Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Replace Foam in a Cushion

Let's face it: "flat" chair cushions are not comfortable to sit on, especially when the reclining chair supports are steel! Here's my how-to and photos for adding a zipper to a cushion and replacing the foam.

Below is the "before" photo. I have had this Lazy-Boy recliner only about 1-1/2 years, but the seat cushion was flat and uncomfortable to sit on! This chair is a family favorite at my house, so it gets lots of use! I needed to fix it fast!


There was no zipper in the cushion, so I knew I would need to remove that "Do not remove!" tag along with stitching to replace the foam. 

Do not remove this tag!

I wanted good quality foam to replace the old, and I wanted the foam to be 1 piece. I checked in several stores and on the internet, and good foam can be very pricey! Some sites had custom, cut-to-size foam for around $100.00 for the size that I needed! This price did not include the Dacron wrap, zipper, or shipping!

I finally decided to call and visit a local upholstery shop. The owner examined my cushion and said it contained a type of foam that typically doesn't hold up well. He sold me good, dense, furniture quality foam for my cushion. Not only did he cut the foam to size, he also applied the Dacron wrap so it would be "rounder". He even gave me an upholstery zipper! Amazingly, the total price was $45.00!

Nice wrap!
Spray glue attached the wrap.

I used a seam ripper to very carefully remove the stitching from the back side of the cushion. I also removed stitching from the two ends at the back of the cushion, being careful not to remove the stitching at the cording.

Remove stitches carefully!
Removing stitching from the ends

Once the stitching was removed, the truth was revealed: 2 pieces of foam that were beyond use!!

I folded the foam in half, and it easily slipped out of the cushion cover.

Folding foam for removal
2 Flat cushions!!

The edges where the zipper would be sewn had raveled, so I serged the edges.

This upholstery zipper did not have "endpoints" so, I securely stitched over the zipper ends. This necessary step prevents the zipper pull from coming off the zipper.

Next, I turned the fabric under about 5/8", pinned it to the left side of the zipper, and stitched the seam twice. 

Please note: The amount of fabric turned under may vary depending on the original seam allowance of the cushion cover.  Make sure that the zipper and fabric will be the same width as the side of the cushion before sewing.

I then unzipped the zipper so I could apply the zipper to the right side. Again, I turned the fabric under, pinned it to the right side of the zipper, and stitched the seam twice.

The zipper is sewn!

The last step for adding the zipper was to sew back the fabric ends where I had removed the stitching. This fabric was sewn over the fabric where I had applied the zipper. These seams were sewn twice, also.

Note: Be very careful when you try to sew over the zipper, even if it is plastic. You may need to sew up to the teeth of the zipper and skip a couple of stitches before sewing again.

Watch out for pins!

The zipper is now complete and zips easily!

To insert the new foam, my husband and I folded the foam and pushed it in the cover, being careful not to put pressure on the ends of the zipper. I inserted my hand and "worked" with the foam until it was even in the cover.

My new cushion!

My chair is now more "comfy" than ever!

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