I really, really,… really thought that I would have many words of patronizing wisdom to share with all of you after going through this long and daring process. I really, really thought that after screwing up one of the seat’s arms, the second arm would turn out perfect. And painless.
Well, I may not have found the secret to perfect and painless DIY reupholstering, but at least I have to tell the world that for better or for worse, I did it. I feared it, yes. And I wasn’t sure that I would be able to succeed. But I did it: Our love seat has a new and brighter burnt orange skin, and I feel like a true champ…
Imaginary Journalist: Champ! Champ!… How do you feel about your performance?
Mafe Maria: Well, pretty satisfied. “The victim” may not have perfect classic beauty, but she surely looks a lot happier now. The flaws, although evident, are not bad enough to completely ruin my Feng Shui.
IJ: What flaws?
MM: I couldn’t get a clean line along the seams between the inner side and the front of both arms. Both seams look a little rippled.
IJ: Why not? What’s so hard about that?
MM: Well, you have to to staple the material backwards along a curved edge, and then flip it and hope that your curvature is perfect for the material to fit tightly along the curve of the arm. Pretty hard if you’ve never done this before… Although I tried all crafty engineering tricks in my bag, I couldn’t get it perfect. I have a new appreciation for people that do this professionally.
IJ: Is there anything you can do to fix the flaws?
MM: I could do it all over again (no thanks), and my husband suggested gluing piping to conceal the flaw. I laughed at him, ha! ha! ha!… “Glue”, please!… but then I thought that I might sew some cord to conceal the rippled edge. Or not.
IJ: Sounds like applying piping from the beginning would’ve helped, don’t you think?
MM: I guess. When I started this process I decided to skip the piping to make it easier — and faster. I think piping would’ve brought a few more challenges anyway.
IJ: Hmmm…. Did you take any more shortcuts?
IJ: Tricksie… Very tricksie… Do you have any words of wisdom for people attempting this at home?
MM: Cut the material a little larger than the original pieces to allow for error.
IJ: That’s it? I thought you were going to give more detail on how you did it…
MM: Every piece of furniture is different. I thought I would share more of my process, but explaining it with words is harder than seeing it. In the end, what you need to do is remove the material in a logical way, make notes, take pictures, understand how the piece is put together. And then you need to put it together. I didn’t know this, but there are some very good upholstery books in your local fabric store.
IJ: Will you attempt this again?
MM: I still need to do the ottoman that goes with this piece. Will I reupholster more furniture in the future?… I’m not sure. Maybe. Definitely not a bigger piece, definitely not this year. So, maybe not…. But perhaps.
IJ: Thank you champ.
MM: Thank you.