I've been upholstering for a few years now. It started with very basic seats and gradually I got up the courage to upholster difficult pieces like an antique couch.
Today, I wanted to share some tips about fabrics.
1. Not all fabric should be used to upholster.
2. The more a piece will be used, the heavier you want the fabric. You don't want to go through all that work and not have the piece last! For a easy to cover piece, one of the heavier cotton home decor fabrics is fine.
3. Don't use stretchy fabric! You can't get a smooth result if the piece is stretchy. It will have puckers and wrinkles, especially after it is used.
4. Not all home decor fabrics are the same. When you see that title, you think it can be used for upholstering. Some can, but some can't. They use this term to identify everything from drapery fabrics to heavy duty upholstery fabric. Always check the weight and thickness. Some of those fabrics will be almost like sheers, some like a heavier cotton, and some heavy upholstery grade.
5. You will pay more for the heavy weight upholstery fabric. (unless you are super lucky and find some at a garage sale or goodwill, which I often do) If you want your piece to last, use it! I know I don't want to go through all of that work to have to redo it in a year or two.
Some curtains are very heavy and can be used to upholster as well.
The problem with thin material:
- It will wear and tear quickly
- It cannot sustain the pulling and tacking/stapling to get it good and tight
- It doesn't have the strength to hold into the staples or tacs, it can easily rip away.
With all that said, I hope it helps. I decided to touch on this after a client brought me some very thin cotton to cover a set of chairs. It hit me, that this is a topic that could hopefully help those of you who want to give upholstery a try.