The Third Segment: The DIY Upholstery
Part Three in the Building an Upholstered Sofa series is about the DIY upholstery. (In case you missed them, here are Part One and Part Two!) To me, the upholstery is the easiest part. The upholstery is easy to do, and doesn’t require a lot of fancy tools but it does require the ability to sew a straight line with a sewing machine!
The seat frame and the back of the sofa should be fully assembled at this point but not secured together. See the Part One post for the supply and tool list. I purchased nine yards of fabric for the sofa but didn’t use all of it, though I still need to add the back cover to the sofa! A word of warning: a LOT of staples will be used and I highly recommend using a pneumatic upholstery stapler (<–affiliate link!).
I started by cutting pieces of Elasbelt to use on the seat frame. Elasbelt takes the place of using springs in upholstery. It is easy to install and comfortable. I stapled pieces of Elasbelt to one end of the frame and used a webbing stretcher tool to stretch the Elasbelt over the frame to staple it to the other side.
Here is a video demonstrating Elasbelt:
Once the Elasbelt was stapled to the frame, I covered the edges of the front and sides with Edgeroll (also called Fox Edge) to cover the edges of the frame. This way, the hard edges of the wood are not felt through the fabric and batting, and it gives a professional look to the project.
I cut a piece of 1″ foam to fit the front and sides of the seat frame between the pieces of Edgeroll, then covered everything with upholstery batting, stapling it in place.
I cut a piece of fabric long enough to wrap around the sides and front of the frame and wide enough to cover the Edgeroll and foam with a 1/2″ hem along each long edge, then stapled it in place.
** I did not photograph the steps for the back base frame (I forgot). I’ve attached photos of the upholstered chair that I built because the process is exactly same!**
For the back frame, I covered the outer edges of the frame and base with Edgeroll, stapling it in place. I also cut a piece of 1″ foam to fit along the top and sides between the Edgeroll pieces. I also cut a piece of 1″ foam to cover the back base then covered everything with upholstery batting, stapling it in place.
I covered the entire back base frame with fabric, matching the pattern on the seat frame the best I could, then stapled it in place.
I placed the lower end of the back base frame on the seat frame between the back framing piece and the back support piece. Because the framing for the back was cut at an angle (15°), the frame leans and the plywood rests against the back support piece. I secured the back base to the back frame using 1/4″ x 4-1/2″ lag screws (<– affiliate link): three going straight through the back piece on the seat frame, and three going the opposite direction through the back support piece. These screws are amazing because they hold the back securely and the wide washer head does not allow the screw to sink through the wood frame.
The last step (which I honestly have not completed on my sofa!) is to cut a piece of fabric large enough to cover the back, securing in place with upholstery nail heads. The fabric can be hot glued in place first, then the nails can be used to secure it.
Stay tuned for the final post in the Building an Upholstered Sofa series where the seat cushion will be created! Have questions about Building an Upholstered Sofa: The DIY Upholstery? Leave a comment below!