Method 2: Using the Old Cover for a Pattern


Pros, Advantages of Using the Old Cover for a Pattern:


  • You don't have to worry or stress about measuring and doing a layout.
  • Providing it fits, you can use the old cover as a pattern. This can help you make a good fitting new cover.


Cons, Disadvantages of Not Doing a Cutting Layout in Advance:


  • You won't know if you have enough fabric until you have every last piece of fabric cut. If you don't have enough fabric, you might not be able to get more, or it might make you put the job on hold until the new fabric arrives. Since this is not a very efficient use of fabric, make sure you have plenty of fabric.
  • You won't have the old cover on the frame to refer to as you cut and sew the fabric
  • Since you take all the seams apart, you may get confused about how it all goes back together.
  • Since you won't be able to plan your cuts very well, you may cut inefficiently and therefore run short of fabric. In this case you may have to piece together together some of the scraps to make some of your pieces.
  • Some people use the old cover as a pattern to cut the new fabric. This method is for people who don't like to make a layout.


Removing the Old Cover


For more helping in removing the old cover, see Tear Down Methods and Using An Air Ripping Chisel

As you remover the old cover, take care to remove each piece without ripping it very much. When you start putting the new cover on, you may find it useful to look at the old cover to see how it was made, how it was folded, etc. If you just rip the old cover to shreds while removing it, then you won't have it as a guide to help you put the new cover on.

To remove the old cover, you will mainly need a hammer and ripping chisel. Other tools that you will also need are a pair of pliers, scissors, a staple remover, screwdrivers, and (occassionaly, some wrenches).

You will remove the old cover the opposite way how it was attached, removing the bottom and outside first.

If the sofa has a skirt, remove that first.
Turn the sofa on its back or upside down.
Remove the dustcloth (It is the one piece you can just rip off.)
With the sofa still upside down, take loose all the fabric that is attached to the bottom of the sofa.

the bottom edges of the outside arms, outside back, and deck.


Cutting the Fabric


After you have all the old cover stripped off the frame, remove all the tacks or staples from the old cover. First draw alignment marks, with ID letters, on both sides of all seams on the top side of the old cover. Then take apart all the pieces of the cover, take apart all the seams, and iron them all flat. If the old cover is very soft and limp, you might want to use some spray starch on it as you iron it so that it will lay out flat and stiff. That will make it easier when you are trying to lay it out for a pattern. Make sure that you mark each and every piece, no matter how small, where it came from, (IB, IA, OA, etc.) or all the pieces will become one big jumbled mess that will be very confusing.

Then you'll need a large flat and very clean area to roll out the fabric. It could be on a long table, floor, deck, etc.  If you decide to make a table you might like to know that the upholstery cutting table that many upholsterers use is 60" wide. Roll out the fabric

(If at all possible, it would be very helpful to be able to roll out the whole role of fabric at one time.)

Sewing The Cover