Spruce Upholstery Tip: Replicating a Sewn Upholstery Pattern

I find many people are discouraged from taking on certain upholstery projects because of their lack of sewing abilities. When I started at Spruce, I had very little sewing experience. You may be surprised at how simple upholstery sewing usually is. I have a neat little tip for you to keep in your back pocket the next time you find yourself facing a sewing machine.

When tackling the above dining chairs, I knew I would be facing a good bit of sewing. With this style of chair, the fabric is completely sewn together, and then slipped onto to the chair and stapled in place. Since we are trying to achieve the same fitted look, keeping the original padding, we’ll use the previous fabric pieces as a pattern. This will be a huge time saver, and “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The first thing you should do after releasing the upholstery from the chair is turn the entire piece inside-out and label each sewn part. This is important because once taken apart, it’s easy to get confused.

label old pattern 1

Use your scissors to cut random incremental notches along the seam. The previous upholsterer already made some notches, but it won’t hurt to add a few more. We’ll line up these notches later when we sew together the new pieces.

add notches1 notch 1

Carefully disassemble the sewn fabric pieces by cutting the threads in the seams. Be sure to keep each piece intact.

old pattern deconstructed

Next, iron the individual pieces so they lie flat.

iron old pattern

Now it’s time to trace the old patterns onto the new fabric. It’s important to mark where each of the cut notches are. After all the pieces are cut out, be sure to cut more notches where marked. This will serve as a guide when sewing the new pieces together and ensure that everything is sewn in the right place.

tracing new pattern

Time to put the puzzle back together. Line up your notches and sew it all together. Drum roll please……

Pattern making tip

There you have it, folks! As you can see, this method really works. The upholstery fits snugly around the frame, giving this chair a clean, modern look. Now it’s your turn. I know you can do it!