How to Repair Torn Furniture Fabric

It’s a nightmare to discover a piece of furniture with torn fabric, but accidents happen, and fabric isn’t completely indestructible no matter how strong. If you’ve discovered a torn couch, chair, loveseat, or any other piece of furniture in your home, don’t panic. Chances are you can easily repair the damage without taking to a professional. Consider the following ways to repair torn furniture before throwing it away or covering it with a throw. Even if the furniture is old, you will gain many more months or years of use with a simple repair.

Torn Corners

A corner on my reclining chair became torn after hitting a cement wall in my partially finished basement, and I thought for sure it was beyond repair. My chair that wasn’t very old didn’t look very good with the fabric missing on the corner, but I fixed the problem with an upholstery tack. I put decorative upholstery tacks on both corners so they would look uniform, and it looked like they were part of the chair. Not only did the upholstery tacks repair the material on my chair, but they also protected the corners of the chair from further damage.

A Small Tear

Small tears in obvious places can be stitched closed to repair them and prevent further damage. Choose thread that matches as closely as possible to the torn material, and whipstitch it closed using tiny stitches. The repair won’t look perfect, but stitching the fabric will stop the material from continuing to tear.

If the tear is on a cushion, if possible, flip it over after completing the repair. If the tear is on the arm, locate sturdy material that most closely matches the furniture, and make arm covers. Even someone who doesn’t know how to sew can stitch the edges of fabric by hand to make sturdy arm covers. The covers will hide the repair, and they will help prevent further damage.

A Large Tear

You can repair a large area of torn material on a couch or a chair with material from the back of the piece of furniture. Neatly and evenly cut away the material around the frame of the back, and replace it with a solid color that most closely matches. Fold over or stitch raw edges, and attach the new fabric with hot glue or fabric glue and decorative upholstery tacks. If the back faces the wall, chances are no one will notice the repair, and if the fabric matches well, it won’t matter if it’s visible.

Take the material from the back of the torn piece of furniture, and make a new piece to cover the section that was damaged. Tuck in the fabric, and glue down the edges that won’t be seen with heavy-duty fabric glue. Use a little creativity and ingenuity to make a torn section of fabric virtually unnoticeable.

If you’re good at sewing, and you have a large enough piece to cover the torn section, elastic can be sewn around the edges of the material to make a matching fitted cover for a damaged cushion. Otherwise, wrap it around and glue the raw edges with fabric glue. Allow the repair to dry for 24 hours before using the furniture.

Cat Claw Tears

Cats with claws can wreak havoc on the corners of couches and chairs, and sharp claws will eventually rip, snag, and permanently damage furniture. If you have a couch or chair with fabric that has been ripped and snagged by cat claws, the corners can be covered and repaired.

Locate sturdy woven fabric that coordinates with the torn fabric. Cut two pieces of equal fabric equal in size that will completely cover the areas of damage. To prevent fraying and make the sections of fabric neater in appearance, fold and stitch the edges. Using fabric glue or a hot glue gun, evenly attach the new fabric pieces over the torn areas. To help prevent further damage, keep scratching posts at the corners of furniture.

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