The Dog Ate My Sofa and How I Made it Look New Again

We had a little mishap at Chez Grace and Kelly this week. Grace has been free-ranging for about a month and has done well sans crate. I typically find her curled up on the sofa or on her blanket when I get home from work, and the worst she has done is scratch crop circle designs into the carpet. I think she’s trying to fluff up a good spot to lie down, but honestly, who really knows?

The free-range gig was going great until I forgot to put her ball away one morning. I was concerned she might chew it into bits and choke or suffer an intestinal blockage, so I made a habit of only letting her play with the ball when supervised. And by the way, she is obsessed with this ball. She has skipped meals so that I wouldn’t get her ball while she was eating.

My dog, Grace, carrying her favorite ball
She carries the ball everywhere
My dog, Grace, guarding her ball
Skipping dinner to guard the ball

What happened the day I forgot to put the ball up was neither choking nor intestinal. The ball simply rolled under the sofa and Grace could not help herself but to GET THAT BALL! Any way she could. Which meant grabbing the sofa with her mouth and moving it. You know where this is going and it doesn’t look good for the sofa.

Grace, my dog, looking sad next to the hole in the sofa
Sorry face, sorry sofa

For a moment I was excited at the thought of getting a new sofa. Wootwoot! Said no pocketbook ever. I looked online for upholstery repair, but it seems everyone is doing complete re-upholstery or commercial work. So I figured I’d patch it myself and live with a bit of an eyesore. I pictured a square patch a few inches wider than the tear, probably a shade lighter or darker than the original fabric. I was resigned to my own version of shabby chic.

I did a search and found this article about how to repair an upholstery tear. I followed none of it. But I did head over to Hancock Fabrics to see if they had any fabric similar to that of my sofa. About five bolts from the left was a perfect match! What are the odds? I should have bought a lottery ticket. Instead, I bought a yard of the fabric just in case I messed up and had to do a few patches before getting it right, an upholstery needle, and some foam.

Grace and the supplies purchased at Hancock Fabrics
Grace has first right of refusal to be in any and all photographs I publish

When I got the fabric home and started playing around with it, I realized I could cover the entire base rail and possibly not have a patch at all. So that is what I did.

First, I snipped off the loose threads and dangling fabric to clean up the area. Then I inserted a piece of stuffing to fit the shape of the hole, and I tucked under the edges of the torn fabric.

New stuffing inserted into tear
Prepped with new stuffing

I machine sewed a hem all the way around the fabric for reinforcement. Then I centered the fabric on the sofa and hand stitched it to the seam just beneath the cushions.

Fabric hand stitched to sofa beneath cushions
Thankfully my hand stitching is hidden beneath the cushions

After the strip of fabric was sewn to the top, I pulled it taut around the base rail and stapled it to the bottom of the frame. The list of items I have in this little condo is short, but thank goodness an electric staple gun is one of them!

Stapled to the wood frame beneath
Stapled to the wood frame beneath

I did not stitch the left and right ends of the fabric to the front of the sofa for two reasons: 1) you’ve seen my hand stitching and it isn’t pretty; 2) movement from sitting on the sofa may have caused those seams to tear, so I left both ends open.

Ends are not attached to sofa
Ends are not attached to sofa

The only indication that anything is amiss is a little lumpiness where the new stuffing lives. I couldn’t get that to be smooth, and I’m okay with that.

A little lumpy
One lump or two?
Sofa looks great and Grace can relax
Sofa looks great and Grace has stopped with the sad puppy face (until the next incident)

All things considered, I am happy and satisfied with how this turned out. I never, in a million years, would have guessed I could do this kind of repair and have it look as well as it does. I’m glad I gave it a shot before throwing in the towel. It took 4 hours (with a break to take pictures of the blue moon) and $14.29 in supplies, and was well worth it. It just goes to show, you can do it!