Upholstery question


I have this chair in my living room that I love.  It’s from the 50s, but it’s covered in red vinyl.  Red vinyl + my rather aqua/teal decor sticks out like a sore ugly ugly (but stylish) thumb.  I’ve always meant to get it recovered and I finally found fabric for it.  Having done a modest amount of re-upholstery, I know that this chair is not beyond my abilities as a sewer–there’s only 4 seams plus piping.


But….and it’s kind of a big but, the fabric I’m looking at is roughly 30 oz/yd.  I’m thinking there’s no chance my home machine is making it through such heavy fabric.  So I figure I have 3 options:

1.  Talk to my repair guy.  Next month I will inherit an old Singer.  I have no idea how heavy duty it is, but I’m guessing it’s stronger than my home sewing Janome which is admittedly a champion, but probably not a sports car.  My repair guy could give me an honest opinion on either machine’s ability to handle such a fabric.

2.  Find someplace where I can rent time on an industrial machine.  I have no idea how to operate one, but I’m sure there’s a class that I could take and just show up with a simple 4 seam project right?

3.  Pay an upholsterer to do the whole thing for me.  I’m not crazy about this because it’s less fun, and super not cheap.  My $35 chair becomes…not a $35 chair.

So my question is–without knowing anything else except that 30 oz/yd fabric is kind of a beast, am I right in thinking I’d need an industrial to sew it?  Would it be worth learning how to use one for the sake of a project that’s going to take me max 2 hours (cutting and the actual upholstery will be more time consuming) to sew?


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7 thoughts on “Upholstery question

  1. Elizabeth, there are machines that are heavy duty like for upholstery that operate like normal sewing machines. One that comes to mind is the sailrite. It has a walking foot, but that’s all that is different. If you could find someone who has one that would be great. I don’t think you should use your Janome for sure. Maybe you could ask for suggestions on Pattern Review. Bob might know of a rental for you. Let me know… I would love to have a Sailrite. It sews everything! D 2014 00:40:31 +0000 To: aalinda1@msn.com

  2. Thanks Linda.  I think Bob can steer me in the right direction.  Certainly I’ll talk to him before I start practicing on scraps on my own and am forced into an expensive conversation with him as he fixes what I busted. ;)

  3. In my experience it is the needle you have to change, to probably the heavier denim size. Also the if the presser foot can raise high enough for four layers of fabric. I am wondering if you need the thick weight fabric for the trim.

  4. I figure you could try stitching some samples on your regular machine and be okay. Wouldn’t you bust the needle before the machine broke?

  5. There is the option of painting the vinyls, since it appears to be in good shape with no tears. There is a special paint to use (don’t remember the name, but saw it used on another blog) and you can choose the exact color you want.

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