be right back.

So I’ve taken it off the cushion and you can see I’m at the ugly back side and I’m gonna start on the second flap here so we can end up there and you are just gonna go all the way around and you’re gonna stitch right where you put those pins because that is your magic spot. So we’re gonna go all the way around and we’ll be back in a little bit. Okay so you took some time with your sewing machine and you sewed all th way around. And if you had any parts at this point where it didn’t look right when you slip it over the front like if you’ve got a big gap or something go fix those now . But now what we’re gonna do is starting from the pretty side on the front of your sofa cushion not the ugly flap side you’re going to make sure that all of your seam allowance is gonna go down cause if you don’t do that you might see it in here so we’re gonna push that all down towards that part and were gonna all the way around the sofa, or all the way around the cushion doing that. And because we’re in the front where it matters most what you see we’re gonna line up and make sure it’s good so and then we’re gonna pull and we’re gonna start pinning the bottom, so I’m just gonna throw a quick pin in here. We’ll come around and we’ll do some more detailed stuff in a bit. Man couch cushions are big. So you can see we’re gonna start pulling around.

One of the things that we’re gonna have to do is after we get it pinned in the front we’re gonna take some there’s gonna be some excess and we’re gonna take it and make a nice seam with that which we’ll be hand stitching later. So I’m gonna go ahead and put my pins for that right there and we’re gonna go all the way around and do the same thing where we’re constantly pulling it tight and making sure that everything looks even from the top so when we come back you should have all this gone and pinned to the bottom. And we don’t care what it looks like on the bottom because no one’s ever gonna see it. So we’ll be back in a bit.

Okay so you’ve got it pulled tight all across the top probably took you fifteen minutes or more like it did me and at this point your bottom’s still really ugly we were just pinning it to get it out of the way. To be the right tautness if you will for the thing. So from the front we’ll have folds, it’s kind of like wrapping a present, we’ve folded it to take our excess there we’ve done that not on the front but to the side of the front on each spot and I also did the same thing in the back where we’ve got our flap of excess and two of those so just play with it til it looks nice from the top and now comes the fun part and that is where we have to get some sort of flatness over here so it really is just like wrapping a present. So we’re just gonna fold things and we’re gonna turn it under so that it can’t fray all over the place. See how I just turned that under. Then I’m gonna shift my pin over here and there’s just no easy way to do this you’re gonna have to old needle and thread style here and they sell these really cool things called upholster needles and they’re curved see how it’s like a u and that makes it really easy to come out. But just to prove that you don’t have to have one of those I’ve threaded just a normal needle and what you’re gonna do is always hiding your thread and very tediously, and obviously you’re gonna go all the way around and you’re gonna make this whole thing flat and you don’t care if you see this you just don’t want it to ravel everywhere. But very tediously you’re gonna go through and remind yourself that you’re saving several hundred dollars on a new couch cushion so this is worth your time and just tediously going through.

Now you want to be really careful when you’re on the front end doing these ones because you don’t want to see the thread. Be really careful with your thread choice and try to hide the thread as much as possible. So I’ll come back probably in half an hour when I’ve got this sewn and I’ll show you what this looks like completely done. Okay it was hard work but you just saved a bunch of money and your couch is done, unless like me you’ve got one more cushion to do but I’m out of time today the baby is gonna wake up any minute. So I’ll give you the sneak peek you can see how good it looks before but it’s ugly on the bottom and no one cares cause you’re never gonna see it. And that’s pretty much it. Enjoy your new couch and don’t let those kids put their shoes on it cause that ruins it.


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8 Comments on “How To Reupholster A Couch

  1. Oh how I wish I was crafty. My kids and their cats have destroyed my couch cushions. I’m thinking about having a rule with my next couch…. Kids sit on the floor!

    • I’ve been so strict lately. No toys on m couch. Get your shoes off my couch! Is that food on your face? Go wash your face and hands. They have young back… nothing wrong with the floor 🙂

    • Definitely can’t reupholster if you don’t have the furniture haha!

  2. Hi Joquena

    I was watching your video about reupholstering a couch and I LOVE the fabric that you used in the video. Can you tell me where you got it from?

    You can e mail me at


    • I got it from Hobby Lobby. It was months ago so I hope they still have it for you. You definitely want to LOVE your fabric before you go to all the trouble to fix your couch 🙂

    • You’re always welcome to share my videos! I’m so glad I wasn’t the only person trying the pin and sew technique 🙂 FYI I love the fabric on your blue and white stripey chair… beautiful!

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