Craft

How to Fix Your Torn Upholstery Without Sewing It

Photo: MR. AEKALAK CHIAMCHAROEN (Shutterstock)

Good news for those of us who suck at sewing: If you rip a cushion or seat, you don’t have to reupholster the whole thing. You can usually fix small rips yourself, but how you do it (and whether it lasts) depends on what sort of material you’re dealing with. Here’s how to fix a rips in vinyl and fabric without pulling out a needle and thread.

How to fix torn vinyl

The first step in repairing torn vinyl is cleaning the area around the rip using a mild cleanser and towel. Then, if the vinyl has some give or the rip is small, try to pinch the sides of the tear together, use a clamp to keep them close, and just use glue (heavy-duty Gorilla Glue should work fine). Don’t remove the clamp until the glue is dry, and if it seems unsteady, try a second or third coat before releasing it. Here’s our full guide on repairing torn vinyl.

IFixIt has another method that’s worth a shot, too: Grab some fabric and cut it large enough to cover the hole, leaving half an inch of extra space on every side. Insert it under the tear with a small stick of some kind, then use vinyl repair adhesive (in a color that matches your seat) to cover the fabric. After a few hours, use a little rubbing alcohol to buff and blend the area.

How to fix tears in fabric

When the tear is in corduroy or heavy cotton, your approach to fixing it should be similar but slightly different to what’s above. According to SFGate, you again want to cut a piece of fabric bigger than your hole (for your patch piece, consider whether you can cull matching fabric from a less-visible area of the torn item; for instance, if your rip is on your couch, try getting fabric from the back of the couch or the armrest covers). Then, carefully peel back the torn area and stuff the patch underneath, using anything small and rigid to smooth it out flat back there, and pin it down. Brush over the patch with a thin layer of latex fabric glue, making sure to get some on the edges of the rip. Remove your pin and press the flap down over your patch, then add pins around the edges of the tear while the glue dries.

 

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