Reupholstering a Camelback Sofa
Camelback sofas are antique-style sofas with raised backs. They can be difficult to reupholster because they have an unusual shape and often have extra detailing. When reupholstering a camelback couch, follow the original shape and pattern to get the best results. You can modify the couch somewhat, such as not adding decorative buttons or piping, but otherwise stay true to the original design. Use upholstery fabric that doesn't have patterns on it so it is easier to line up the pieces.
Examine the sofa to see how it was put together. Note where the seams and staples are, and any extra detailing.
Remove the fabric from the cushions. Start with the dust cover on the bottom by removing the staples. Follow with the outside back of the chair by pulling out the staples at the bottom seam and then pulling out the staples or tacks along the edges. Remove the fabric from the arms and armrests by pulling out the staples. Label the two arms so you can tell the two sides apart. Take off the inside back, wings and seat fabric in that order.
Smooth the old fabric out on a flat surface and measure the pieces to see how much yardage you need for the new fabric. Add at least 2 yards to the measurement so you have extra fabric in case of error.
Cut the new fabric using the old fabric as a template. Add 1 extra inch around the edges so you have slightly more than enough yardage to work with; you can trim this later. Make sure you follow the curves of the camelback carefully so your panels will fit the oddly shaped sofa.
Iron the fabric smooth. Heat the iron to a setting appropriate for the fabric, or use low heat if you are unsure. Fold the edges of the fabric over by a half-inch to give the fabric a smooth edge. Iron the fold in place.
Reassemble the chair by putting the pieces back on the opposite order you took them off, starting with the seat of the couch and working to the outside back. Use staples in hidden areas and blind stitching, done with a curved needle, on the sides and visible seams.
Finish the project by measuring, cutting and stapling the dust cover to the bottom of the chair.
- Reuse or replace any foam padding you find depending on the condition it is in.
- Always get your fabric and padding as smooth and taut as possible for a professional look.
- Take pictures of the sofa as you dismantle it so you can refer to them when you reassemble the sofa.
Shara JJ Cooper graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2000, and has worked professionally ever since. She has a passion for community journalism, but likes to mix it up by writing for a variety of publications. Cooper is the owner/editor of the Boundary Sentinel, a web-based newspaper.