blergh! the only hitch in my moving day
May 2, 2011 11:06 PM   Subscribe

People suck! while moving, i left my gorgeou 1930s sofa unattended for a tiny bit and someone slashed it up with a boxcutter. How should I sew it in order to mend it?

The fabric is sort of embossed or sheared short definitely has an up and down grain, and the slashes ranging 2-4" are in the direction of the grain. I'll post pictures in the comments if need be, but i'm wondering what the best stitch use in mending these would be. I'm asuming a tiny seam will be left, but hopefully the pattern of the fabric will hide it mostly. As i said, the slashes are straight up-and-down and fairly straight -- no ragged edges that need to be matched. thanks!
posted by custard heart to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Response by poster: yipes. 2 am after a long day of moving will make your spelling lousy.
posted by custard heart at 11:07 PM on May 2, 2011

Wow, I'm sorry that happened, your sofa sounds like a beaut.

I would suggest taking it to an upholsterer - they will probably have the tools to carefully remove the fabric, gently stitch it up from the inside, and re-secure it to the frame. I have seen a lot of cat claw damage in my day.
posted by troika at 11:19 PM on May 2, 2011

er, that didn't answer your question about what stitch is useful, but Upholster! magazine's forums can probably help you out.
posted by troika at 11:21 PM on May 2, 2011

That really sucks. The embossed/sheared short fabric sounds like a brocade which can be a pain to work with.

I've had some luck using an iron on patch behind the tear on a chair. Put the patch in behind the tear, mend the hole and then lightly iron so there's some support behind the mending job but my chair was a $10 yard sale buy with denim upholstery. The rip was also on the side where there's less strain on the fabric.

Your 1930s sofa would be a different ball of wax and you might want to prepare yourself to having to get it reupholstered. The problem with mending a sofa or chair is that the act of sitting can put a lot of strain on the fabric so an improper or weak mending job can cause further damage down the road. If your sofa has seen a lot of 'butt traffic' over the years the fabric might already be weak in places which further complicates things.

(do you have homeowner's/renter's insurance? this kind of damage might be covered under those policies)
posted by jaimystery at 4:26 AM on May 3, 2011

A friend's mom (who is a great seamstress) once helped me fix a torn sofa with a large, curved needle and embroidery floss that matched the fabric very closely. Even as a novice, I was able to repair it so that you had to get down on your knees and hunt to find the seam. You might want to give this a whirl, since it will cost you under $10 to get the supplies, even if it doesn't work for your sofa, it isn't much of a gamble.
posted by Leta at 5:26 AM on May 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would use something like a ladder stitch, if there is enough give in the fabric to completely close the gap.

If there's too much missing fabric (so that the gap won't close without putting tension on the rest of the upholstery), then you'll have to use a patch and it starts to get complicated.
posted by muddgirl at 6:55 AM on May 3, 2011

Response by poster: thanks! i'm going to do some investigation, and a curved needle will definitely be bought. ladder stitch looks like it'll do the trick. the cushions are detachable and fine --- 'butt traffic' per se is not going to be an issue, and the slashes are not in a place that will see a lot of wear. i'm mostly concerned with closing the slashes in a way that will be mostly invisible and thought i'd ask y'all before turning to the pile of sewing manuals which are currently packed somewheres in this mess. I'm very experienced with a needle but this particular problem is a new one to me. thanks all!
posted by custard heart at 8:47 AM on May 3, 2011

The trick to making it virtually invisible is to make the vertical stitch as close to the edge as possible - on thicker fabric you can even try to pick up some threads on the very edge of the rip.
posted by muddgirl at 8:55 AM on May 3, 2011

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