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Repairing Fabric Upholstery

Category Furniture
Knowing a good way to fix fabric upholstery can extend the life of your furniture. This page is about repairing fabric upholstery.


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Think 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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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

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?


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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September 7, 20150 found this helpful

A possible fix-if the bleached area is not very large, you can color the entire area with a permanent marker of the closest color range. You will at least have less of a color difference.

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September 8, 20150 found this helpful

Bleach is not a stain; bleach removes the original colour, so there is no way to "remove" the whitish splotch that is left. You can try, as the previous poster suggested, colouring over it with a jiffy marker, if it is not large. I suppose it might be possible to re-dye that part of the couch, but I do not know how to do that, nor have ever heard of anyone who did it. If it is too big to cover with jiffy marker, you might have to cover it with an afghan or a throw of some sort.

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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:


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.

Thank you.

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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?


November 12, 20150 found this helpful

As he will continue to use the leg rest for lift, cover the entire area with real or fake leather, rubber, poly-something durable, and attach with glue, stitching, etc. This would repair the area and prevent future wear for a long time, perhaps until the chair needs to be replaced.

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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

I 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


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


April 13, 20150 found this helpful

Is this that cheap stuff they put under furniture just to keep the stuffing from falling out? Remove it all. Find a thin fabric that is a dark or light color depending on your fabric. A cheap cotton sheet will work.

Cut it to fit with a little left over. Fold over the edges and a staple gun puts it on.

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February 28, 2013

How do you repair a damaged mocha color micro suede sofa done by bleach? please help I just bought it.

By Wendy T. from Detroit, MI


March 2, 20130 found this helpful

You can buy a small pot of fabric paint (any craft store) or dye (be sure to follow dye package instructions) to try 'painting' in the bleach spots.

Carefully apply a light layer of colour to the spots with a cotton bud (cotton swab or Q-Tip if you're in the US).

You might be tempted to apply heavily but resist the temptation-it's better to let the first application dry to see if you're going to need to apply another coat. It may take several applications to completely cover but one heavy application will take forever to dry and may not look right. Several thin applications are much better than one thick one for the best appearance.

Put a plastic colander (spaghetti strainer) over the spots you've 'painted' and let dry undisturbed for at least 48 hours. Check the coverage and reapply if necessary until you reach the right coverage.

BtW, this usually works with bleached spots on carpeting:) Good luck, let us know what ends up working for you!

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March 11, 2011

Help! I visited my son and new daughter-in-law's home the other day and accidentally caught something on their seat cushion. When I pulled away, I tore a large hole. I took to an upholsterer, no luck (not enough material). I called the manufacturer (no luck, discontinued). I feel terrible. Any ideas? Thanks so much!

By marcamp from Philadelphia


March 11, 20110 found this helpful

IF the family likes this idea of repair, you could buy complimentary colored fabric and make cushion covers with a zipper, so all cushions match the furniture (sofa/chair). The daughter-in-law could go with you to shop for the fabric. If the project is not something you care to tackle, have a professional seamstress/upholsterer do the work. A professional upholsterer may know how to mend the tear so it doesn't make it worse, but a zip covering would certainly conceal the patch work and can be washable.

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July 7, 2007

The heat of my blow-dryer burned my sofa and gave it a hole. The area looks dark and fragile. How can I repair the burn without making it worst?


By (Guest Post)
July 27, 20070 found this helpful

If your sofa is not too old, you can contact the manufacturer and order the piece that's damaged.
You will need to provide them with some serial number information located in the bottom of your sofa. After you get the new pieces delivered, you need to contact a furniture repair service that could install this for you. Do not contact an upholstery shop for they will try to overcharge for this type of repair. In the Houston area you can contact me @

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April 25, 2014

We've just bought a new fabric sofa and I left a plate on it. I cannot remember, but I assume that the plate was hot. It has now left a mark on my sofa cushion, is there anything that I can do to remove it?

By Sarah from Seattle, WA

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October 2, 2013

My cushion on my sectional is some kind of yarn fabric. My dog clawed at it and it looks like sting cheese. Is there any way I can fix it? I just got the sectional as a gift from my friend.

By anitaselawiskawa

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July 22, 2009

Can anyone tell me how to brighten up the inner lining of a baby pram? The fabric is mostly white and where the sun has got at it, it has become yellow. It is a polyester mix. Many thanks.

By janice from England

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July 24, 2018

Some kitties prefer using your furniture rather than their scratching post. Should this happen to your furniture you have a couple of choices, one is to search for a cover for the piece, or if you are up for the task you might try to patch the area with new upholstery. This is a page about repairing recliner upholstery that was destroyed by a cat.

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