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December 14, 2012 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of buying and repairing this vinyl sofa and chair set, but some of the tufted buttons are missing. Anyone know how possible it is to repair this?

I'm concerned that 1) I may have to re-fold the vinyl in order to get it to look uniform with the other buttons and that I may not be able to successfully do it and 2) that the vinyl will crack.

Any furniture-handy people have any insight on this? Is there anything else that your experienced eye sees that I might have missed, or problems that I haven't thought of?

I have some experience sewing and am pretty handy, but no experience sewing heavy materials. If I can't bring these guys back into pretty good condition, I don't want to buy them.
posted by nosila to Home & Garden (2 answers total)
the buttons are done from the back of the padding, so you'd have to separate that front padding layer off the back and poke the thread through from the button side. whether it would cause cracking or anything depends on how the sitting layer is attached to the back, which isn't apparent from the pics. on the upside, it's not folded, those are tension creases from pulling the buttons in.
posted by rhizome at 8:01 PM on December 14, 2012

I agree that you will be working from the back, but I always thought the thread of a tufted button went through the padding all the way and that creates the dimpled appearance.

It has been a long time since I tufted anything, and I don't have experience with vinyl. You might want to call this DIY upholstery supply house:

They also have a forum.
This tufting needle will let you work without removing the back of the piece at all:

The main thing about sewing heavy materials is that you need equally beefy thread and needle.

If the vinyl is old enough to need repair, the whole piece may need some TLC, some sort of vinyl conditioner?

Are you satisfied with bones of the piece, the quality of the frame?
Have you gotten an estimate from an upholsterer? It may cost a lot less than you'd expect and may also help you negotiate the price. In general, older furniture is often of so much higher quality that it is worth repairing and even keeping until you can afford to repair it.

Good luck!
posted by egk at 5:14 AM on December 15, 2012

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