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Author Topic: DIY Reupholstery?  (Read 8777 times)

Sportsdad

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DIY Reupholstery?
« on: November 12, 2009, 04:22:25 PM »
Anyone done this themselves? I have a Class C that I'd like to do, but can't justify paying the labor of someone else doing the  job. I'd like to do it myself.

Anyone tackle such a job before?

scottydl

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 05:26:32 PM »
I asked this same question some time back, as our living room couch is in pretty sad shape.  There are sections of padding and upholstery that need to be replaced, and our sofa is a unique L-shape with a jackknife bed on the long side... so not something I can replace easily.  The short answer that I received on DIY reupholstery is that it's better off left to professionals if you want it to look good.  One of those "experience" skills, like window tinting or concrete pouring.  A pro can make it look easy and a novice can really mess it up.  You CAN do it yourself and a lot of people try it, but the end result difference will probably be pretty obvious.  ;)

I'm part of a local "frugal living" listserv, and I did receive a lot of referrals for small locally-owned upholstery shops when I asked the question.  I'm planning on going that route if I can ever find a factory sofa cover (which I'm told Flexsteel may still make even though this couch is 15 years old) and someone with experience replacing furniture padding.  It'll likely be much cheaper than a carpet/upholstery store, and I'll be able to support a local small business.
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

rsalhus

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2009, 10:05:07 PM »

We just reupholstered our MH sofa.  Or should I say, my wife (Shirley) just got done reupholstering our MH sofa.  I say we because I helped carry it in and out.  ;D 
She's done chairs and sofas before, but then she has a heavy duty industrial sewing machine also, and has taken a local course on reupholstering furniture a number of years ago. 

This sofa was quite different though, than other sofas she's done before.  First of all, it comes in two sections.  Secondly, there are no wood frames to staple material to.  They use long, plastic pieces that are sewn on the end of the material and these are then connected to round, metal bars on the back and sides of the sofa frame.  She made patterns from the old material and then cut out new pieces from the patterns and sewed them all together.  She 'modernized' it a little, taking out all pleats and welting throughout the entire sofa.  She also added some foam padding in certain areas.

Picture 1 shows what the sofa looked like when we got the motorhome.  Picture 2 shows what the space looked like when we removed the sofa.  And Picture 3 shows what the reupholstered sofa looks like.  One of our next projects will be to replace the carpeting with laminate flooring, but I don't think we'll get around to doing that until next year.  She wants laminate all the way back to the bedroom, I'd like to (somehow) keep the wood flooring in the kitchen.  She says you can't mix the flooring like that, so we still have some planning to do.   :P
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

scottydl

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2009, 10:11:25 PM »
Wow, that looks amazing!  Where did she find the fabric and padding, and did she add on top of the existing padding or replace entire sections?
Scott, wife, 3 boys... and the dog
- 2008 Forest River Wildwood 32BHDS
- 1995 Chevrolet Suburban C2500 tow vehicle
- 1994 Thor Residency motorhome... owned 2007-2012

rsalhus

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2009, 10:33:20 PM »
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Where did she find the fabric and padding, and did she add on top of the existing padding or replace entire sections?

We got the upholstery material from S R Harris Fabric Outlet in Minneapolis.  They have a whole warehouse of material to choose from.  You can spend all day there looking at material.  We bought 13 yards of material at $16.99 per yard, but she has enough material left to redo the two chairs that we use at the table.

No, the foam padding was in good shape, so she didn't have to replace sections.  She just added some where there were pleats before and then added a layer of polyester batting on the seats so you wouldn't notice the places where the pleats were before.  So now when you lie on the sofa, you won't feel the pleats or the welting, making it much easier to fall asleep watching TV.   ???
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 11:12:51 PM »
I can upholster too, but she is correct you really need the heavy duty sewing machine.  I did a chair using a regular machine and its almost impossible.  She is a talented lady though and did a beautiful job.  Saved you guys a lot of money by doing it yourself. It looks wonderful.

rsalhus

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 11:29:35 PM »
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I can upholster too, but she is correct you really need the heavy duty sewing machine.  I did a chair using a regular machine and its almost impossible.  She is a talented lady though and did a beautiful job.  Saved you guys a lot of money by doing it yourself. It looks wonderful.

Yeah, I'm guessing you couldn't sew material to those plastic strips with an ordinary sewing machine.  And yes, we did save some money doing it ourselves.  Even more than I stated in my last post.  I forgot to mention that the fabric outlet prices were 50% off of the price stated in my post.  Thanks for the kind words.

BTW, I've been following your posts also on your work on your Class C.  Looks like we've got a couple of pretty talented women in this forum.  Nice work!
Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

Sportsdad

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2009, 08:02:07 AM »
rsalhus, that looks great and thanks much for the pictures!

I'm in contact with a shop about 2 hours from here. I sent her pics this morning of what I want done. I don't think this is a job I can tackle myself due to lack of experience and a HD sewing machine.

Thanks for you feedback!

PatrioticStabilist

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2009, 08:56:38 AM »
I've been resewing all my curtains, well about all them for the RV, finally finished.  And the tops of the slide in ones have a plastic piece on plastic tape.  I can sew using a heavy duty needle and my walking foot, but its a problem getting around the plastic carriers so even on those I have done some hand sewing.  I would think it would be impossible to sew fabric onto those plastic carriers with even a machine like mine. 

Sometimes we do have to give up and have things done as the equipment to do it with would cost more then the job, it does happen.

rsalhus

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2009, 09:19:42 AM »
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I have a Class C that I'd like to do, but can't justify paying the labor of someone else doing the  job. I'd like to do it myself.

Sportsdad, I know what you mean, we like to do things ourselves also where we can.  But sewing is something that most men don't usually do.  I never could figure out how to fix or maintain my wife's sewing machines and she doesn't really care to know HOW they work, just IF they work.  We've had to take the industrial machine in to a repair shop a number of times to have the timing set on it after it got jammed, which is something they don't and won't teach you or show you how to do in a manual. 

For upholstery work you need an industrial sewing machine, a large work area, strong upholstery needles and strong upholstery thread, so you really need to do a lot of upholstery work to justify all the costs.  Lucky for us, my wife has always done lots of sewing.  She's made lots of clothes for all of us, outfits for our daughter's Barbie dolls, and once she made me a business suit, so she's not afraid to try something new.  She's really good reupholstering cushions and once bought all new (expensive) foam and made all new cushions for a large sailboat for a friend.  But I digress.

I've been following your work on your Class C also.  Looks like you're doing a good job on it, and I enjoy seeing the pictures.  You have a nice shop to do the work indoors, that helps a lot.  It was so cold here in Minnesota in October that it's hard to get things done outside.  November has actually been warmer than October here so I've been able to get a few more things done before we head south for the winter.

Rolf Salhus
Currently at:  Our home in Apple Valley, MN

Sportsdad

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Re: DIY Reupholstery?
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2009, 11:23:48 AM »
Sportsdad, I know what you mean, we like to do things ourselves also where we can.  But sewing is something that most men don't usually do.  I never could figure out how to fix or maintain my wife's sewing machines and she doesn't really care to know HOW they work, just IF they work.  We've had to take the industrial machine in to a repair shop a number of times to have the timing set on it after it got jammed, which is something they don't and won't teach you or show you how to do in a manual. 

For upholstery work you need an industrial sewing machine, a large work area, strong upholstery needles and strong upholstery thread, so you really need to do a lot of upholstery work to justify all the costs.  Lucky for us, my wife has always done lots of sewing.  She's made lots of clothes for all of us, outfits for our daughter's Barbie dolls, and once she made me a business suit, so she's not afraid to try something new.  She's really good reupholstering cushions and once bought all new (expensive) foam and made all new cushions for a large sailboat for a friend.  But I digress.

I've been following your work on your Class C also.  Looks like you're doing a good job on it, and I enjoy seeing the pictures.  You have a nice shop to do the work indoors, that helps a lot.  It was so cold here in Minnesota in October that it's hard to get things done outside.  November has actually been warmer than October here so I've been able to get a few more things done before we head south for the winter.


Thanks!

Re:Minnesota--I grew up in Hugo, MN...just north of the TC. My sister and father still live there and I visit everry other year. Next August we're considering doing an RV trip for 2 weeks for my Dad's 80th B-day, at Cass Lake, where we used to own a cabin (Will probably stay at Norway Beach campground, as we have done in years past during family camping reunions)

Enjoy your winter in the south! My Dad is still on the fence whether he and his wife will travel south with their 34' 5th wheel this year.

 

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