Monday, November 19, 2012

Vintage Sofa Project - Diamond Button Tufting

The next phase of my Vintage Sofa re-upholstery project is now complete.  I button tufted the back of the sofa.  If you would like to see the other posts in the series click the links below.

Vintage Sofa Project -Part One,Part Two & Part Three 

Again I am not a professional, just a girl with the desire to learn how to do this myself and share what I learned along the way. Mistakes and all.

The first thing I did was to cover the back frame with a layer of muslin.  The burlap that was there was ripped in a few places and I needed to give the buttons something to attach to in the damaged areas.

Next I added a layer of foam cutting it with an electric bread knife following the curve of the sofa.  I clamped it on so it wouldn't shift. 

In my research I discovered that the secret of getting deep buttons tufts is to cut holes in the foam where your buttons will go.  I measured and marked the button location onto my foam with a sharpie.  Since my foam was only 1.5 inches thick I used a box knife to cut it.  If you have thicker foam you can use a metal pipe with a sharp edge the diameter of your desired hole and basically twist it into the foam and it will cut the holes.  I have not tried it but plan to when I use thicker foam.  

Then I covered the foam with two layers of cotton batting and one layer of regular batting.   

Then of course I couldn't see my holes.  Minor panic mode ensued but I knew where they should be so I started my finding the bottom middle one. Once I found that I easily found the others by measuring over.  I used my finger and a screw driver to push the cotton batting out of the way so that the buttons could easily make it into the holes I made in the foam.

Fabric stores will sell the wire eye style of buttons in kits so you can cover your own.  If you don't want to make them yourself or are using a thick fabric check with your local upholstery supply retailer.  They typically charge around $1 per button. The type of buttons I used are called a prong upholstery button, these you cant find in kits so you will have to have them made. 

I first practiced with a scrap piece of ugly fabric before starting the final tufting.  That gave me an idea of how far the holes in the fabric would be.  See those green pieces of tape?  I measured out where the holes should be and put a piece of tape so that I would keep everything straight.  
UPDATE: In the last year I have learned a ton about button tufting.  What I did differently on the sister sofa to this one is used 2" foam and 1" Dacron batting instead of the cotton batting.  I made 3/4" holes in the foam using a sharp edge metal pipe.  This allowed the buttons to fully go into the holes and create a deeper tuft.

Here's what the prongs look like from the back.

Once it was all tufted I stapled the fabric to the back of the sofa frame.

To pull the fabric around the bottom I had to make a cut.  I cut directly toward the frame piece but didn't cut all the way to it.  I left about an 1" so you don't see the cut, check your fit and cut more if needed.

So what did I learn?  My holes were not big enough for the buttons to get into so the tufts were not deep.  Also if I had used the type of buttons that have a wire eye and used thread I could have re-positioned some of the buttons.  Since I used the prong style button I couldn't redo anything.  The prongs make a hole in the fabric that would show.  So for a newbie like me the other style may have been better.  The prongs were so easy to use though. You just pop them through and bend them. 

Overall I'm happy.  I am now officially obsessed with button tufting.  I have so many plans for new projects.  Once I finish this one of course.  

Up next covering the seat cushion.  

Here's a few resources I found very helpful. 

Brick City Love &  Apartment Therapy for a button tufting tutorials. 

For other upholstery techniques not button tufting has some great video tutorials.  I am not affiliated with them in any way I just found them on You Tube and their videos are very informative. 

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Full Circle Creations said...

I'm loving it! I think you did a marvelous job for your first time out. I love how it looks and can't wait for the rest! Isn't it a thrill to learn something new? You've inspired me yet again!

I needed that today!

Katie @ Creatively Living said...

Holy smokes! It's looking awesome! I don't know much about tufting, so I don't mind the triangles at all. It is turning out AWESOME!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Oh, this is just beautiful. Your tufting is perfect! Thanks for sharing what you are learning!

Sandra@Beneath this Roof, Within these Walls said...

It is beautiful! You are doing a fantastic job. And maybe I am weird or something, but I really, really like the triangles!!!

Kim said...

I'm a new reader to your blog. WOW! You did an amazing job. I have a very small seat cushion I would like to re-cover and you have actually given me encouragement to give it a try. Thanks for sharing. I love your sofa.

Anne said...

yikers. What a job!!!

Robin said...

This project just keeps getting better and better! Bet you'll be glad to have this one done. It's going to look AMAZING!

Clydia Mangold said...

Mimi -- I'm so impressed! I tried slip covering once and I quite! You inspire me! Can't wait to see it all done! :)

Vivek Sharma said...

Vintage sofa project is shown on the post here. Read all about it

Sofa Cum Beds

Kara said...

You are amazing! I am so impressed with all of your projects, but I can't believe how good this looks, especially since you are learning as you go! I'm jealous of your skills!!

Leslie Davis said...

Awesome job! I have an ottoman I'm wishing to recover with very deep tufting. I'm just trying to work up the nerve to do it myself. :) I have a burning question that has kept me from this project. How do you address the folds? Is it just kind of intuitive because I can't find info on that part. Currently the fabric has fairly significant folds which look fantastic and I don't want to lose that and make it look bad. Thanks and thank you for sharing!!


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