Patching a shredded arm chair

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One day, we opened the back door, let a bunch of feral cats in, and then shut the door behind them. So when they took out their frustrations on our furniture, we really had no one to blame but ourselves. This wing backed armchair has been the primary object of their aggression for some time now. Finally, I decided to do something about it: I threw a blanket over it. But still, I knew the damage was under there and I couldn’t endure the shame. I figured that anything I did couldn’t make it look any worse, so I decided to patch it.

It’s a lot easier than you might think and you probably have most of the things you will need, such as thread and scrap fabric. You will want something thick and durable. I never get rid of fabric, so I had plenty to choose from. I used mattress ticking. Old curtains, tent canvas, and denim, are some other good options.

Things you will need:

  • Curved upholstery needle: These usually can be found in an assortment pack of heavy duty household needles. You can find these at any fabric store or online outlet. They have a million uses around the house.
  • Strong thread or string (I used basic white string)
  • Long pins: I borrowed some quilting pins from my spouse. The T-pins that upholsterers use would work even better.
  • Sewing Machine: This is optional. You will need to hem the fabric you intend to use. Another option is heat bonded hem tape. Then all you need is an iron.
  • Small spatula or butter knife.


Once you have chosen your fabric and determined that it will fit over the damaged area, you should hem all the edges to prevent the fabric from fraying .

Pinning the fabric in place:

Smooth out and pin the fabric in place over the damaged area. Allow plenty of overlap to prevent the damaged fabric from fraying. The smoother you can make the fabric, the better it will look in the end. Try to stretch the new fabric as best as you can over the damaged area.

If your patch meets up with an existing joint in the original upholstery you can use a small spatula to wedge the new fabric into the joint.


I found that the stitches looked best when I went up through the new fabric and then looped down into the original upholstery. I have no idea how to describe that any better, so you may need to experiment a bit. I got better at this as I went. If you are worried about friends and family scrutinizing your poor stitches, you can always snip the thread and undo some of your earlier work. Just don’t forget to tie it off so it doesn’t all come undone. On areas that won’t show, staples can add a bit of extra strength.

Final results:

That’s about it. If your sewing is really atrocious, you could always cover over it with some upholstery trim. Personally, I’m not a fan of gold brocade, but I’m sure there is something out there to suits every taste.

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