how do schlubs like me re-stuff cheap (attached) couch seat cushions?
June 23, 2021 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I have a recliner sofa that was purchased, inexpensively, some years ago. The seat stuffing is completely compressed at my kid's favorite end of the sofa, but the sofa is otherwise sound and I'd like to restuff the cushion to make it civilized. All the cushions are firmly sewed in and I don't see any zippers. How do people who do not own couch-moving trucks deal with this?

I see various suggestions being made on the Internet but I can't tell which of these is good for "people like me" (those who do not own miter saws for sawing plywood boards, or big trucks for moving couches.)

Professional reupholstery probably means getting it to the shop, right? Renting a truck seems like a lot of trouble and expense for re-stuffing cheap sofa cushions.

I might be able to slit the back (?) or front-underside (?) of the cushion open with a utility knife, stuff a bunch of stuffing (?) in there, and sew it up by hand with a huge curved needle and some tough nylon thread? Would that work? I feel like trying to sew the seam from the outside will look very bad and not hold well.

I see some Internet suggestions being made to turn it upside down (ok, could do that) and address it from underneath?? Is that likely to be useful in the case of a recliner couch? I mean there's a big metal recliner mechanism in the way I think.

What do people do in these cases?
posted by fingersandtoes to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We had a similar situation. We wound up calling in an upholsterer who matched our material and cut the cushion free. They wrapped plywood with batting and the material to make a new base below the cushions and then made new removable cushions with zippers and new foam. It looked like new and lasted until we replaced it more than five years later.

It was a three cushion couch by Bassett. The replacement cushions cost us about $250 and took him a couple days to complete once he received the fabric.
posted by Barnsie at 10:24 AM on June 23, 2021

For a start i would turn it upside down simply to investigate, no cutting yet.
If the cushion you want to add stuffing to can easily be accessed from below (enough space to easily Cut, stuff and Close) i would cut an opening in the middle (Not Side/seam), add stuffing, and tape it with heavy duty duct tape.
However, i think if the source of the issue ist kids Always using the same spot, it will be better to do as Barnsie suggest.
For the same reason (heavy use), i would not cut and sew on top. It is bound to split and the Nylon thread might actually cut the fabric.
posted by 15L06 at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2021

Re stuffing, when you have it upside down, Check what its stuffed with. Normal stuffing for pillows or diy stuffed animals will not keep well for sitting on.
You will need foam stuffing. If you see metal springs, forget any diy.
posted by 15L06 at 10:48 AM on June 23, 2021

You can probably GLUE the fabric back together with the right type of glue, but need to know the material first. Maybe even staple AND glue if you can't sew.

Best stuffing would be "shredded memory foam" that sometimes come extra with expensive pillows.
posted by kschang at 11:19 AM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have seen a number of diy bloggers put regular bed pillows inside their couch cushions in order to make them fuller. You still have to tackle how to get them into the cushions themselves, but you could rip out a seam and resew like you suggested. Another idea is to purchase new foam/add bed pillows and then cover them all with a fleece blanket (or material from Joann's).
posted by momochan at 5:46 PM on June 23, 2021

Best answer: I wondered if having the recliner fully extended might give you better access to a hidden seam, and tripped over this $26 Sagging Recliner Support Seat Cushion Repair Kit ("Detailed 'How to Install Instructions' are included. Use on Recliners, Reclining Sofas and Reclining Loveseats") by the No Sags Inc./SagsAway Co. (site link has video etc. resources: "We provide detailed instructions, photos, video, and phone support for assistance on the product label that goes directly to the co-founder of SagsAway UltraBlue"). Reclinerland's DIY on re-padding has a supply list.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:46 PM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: holy shizz iris.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:21 PM on June 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

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