Fabric Upholstery Tips

Upholstery can truly seem like a daunting hobby to take on for someone that has never dabbled in it before. How do people take those old, funky chairs from flea markets and turn them into chic pieces for their homes? It has to be difficult, right? Not necessarily! Whether you’re thinking about re-covering an old but loved bench in your home or you want to really develop new skills in upholstery this year, it’s easier to get started than you might think. Check out these fabric upholstery tips to keep in mind when you take on your first project! Not only will these better inform your journey, but they just might save you from mistakes like choosing the wrong fabric type or sinking money in the wrong places.

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools

There are a few must-have things you’ll need for any upholstery project. These include the following:

  • Fabric: You will need fabric that is tough enough to be pulled around. It doesn’t have to be upholstery specific fabric, but it absolutely cannot be super thin. For chairs and sofas, upholstery-weight fabrics are a must.

  • Upholstery Tack Strip: You will need this to create that really nice, finished seam on straight-edged upholstery.

  • Hammer: Upholstery often requires use of grommets and nail heads, so a hammer is necessary.

  • Batting: This is the cotton sheets that make up the soft, plushy feel underneath upholstered fabrics. It’s pretty inexpensive, so make sure you have a plentiful amount on hand.

  • Staple Gun: These are needed for getting those staples in precisely, so the fabric is taut and smooth.

Typically, you should be able to find all of these items without spending a fortune. They’re all relatively affordable, especially when you choose a budget-friendly fabric. Have the Right Attitude

When you’re getting started in upholstery, one thing to keep in mind is your attitude. While you’re super excited to finish your finish project, it would be unusual if you didn’t run into a few hiccups along the way. There is a learning curve to the art of upholstery, but it’s one that you can handle! You can get outright frustrated and want to ditch a project after something goes haywire. Maybe a fabric you really love gets messed up or you nail in the grommets in the wrong spot. Things happen! However, it’s so important to remember to stick with it! Just like any hobby, upholstery takes time, patience, and practice to master. Even if your first project turns out to be not-so-beautiful, think of it as a learning experience rather than a botched job. Finish a project and then examine what can be improved on. When you roll with it, you’ll be so much more advanced a year from now!

Consider Learning with A Friend

One way to dull the pains of learning to upholster is by doing it with a friend. Not only will you have another set of hands to help pull fabric and hold tools, but having someone you feel comfortable with will make mistakes easier to swallow. Nobody likes to screw up alone, but with a friend, you can laugh it off. It will be even better if they’re interested in learning to upholster with you. It’s a great way to spend time together, and you can cheer each other on to finish projects. Plus, you can get feedback from a friend and vice versa.

Keep Your Projects Inexpensive

When you’re learning, keep it as affordable as possible when choosing fabrics. Not only will this be gentle on your wallet, but it will also feel better when you have an accident. Ripping an expensive piece of fabric never feels great, but when you’re a beginner, it can be devastating. While you should use fabrics that you really like, keep costs down as much as possible while you learn the ropes.

With this, you should have extra fabric on hand in the event that you mess up during a project. No doubt that this will happen, so prepare in advance. It’s easier to buy fabric in bulk when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!

Start with Simple Projects

Don’t jump to a complicated upholstery project right off the bat. That diamond tufted headboard can wait! Instead, choose something that mostly involves straight lines. Dining room chairs and benches are great examples. These will help you get the hang of upholstery before progressing into curves, which are harder to master. There are many tutorials online for beginner upholstery projects. You may even find a few online classes where instructors walk you through a project.

Pull That Fabric!

So long as the fabric is thick and durable, it will be just fine when you’re pulling it. Don’t worry about it ripping! For that store-bought look, it’ll need to be pulled as tight as possible. This is where that friend will come in handy. Otherwise, your chair or cushions will have a bumpy surface that just doesn’t look finished.

Jump In

While it makes sense that you want to be as informed as possible before starting, we recommend that you dive in. Sure, you can read tons of tutorials, but actually getting started will have a totally different feel. There may be obstacles that you don’t know how to approach, but you won’t know until you get going on your first upholstery project.

The world of upholstery is tons of fun when you approach it with a great attitude, the right tools, and have a friend to help you. You’ll be able to create beautiful pieces that will look lovely in your home or someone else’s. As your skills sharpen, you may find that your hobby could turn into a side business in your area! For high-quality upholstery fabrics that won’t break the bank, Best Fabric Store has you covered. With over 3,000 upholstery fabrics to choose from, you can easily find colors and patterns that you absolutely love. Plus, our website is full of upholstery blogs, tutorials, and projects we’ve completed to help inspire you!