Preparing the Frame


Preparing the frame

After all the fabric has been removed, examine every place where the fabric had been attached. Clean up the frame from staples, cotton and fabric. You want to remove anything that will have a sharp edge or that will leave a bump. There are usually staples still in the wood. Remove the staples that have one prong sticking up. You can hammer flat the staples that have both ends in the wood.

While you are examining the frame, also examine the strength of the joints and boards. If the frame has any loose joints, you will need to either take that part of the frame apart or open the joint(s) up enough to glue (use a carpent's wood glue) into the joints and into the dowel holes. Sometimes you may also need to make fitted triangle shaped blocks to further strengthen the joint. After gluing, securely clamp the joints together until the glue dries. (Read the directions on the bottle of glue to find out how long to leave the clamps on.)

If you will be adding a skirt to this sofa, determine how tall you will want the skirt (6"-8" is a common height for skirts, measure to the top of the skirt welting. Then you'll want to make sure that the frame has wood to attach the skirt all around four sides. Sometimes you may need add wood to the frame to attach the skirt. However, if you need to add this wood, don't block any areas where fabric pulls through from the inside. If your chosen skirt height requires that you add wood to "pull through areas, then wait to add the wood until you have the inside of the chair finished.

The prevailing Thought

In examining and repairing (as necessary) the frame, springs, support linings, and paddings, keep in mind that each of these needs to last longer than the new fabric that you are applying. What is the point of putting a new cover on if the frame, springs, support linings, or padding will give out before the fabric wears out? So, as you are examining each of these, if any of them is not in excellent shape, you may be well advise to replace or repair them.


Most of the low to medium quality sofa have zig zag (arc) springs. This tutorial doesn't cover hand tied springs.

Test the springs for squeaks. Press down each spring and listen for a squeak. If you hear any squeak, you would most likely need to replace the spring clips at the end of the springs. (The springs clips have a paper insulation on the inside. When the paper wears through, then you have metal to metal rubber, which causes the sqeaks. Replacing the clips generally elminates most spring squeaks.

Next, tie about 4 or 5  strands of spring twine the length of the sofa. Tie the twine from spring to spring (tie both sides of the spring), attach each end of the twine to the sofa frame.

Then put new burlap over the springs. Add an insullation pad (or carpet pad) over the springs, followed by a layer of cotton.