UpholsterCycle DIY Upholstery

How to Repair Upholstery Car Seat (Fabric Seats)

repair upholstery car seat

If you’ve got a rip or hole on your fabric seats, then now is a good time to learn how to repair upholstery car seat damage. In this article, we explain how to fix small rips and holes in your fabric cars seats easily and cheaply, at home.

There is nothing worse than sitting down in an older car and hearing that telltale sound of the fabric seat ripping under your weight. But you do not have to deal with ripped, torn, or burnt fabric upholstery if you know how to fix it on your own. The best part is you won’t even need any expensive specialized tools in order to fix smaller holes and tears.

How to Repair Upholstery Car Seat that is RIPPED

Dealing with rips in the fabric of your car seat doesn’t have to be a difficult task. As long as there is no missing fabric, then it is easy to repair on your own, for very little money.

Step 1: Purchase Curved Upholstery Needles

The most important tool that you will need in order to fix a ripped car seat, are curved upholstery needles. Unlike standard flat needles, curved upholstery needles allow you to stitch rips in the cloth without having to remove the cover from the underlying foam. Because of its curved design, these needles make it easier to stitch a seam, even if it is on the face of the cushion.

While you are at the craft store, make sure to pick up some heavy-duty thread that is specifically designed for upholstery work. You will find a wide selection of colors to choose from, so select one that is as close to the fabric as possible. You will also need to pick up a small bottle of Fray Check.

Step 2: Thread the Curved Needle

Threading a curved needle is no different than threading any other standard needle. Since the fabric on the car seat is stretched tight, you will need to double up the length of the thread. After all, you do not want the stitches to snap the first time you sit down.

Step 3: Stitch the fabric

When it comes time to sit at the fabric, you should ask for assistance from a friend. Your first step is to run a straight stitch along the length of the tear about 1/4 inch in from the torn edge on both sides. This will prevent further fraying of the fabric once it has been stitched together.

After you have sown the length of the tear on both sides, with the help of a friend, begin to stitch from one side of the tear to the other. Your friend should be pulling both sides of the tear together so that you reduce the chance of fraying the fabric when you pull it tight. Slowly and meticulously, close the gap from one end to the other.

For extra stitching tips, have a look at this video on YouTube.

Step 4: Trimming the Thread

Once you get to the end of the tear, and the gap is fully closed, it is time to tie the thread and trim the excess length. You will want to make about 6 to 8 stitches in one small spot so that you can tie the thread around the stitches.

Once you have tied the thread, you can go ahead and trim it as close to the fabric as possible. Don’t worry about having very little hanging out, as you will be applying a product that is specifically designed to prevent the knot from coming undone.

Step 5: Use Fray Check

When you are at the arts and craft store, you picked up a bottle of Fray Check. This particular product is specifically designed to help reduce the chances of the fabric fraying under pressure. While it may discolor the fabric slightly, it will also prevent any further damage from occurring.

Start by painting along both sides of the tear, making sure to cover the first set of stitches that you had sown along the length of the rip. Make sure that you get the Fray Check into the holes where the needle penetrated the fabric. When you get to the end, put a little coating of the Fray Check on top of the knot.

For a video demonstration of using Fray Check, have a look at this video from OnlineFabricStore on YouTube:

How to Repair Upholstery Car Seats with HOLES

Dealing with holes in the seat is a lot different than fixing a simple tear. With a tear, there is no need to replace any of the fabric. With a hole, you will need to replace the missing fabric. So long as the hole is smaller than 2 inches, it is fairly simple to fix at home. The most common hole in a car seat is caused by cigarette burns.

Step 1: Testing the Fabric

In order to repair a hole in a car seat, you will be using a patch kit. Since these patches adhere to the seat fabric by heating with an iron, you will want to test the fabric to make sure that it will not melt. Test your iron using the silk setting, and once it has warmed up, test it on a small piece of fabric underneath the seat or on the sides.

Step 2: Purchase A Patch Kit

If all goes well, then you should be able to repair the small hole using a patch kit. Just like repairing a rip, you will need to make your way to the arts and craft store, in order to pick up a patch kit, some matching fabric, as well as a piece of muslin.

Step 3: Measure the Hole

Before you can measure the diameter of the hole, you will need to take out a sharp pair of scissors and trim the edges of the hole to remove any frayed or melted material. Once you have a clean edge, you can then measure the hole at its widest point to determine just how large of a patch you will need to

Step 4: Cut the Patch

When you cut your patch fabric, make sure that it is cut in a square, and that it is slightly larger than the widest point of the hole. You also need to cut the patch kit material, so that it is about 4 inches wider than the hole. Also, make sure to cut a piece of the muslin to the same size.

With the muslin and patch material cut to size, turn your iron onto the silk setting, and adhere the bond material to the muslin cloth. Pay close attention to the instructions that are provided on the package, and make sure to allow plenty of time for the adhesive to cool before inserting the patch.

Step 5: Inserting the Patch

Start by first inserting the piece of muslin cloth with the patch material facing up, into the hole. Carefully stretch it out underneath the seat fabric, so that it does not leave any wrinkles. You may want to use a pair of chopsticks or a popsicle stick to help with this process.

Once the muslin patch is in place, you will need to use a pair of household tweezers to remove the paper backing from the adhesive patch material and then carefully tuck the patch fabric into place. Make sure that when you put the fabric patch into the hole, the edges of the fabric cover the hole completely.

Step 6: Iron the Patch

Lastly, with your iron set to silk once again, give it time to warm up before you begin to iron over the repair area. Remember that the underlying muslin and patch material is much wider than the hole, so you will want to heat the area all the way to those edges. When done, the patch kit material will completely encapsulate the patch, securely fastening it in place. Give the adhesive plenty of time to cool before you sit down on the seat.

Final Tips to Repair Upholstery Car Seat

If the damage is not extensive, repairing fabric car seat upholstery yourself is an easy DIY task that can save you a lot of money. The main types of damage to car upholstery seats you will encounter are rips, or holes caused by cigarette burns for instance.

When dealing with rips, the first step is to purchase curved upholstery needles, heavy-duty thread, and a bottle of Fray Check. With these tools you will be able to stitch up and seal the rip from any further fraying and damage.

When dealing with small holes, the best way to repair upholstery car seat holes and gouges is with a specialty iron-on patch kit and matching fabric. It is a bit of fiddly work, but will seal the hole to prevent any further damage.

Once you have repaired your fabric car upholstery and ensured that it is fully in place and set, then you may like to finish off by giving your car seats a good wash and possibly even work on removing any stubborn stains from them. As well as freshening up your seats, this simple process will force you to look over the seats in detail, and find any other rips or holes that need repairing since you already have your car upholstery repair tools at hand.

Good luck!