Need Help? Call Us 415-423-3313
Need Help? Call Us 415-423-3313
  • Welcome to The Forum. Please login or sign up.
November 26, 2022, 10:37:01 am


Welcome to our new upholstery forum with an updated theme and improved functionality. We welcome your comments and questions to our forum! Visit our main website,, for our extensive supply of upholstery products, instructional information and videos, and much more.

Diamond Tufting

Started by baileyuph, July 02, 2010, 06:20:13 am

Previous topic - Next topic


This is a very large ottoman, 37 X 37, essentially a flat top.  However, the edge has a slight round, dynamics of the fabric pull and general reshaping of the foam as a result.  If the foam was more substantial around the edges, my diamonds would be a lot tighter, that is the consternation.

What have some done about this, or just live with a looser diamond to preserve pattern and grain symmetry?  Thought of blind stitching the fullness, in this area, to retain (secure) the overlap.  Frustrating, tuft is supposed to be symmetric/ uniform.  Reshaping the foam surface, well the thought I supressed.

Any experience with this situation.  Internally, the calculated pleat fullness is working nicely.  The spring build-up is zig zag another factor, because of the transitional differences as you move from center to edge.  This funiture made over the last number of years, totally dependent on foam is border near to junk.  That's life. ;)

The changing surface from flat to convex  is a bit of challenging geometry. 



I nothing to offer, sorry, Doyle. 

But I do have an iron frame chair with no fewer than 45 buttons accenting diamond tufting on the back, seat, and inside arms!  It really is a fabulous piece, the workmanship is "old school".  All the stitching is hand done, and the entire outline of the piece is done in neatly folded "ruching".  Clearly, it will not be my first project in this style...



Can you add cotton on top of the foam that makes the diamond (or 1/2 diamond) shapes around the edges. When you pull down your fabric around the edges, this will give you more bulk and not pull down as far as it does now.

There's a class on Diamond tufting at the Upholstery Fair 2010.



July 03, 2010, 02:16:56 pm #3 Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 06:41:26 am by DB
Yes, quality diamond tufting, done by hand (not sewn) can be beautiful.


Thanks for the upcoming class info.  I did book mark the subject and date.

Regarding my consternation, I closed business after staying an hour on this to think.

The next morning after satisfying myself that I had patterned the button locations (fulness computed into the schematic) accurately, the answer or the search of why wasn't things coming together like it should was pointing to
the factory mold.  That is where the problem stemed from, I was trying to tuft a perfect measurement into a mold that was off at least half an inch on several button locations.  So, I cut the ties of my three or four buttons and relocated them to the imperfect position, established by the factory, and (by golly) got the folds desired.  For those of you deep into tufting of this type, my button locations, while accurate, were not seating that 1/2 inch of depth desired to create those nice folds needed for the diamond.

A question that flashed through my mine for you Gene.  I have done some slips, but not in recent years, my question is do you get tufting requirements in your slip business?  I would think so, because it would maintain the beauty of the item, IMHO.  

Also Gene, do you pattern your slips via the half - side method?  As I recall, that is the method I always used.  Got burned on it once, when I found out the darn seat was not symmetrical.   :o

I enjoyed slips, actually cut my teeth on them.  Back then, I thought slips were justified if the foundation (total buildup) was in very good condition.  I moved from slipping furniture to slipping cars, that was fun.  Consumers wanted their car seats protected also.  My memory is clearing, another  movement in the furniture slip activity was to have seasonal slips.  They took the slips off, while dropping them at the cleaners, picked up a set of freshly cleaned slips, suitable for the next season.  Such a deal!



July 04, 2010, 06:14:05 am #4 Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 06:26:39 am by gene
Hi Doyle,

Glad you found the problem with your tufting. I love tufting. It took awhile to learn, and I still find myself working things out longer than I would want to, but the finished product is awesome.

By 'slips' I assume you are referring to 'slip covers'. (We have some boat people and some women on this forum who may use the word 'slip' to refer to something else.)

I do not do any tufting with my slipcovers. I also do not do the 1/2 method.

I bring the furniture into my shop and use welt cord to outline each section of the furniture. I start with the outside back. I pin the fabric to the outside back, then pin on the welt cord outlining the outside back. I then sew the welt cord onto the fabric. This gives me a perfect fit for that panel. Then the inside back. Then the arms, sides, and then the skirt. The finished product fits like a glove.

Search youtube for "make welt cord" and you will see Karen Erickson make continuous welt cord, which I do, and she will show you how she outlines a boxed cushion. I use the same outlining for the furniture also. She is one of the instructors at the Upholstery 2010, by the way.

I do not compete with Wal Mart. I had someone ask me recently why should they pay $300.00 for my custom slip cover when they can get a slip cover from Wal Mart for $29.99??? I said, "You shouldn't. You would be wasting your money." If someone things a $10k Hyundai is just as good as a $80K BMW, they would be wasting their money by buying the BMW.

Seasonal use, wanting to be able to dry clean, wanting to save the fabric on the furniture for what ever reason... these are some of the reasons folks buy slipcovers.



May I jump in here a bit.. :-\
  When hand tufting a used piece of furniture there is nothing symmetrical about it. Laying out tufts for re-upholstery is only good as a guide at best. Even if the piece was factory made and only filling was foam it will still not be as perfect as a fresh brand new piece. That is just the nature of the beast. Things get stretch, moved, etc.
  When I tuft a used piece, after preparing the filling, I will layout the bottom row and a center line up the goods. If I'm lucky I can get the bottom marks to work and keep the fabric weave straight. If not adjustments are made. From that point up the piece it is from center and all by eye. You need cotton over foam and puncture each button hole through the cotton. 8oz. if fine. adding some loose Dacron in places is sometimes needed. Not much.
  When doing a brand new piece. Now this is where it can be laid out perfectly. But only on a new piece with all new filling like a board or flat section of a back.
  I don't see how a slip cover could be tufted, it would no longer be a slip cover  ;)
Minichillo's Upholstery


Well, it's interesting reading, and I guess there's always more than one way to skin a cat.

In the old days (and this is the diamond or button tufting I'm familiar with and have done), there's a backing material with the button locations identified, a pile of curled horsehair (more than you'd think, as it compresses), a thin layer of cotton to keep the horsehair from showing through leather, then the leather cover.  If sewn seams, then you need to punch a hole at each button location in the leather, maybe even 1" diameter.  When sewn, it comes down to a small hole the button thread can go through. 

As for the description of "trial and error" for diamond fullness, there's a better way.  On a board, mark the outermost points of the diamond, let's say it's 8 inches high and 4 inches wide.  Now, tack a piece of string to one of the 8" ends, and, holding the string loosely at the other 8" end, pull string up to approximate fullness desired.  Holding loose end firmly, now bring that down to the side to the board, pull middle of string tight, and mark the center of where the string hits.  Then, measure string, that's the length to mark material in the 8" direction.  Now, lay the string across the 4 inch measurement, secure one end, bring the middle of string up the same distance as you  measured in the 8"  distance, then hold loose end of string tight.  Measure string length, that's what you  use to mark material for the 4" distance.  Mark material with these dimensions for each diamond, allowing a certin amount of material for sewing or folding as the case may be.

I know this might sound complicated, but it works, and once you've done it once it's easy, basically you're getting the fullness the same in both directions so you don't have wrinkles.  Best David Coco Winchester Va.