I wrote a little post on how to mend an area rug with a curved needle here and it wasn’t long after that I was able to put that handy curved needle to use once again and I thought I’d share the new application.
I don’t aim to demonstrate the image of perfection with this post. Sometimes, repairs and alterations need to look top notch, like when taking in a formal bodice here, but sometimes, my goal is done, not perfect. My goal here is to simply show how you can solve a problem with a simple tool.
The upholstery stitching on my husband’s fishing boat seat had separated with regular wear and tear and while I wasn’t entirely sure I could sew it by hand, I thought of the hassle of removing the seat cover entirely and borrowing our friend’s industrial machine and figured it was definitely worth the try. The result was a strong mending job that didn’t take very long and while it doesn’t look all that awesome, it saved me a lot of time by mending by hand.
Begin by threading a curved needle with strong thread. Strong thread can be upholstery or button thread, or the not quite as strong but still good denim thread. Make a large knot at the end. Using pliers if necessary, pull the needle from the underside of one side of the tear or separated seam. If you have a tear, you will exert a lot more elbow grease because pushing the needle through leather or marine vinyl will be tough. If you have a separated seam, as I did, use the existing holes. This will be less work and will provide a nice, even stitch guide. The trouble with weathered upholstery is that it may tear or stretch or split if you pull the thread too hard. I’d say slow and steady would win the upholstery mending race.
Bring the needle up and depending on how firmly the knot is anchored on the reverse, you may need to tie the tail to the thread around the edge of the tear. Once the knot is anchored, you can begin stitching. Choose your stitch based on the stitching that exists, your skill and patience level, and the level of difficulty in getting the needle through the upholstery. You may have to use pliers to push the needle through every hole, and by stitch three, your neck and shoulders may start aching as mine did since I was hunched awkwardly over the boat seat. Onward, Wildflowers!
I stitched as best I could in a modified Whip Stitch and it is not pretty but it closed the foam from the elements and it looks a lot better than it did. Knot and knot again, especially if the vinyl is weathered. Dare I say that it looks a ton better than a slap of duct tape over the seam and it will last much longer.
Your next curved needle and upholstery task may look a lot different than mine. May your needle sew smoothly! Share your experiences below, Dear Readers!