Repairing Fabric Upholstery

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September 19, 2007

Brown Fabric Upholstery on CouchThink of spray glue as a help with spiffing up your upholstery! My husband, the practical one, used spray glue to glue the tapestry placemats that I had decided to use as sort of antimacassars in a contrasting pattern (you know, they are those doily things on sofas, etc.) on a wing chair we had which had bad wear on the arms. Then later, we used the spray glue to hold on another piece of fabric on the seat cushion when it started to wear there. The fabric underneath is shot, anyway, so no harm done - and it does hold them in place!


By pamphyila from Los Angeles. CA

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23 Questions

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September 6, 2015

I have a bleach stain on the front flat leg of my beige microfiber couch! Do you have any tricks for removing this stain?


Bronze Answer Medal for All Time! 220 Answers
September 7, 20150 found this helpful

Bleach removes color from almost all fabrics, including microfiber. The "stain" you see is where the bleach removed the fabric color.


So, a bleach spot cannot be removed to show the original color as that color is now "bleached out".

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April 8, 2013

I have a tear in my couch, not leather, some kind of fabric. It's 2-3 inches long, almost like a slit. I just needed some idea of how to fix it easily and not costly?

By Rachel


April 9, 20130 found this helpful

Can you sew it by hand? Otherwise you can cut a piece to fit from underneath if there is material there or off the back if it doesn't show and super glue that patch you cut over the rip. Glue the edges of the fabric underneath as well to prevent fraying. If all else fails you can cover with a slip cover. Good luck.

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April 9, 20131 found this helpful

If you can thread a needle, you can repair this tear but no matter how well you sew, the repair will more than likely show.

You'll need to buy a specialty hand sewing needle, it looks like a half-circle. It is usually packed as an upholstery needle with several other specialty needles (for leather, fur, canvas, etc) but you can also buy them packaged as quilter's needles that come in several different sizes-the one you want is one sharp enough to go through your upholstery fabric without leaving an obvious poke hole:

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Be sure to use a matching waxed upholstery or buttonhole weight thread. The stitch you'll need to use is the whip stitch-it's a very simple 'round and round' closure stitch for joining two edges when you can't sew a normal seam.

The following link takes you to an amazing tutorial on repairing torn upholstery:

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April 10, 20130 found this helpful

There are excellent iron on fabrics at a fabric store that can be ironed on the back of your torn fabric. If your cushion has a zipper take the cushion out and iron the fabric on the back, closing the tear. If your cushion does not have a zipper you can open the stitching along the edge with a seam ripper to remove the cushion.


after ironing the tear closed, hand stitch the cushion back inside the fabric covering. If you are not a crafter/seamstress get a friend or ask for help at a fabric store. This method will show the least when you are finished.

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June 16, 2008

We are moving from a trailer to a house and I need help! I have a couch that my cat ripped up the sides and front. It is comfortable and sturdy. I hate slipcovers. They seem to fall off every time you sit down. Is there any other way to bring it back to life? I would really appreciate the advice. THANKS!

CJ from Liverpool, OH


By Amy (Guest Post)
June 16, 20080 found this helpful

This is what I have done, and it works pretty well, it looks a lot better than shredded upholstery: search fabric stores for fabric that matches your furniture. Measure the amount you will need to cover the damaged area and cut that amount from the fabric. Use fabric glue to fold down the edges (to give you a smooth edge, or you could sew that if you wanted) and then use the fabric glue to attach to the furniture and cover the damaged areas.


Once you find the fabric that you want, it only takes a few minutes to fix.

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By KJ (Guest Post)
June 16, 20080 found this helpful

My kitty Sierra did this too. The 2 front sides of my loveseat/chair were becoming damaged. I used the 2 throw pillows and made 'patches' to hot glue on the front. She still clawed on the patches, but didn't get under to the actual furrniture. I also agree with the other responder - Syd. If you put the piece against the wall, use the matching back fabric. But, buy a complimentary color/weight of fabric to replace the fabric you took off.

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By Jennifert (Guest Post)
June 17, 20080 found this helpful

I seem to have the same problem. What I did is I got a very small bladed electric shaver and I shaved off the messy string. It seems to work very well.

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June 17, 20080 found this helpful

I have a tip for you too! But first, I just wanted to say HELLO to you! I know who you are and you know me too! I sent you pictures and told you about this site! LOL


Here's my tip:
I just cover my old couch with a blanket and change it out every week (once it's covered in cat/dog hairs) LOL It does cover up all of the rips and holes caused by my animals. No one knows there is an old ripped up couch under my pretty quilts I put on it! LOL


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By no name today (Guest Post)
June 17, 20080 found this helpful

Learn to clip kitty toenails.

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By LYNDA (Guest Post)
June 19, 20080 found this helpful

This is what I'd do if it were mine, even in slightly imperfectly repaired:

For cloth furniture:

Take an upholstery arched needle from a misc. needle package, thread with exactly matching (in thickness, type, and color) thread, and spend about a half-day gently sewing the cloth back together by using the thread to replace the missing or broken threads, even if you have to move at a microscopic pace. Start in a less noticeable place and learn there how to do it, or - if - it can be repaired satisfactorily, not expecting too much.

For synthetic leather:

Invest in a large box of crayons. Find the color match. Use a tiny hand held/ worked open crayon sharpener, like for an eyebrow or eye liner pencil, and shave small thin amounts of crayon to match the size and color of the hole(s). Lay enough slices of crayon shavings to build up the thickness of each hole, using waxed paper and a warm iron. Between each layer of crayon, removing waxed paper between warmings, using a new piece of wax paper for each warming, and immediately applying either a piece of matching vinyl face down for a matching pattern imprint, or, if the surface of the vinyl is smooth, use another place on the waxed paper to flatten and smooth the pattern of the patched area down, being careful not to overheat the iron, practicing on an inconspicuous area first, then applying to each hole. When cool, seal each patch with clear nail polish, overlapping edges of patch a bit, and let dry.

If leather:

Follow same as with vinyl, except prepare to use a great deal more crayon shavings to build the proper thickness, then seal with clear nail polish overlapping edges a bit, and let totally dry.

(Make a scratching post for every single room in which the cat damages furniture or rugs. Buy a watergun and use it each time the cat begins to scratch. Place the cat in the kitchen or bath when you are gone, with paper, water/ food, a soft bed, and a scratching post.

When you return, praise the cat saying "good kitty for staying in room.", And let it out to rest of house.

When training, you don't have to spray but a little water on the face, or front paws for the cat to get the point. They are smarter than we think, yet most independent and stubborn.

They can be trained, however, and appreciate boundaries in a maze of furniture, cloth, attractions, curiosities, and nooks/ crannies.

It's worth the effort, because as they grow, they will not need the water gun they will quickly learn to respect and to know when you just begin to reach for it.

Do lots of "praising and petting at same time" when they do as they are told, or without having to be sprayed, repeating the same phrases such as :

"good kitty for not making messy-messy" or
"good kitty for scratching the post" or
"good girl/boy for ______________", and so on.

Give only praises and petting, not treats or food, unless you like a never-ending training season. They would learn that if they t r y to scratch, they get a treat/snack.

Best to reward with honest affection which they crave, and with a "pass the butter" voice, not loud whoops, as my neighbor does for every one of anything and everything each of her three boys does, it seems. Lol

The only irrepairable fabric, I believe, is silk and microfiber. Avoid these fabrics on furniture.

I once both repaired and sold a five piece black leather living room set which i picked up curbside being tossed because of repairable rips. I used spare fabric from the bottom and replaced the bottom gauze cloth with new, telling and showing the buyers where and how I repaired it. That was years ago, and I doubt that I could do it now.

If the holes, rips on your furniture are really bad, I'd train the pet to the linoleum or tile, or into a restricted area only once you repair the damage, rather than to take a chance on a repeat performance even after training should that pet get upset at you for any reason.

It's not cruel to train, but is cruel to allow them to ruin furniture out of our ignorance. They are cats, but must be disciplined properly. Do not pet them right after spraying, but do pet them after they have licked themselves and dried.

Comb long hair cats, love them gently, never playing rough unless you like aggression and destruction. Cats do what they want, learn or are taught, as well as whatever they are not taught that you might have forgotten or dislike. They are animals, not humans.

Good luck and God bless and help you with the right decision, repairs, and consistent training of your pet. : )

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By Christine F. (Guest Post)
November 8, 20080 found this helpful

I would be pleased if anyone can give me any idea as to what I can put on the wall to stop my kitten stripping the wallpaper. It happens mainly on the corners.

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February 19, 2019

The fabric from the front arm panel got pulled out and I need to find a way to put it back in and have it stay. I have taken the photos from three different distances. Any suggestions on how to fix it would be greatly appreciated.Repairing an Upholstered Chair - pulled upholstery on arm of a chair


Thank you.

Repairing an Upholstered Chair
Repairing an Upholstered Chair
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February 3, 2016

My cat used a portion of the sofa arm for claw sharpening, leaving a damaged area. I have plenty of the (white) original fabric.

I thought of cutting a patch and fusing it with an iron to the damaged area. What sort of fusible product would I use?

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November 11, 2015

My husband sits in a lift chair that he has had for only 2 years. Because of the pain that he has he puts his heel on the leg rest. The fabric is starting to breakdown and thread is starting to pull apart. Does anyone have a solution to fixing the fabric or what to cover it with?


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February 21, 2015

I replaced my 25 year old living room set with a new one thinking it would last rest of my life. Unfortunately I got 2 puppies that have a "licking problem" and they have licked the fabric to the point of it looks like it has holes in it. They have licked off the top layer of fabric. I tried matching the color with fabric paint and now it looks even worse. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

By betty44 from Slate Hill, NY

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February 5, 2015

cup ring on blue upholsteryI have several cup marks on a footstool/ottoman. Does anyone know how I could get rid of them?


By Ian

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April 15, 2012

Our cats tore up a corner of thecouch, clear to the wood. How can we fix it and keep them from doing it again?

By Debbie


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April 16, 20120 found this helpful

Been there, done that-both dogs and cats seem to think the family sofa is OK for scratching post use!

We have never been able to convince them otherwise, so rather than forgo having them in the family, we use carpet samples-tacked, nailed, screwed, or sewn with upholstery needles and dental floss to the shredded area. Replace as needed.

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April 16, 20120 found this helpful

I don't know how to repair the couch, but I keep my cat from shredding the corners by draping throws or afghans over the arms. Since the cat didn't bother the front of the couch, this has proved effective. You also need to try to provide other appropriate cat scratching posts.

My cats don't like carpet covered posts or even a real block of wood, but they do like a cat scratch box made from pieces of cardboard glued together. I got this from my neighbour, but I do not know where she purchased it. However, the cats like it, and I can put catnip in it, which certainly enhances its appeal.

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June 1, 2016

I have 20 yr old Sanderson floral fabric covered sofa for which I have some extra fabric to have new cushion covers made. However, there are a couple of parts of the fabric which I cannot replace that have wear in dark places.

Rather than just use a 'Crayola' type marker, are there professional indelible markers for this purpose? The fabric is cotton/linen/nylon and is washable, so I do not want the colour to run. Many thanks!

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May 24, 2016

How can you repair fraying upholstery fabric on couch arm and foot rest?

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April 13, 2015

How do I fix underneath my recliner rocker foot rest which has a large rip and the foam padding is dropping out when the foot rest is raised?

By Kym

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