How to Reupholster an RV Sleeper Sofa Backrest

Item # X-HT-300575

If you have an outdated RV in need of some new upholstery, you’ve come to the right place. We purchased a 1987 Airstream Argosy trailer and we’re remaking it from top to bottom, inside and out. In today’s video, we’re reupholstering the backrest of an RV sleeper sofa. Also known as a jack knife sofa, our sleeper sofa has extensive damage to the fabric and foam, so we’re going to replace everything. This tutorial is just one part of the sleeper sofa upholstery project. Be sure to watch the videos on how to reupholster the seat cushion (#300576XHT) and how to upholster the side panels (#300577XHT).

Learn how to reupholster a sofa in an RV.

The before and after of our three-part RV sleeper sofa video series.

The first step is disassembling the jack knife pull out sofa and removing the fabric. Once you have your sofa completely disassembled, you can begin to pattern for the individual upholstery pieces. Here’s a tip: Take photos of the sofa backrest before you remove the old fabric so you have a reference when it comes time to add the new fabric. It will help with the reassembly process if you can refer to how the sofa originally looked.

We chose Crypton® Home upholstery fabric for our RV sofa. Crypton fabrics are a great choice for upholstery and cushions in your RV. They are easy to clean, abrasion resistant, and designed with stain- and odor-resistant technology. Crypton fabrics are designed for real life — kid-proof, pet-proof, spill-proof. Available in a wide variety of textures and colors, you’re sure to find a Crypton upholstery fabric that’s perfect for your family.

Learn how to reupholster a sofa in an RV.

Here's what the sleeper sofa looks like pulled out.

In this RV sofa backrest video, we’ll show you how to measure for new fabric, how to measure and cut replacement foam, how to determine the size of the fabric pull, how to create pleats, sew boxing and more. Watch the video below and get started on your own RV sofa makeover.

If you want to view more projects in our RV Renovation Series, click here!

Video Chapters:

  • Intro — 0:00 min.
  • Disassembling the Jack Knife Sofa — 0:52 min.
  • Removing Fabric Cover — 2:18 min.
  • Measuring & Cutting Foam — 6:13 min.
  • Determining Fabric Cut Sizes — 14:42 min.
  • Cutting Fabric to Size — 18:53 min.
  • Determining Size of Fabric Pull — 23:26 min.
  • Sewing Fabric Pull on Fabric — 27:31 min.
  • Creating Pleats — 30:11 min.
  • Sewing Boxing to Plate — 33:06 min.
  • Reducing Fabric Pull Gap — 38:28 min.
  • Sewing Cording on Fabric’s Edges — 41:26 min.
  • Attaching Cushion to Metal Frame — 42:46 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 59:46 min.

Materials List:

  • High Density Polyurethane Foam (Medium) 4" x 36" x 80" (#284M3680)
  • Medium Density Polyurethane Antimicrobial Foam (Soft) 1" x 48" x 80" (#181S4880)
  • 3M™ General Trim Spray Adhesive (#73211)
  • Décor & Upholstery Fabric from Sailrite - We used Crypton® Home Nomad Indigo (#122984)
  • Top Notch® 9 Silver Gray 60" Fabric (#120450)
  • Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery (36 yds.) (#122065)
  • Nimbus™ Cotton Duck 12 oz. White 57” Fabric (#122833)
  • Hog Rings for Upholstery - Sharp Point (#121880)

Tools List:

  • Sailrite® Blade Foam Saw V2 with Carrying Case (110V) (#121244)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (#102400)
  • Tape Measure 120" (#102986)
  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" (#103134)
  • Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed (#19104)
  • Grease Marking Pencil White (#101026)
  • Sailrite® Standard Fabricator® Sewing Machine Package (110V) (#400500)
  • Cording Foot Set 1/4" for Fabricator® (#400414)
  • Multiuse Pins 1-1/2" (250 pack) (#102985)
  • Deluxe 5-1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide (#103597)
  • Hog Ring Pliers (#100950)
  • Socket Set, Screwdriver, Wire Cutters, Marker, T Square, Needle-Nose Pliers