braided jute & tack trim

by | Feb 12, 2016 | All Things Home, Furniture Makeovers, Tutorials, upholstery | 42 comments

The body of the tufted sofa is finally finished!  This has definitely been the most challenging upholstery project I’ve taken on, but it’s shaping up nicely and now it’s all smooth sailing with the cushions.  (I feel like I need to knock on some wood or something now!)

Here’s a peek at how the body turned out…


Did you notice anything?

Well, if you’re very observant, you may have noticed that there are two different trims.  Hopefully, you didn’t and my plan worked!

You see, I had this beautiful jute trim…


..but I only had two spools of it and I couldn’t find more that was exactly like it.  I really wanted to use it, but I was about six feet short of having enough for the entire sofa.  I decided to use the trim, anyway, and figure out how to make up that extra six feet.  That stretch would be a long the back, so it wouldn’t be very noticeable.

I had some jute ribbon and I thought that might work.  I cut three strands and braided them together to make braided trim.


And, I must say, it’s a pretty darn good match!  The original trim runs vertical, along the arm, and the makeshift trim runs along the bottom.


I hot glued the trim in place and then hammered in about a billion upholstery tacks, every inch or so.


It wasn’t actually a billon, but four boxes, and it really didn’t take that long.  I just needed to get in a rhythm.  It would’ve been easier with a magnetic tack hammer, but I just used the little antique hammer that I had already and it did the job.


The tacks definitely added to the time invested in this sofa, but I think they add a special something that was worth it.

mms-4585 mms-4586 mms-4611

The cushions will get some attention tomorrow.

You can see the tufted sofa reveal HERE.


I spent some time in the studio today playing “life-size dollhouse.”  Basically, I’m setting up imaginary rooms to showcase things we purchase and redo. We had everything sort of stacked and scattered and I work better when I can get a visual idea of how everything is working together.  And, things sell better when they are displayed in a context.


And it’s just fun and an excuse to pick up some fresh flowers…


  1. Laurie

    Gorgeous Marian, simply gorgeous!

  2. Tracey B

    Love it – as soon as I saw the little hammer (and before I read your post) I thought to myself “she needs a magnetic tack hammer” lol. Your self braided trim will only be noticeable to those with an eagle eye or if you point it out.
    I have been teaching my mother in law how to upholster drop in seats on her antique heirloom dining suite. The seats have jute webbing and horsehair stuffing and about 500 tacks in each seat for the various layers of webbing, burlap, calico, batting and the final upholstery fabric. They were last recovered about 60 years ago by an overzealous artisan who has hammered in every tack very, very well, making the removal of the old fabric and various layers an arduous task – and there are 10 chairs!

  3. Beth

    Wow, wow, wow…it’s a stunner! I am in love with all of it. The burlap, the grain sack, the tacks and the chippy paint. I have watched your work for a long time and I always think “How will she ever top this?” ….but you always do…you really are so talented. Great work Marian!

  4. gloria

    Ok, I want to come live in your studio! Looks amazing.

  5. Lynda Brandly

    This is my favorite thing that you’ve ever done – and that’s saying a lot! I don’t think anyone would notice the different trim and it is wonderful! Your last picture is gorgeous!
    love and blessings~
    Lynda @ Gates of Crystal

  6. Hkwdesign

    I bought the very same sofa on Craig’s for $30, the upholstery was in even worse condition…in my excitement I stripped it, fabric – in the trash, fusion – in the trash, and pulled out lots of nails…off came the springs…ugh, if only I had seen this and realized to just go over the existing upholstery! The hand tying of springs has made it beyond my usual “go for it” mode…in comes a professional (I’ve been saving for a year!!!) Lesson learned!

  7. Karen Keller-Eyer

    I agree with Lynda……coolest thing I’ve seen you mustardize and that is saying A LOT because so much of your work is so awesome ! Keep it coming, we love your work and that you share your method and madness haha. xox

  8. Rita C at Panoply

    Smart AND industrious, you are, Marian! That sofa is going to be outstanding, and I love that styled space.
    On a totally different note (except that rug in your space reminded me), I want to purchase an area rug soon – either sisal, jute – something natural. I remember you writing a post on your comparisons of various fabrics (wear, shed factors, price, etc.), and I will search it out, but I was also wondering if you have any added comments after nearly a year’s ownership and use. I really don’t relish the idea of cleaning up shed fibers all the time, and don’t mind a rough texture or paying a little more for desirable features. Thanks!

  9. Julie@jamnjilly

    Everything you touch turns beautiful!!! You are very gifted! Do you sell your items online? Or do you have to be local:/

  10. Karla Holley

    What a fantastic idea! The sofa is beautiful.

  11. Kim

    Hey, I saw some braided jute trim just like this at Michael’s yesterday, in case anyone is looking for some! Maybe that’s where you originally got it Marian?

  12. Kelly

    Beautiful! Can I purchase the painting? Thank you

  13. Susan

    Umm,Marian, I need to know about that painting. Is it for sale? It is gorgeous and I need to know if it is a painting, a print, or what?
    Do tell!

  14. Melissa Leach

    This tufted sofa is a piece of art! It is for sure a labor of love. You did a great job substituting the r hand braided trim! This piece is magnificent!

  15. Krista

    Beautiful! And so is the living room set-up!

  16. Jessica @ Petal + Ply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! Your makeshift cording worked perfectly. Not a noticeable difference at all.

  17. Carol

    That sofa is fabulous! This has been an interesting process to watch and read the journey to get it done. Envious of the lucky person buying it!

  18. Stephanie

    I really looked and I couldn’t tell until you explained what you did! Impressive camouflage.

  19. Pat Miller

    One word is sufficient…. G O R G E O U S !!! Well, maybe two…..F A B U L O U S !!!

  20. Cheryl

    Exquisite! And earthy! Kudos?

  21. Kitty

    Love, love, love all your work !
    Stunning 🙂

  22. Janine R

    Absolutely beautiful job on the sofa. Envy the person who will wind up with it.

  23. Laurie

    Wonderful! Make sure the buyer does not own a cat!!

  24. Leslie Collison

    All your hard work is paying off. That is turning out wonderful. So wish I lived closer, so I could attend one of your shows you sell at your beautiful pieces at. I just keep admiring from afar……. California…….Maybe a road trip one year.

  25. Wendy York

    Looks good Marian! I had to laugh about the “knock on wood” comment. All the while you have been working on this project I’ve been reupholstering a chair for my son and daughter-in-law. Every time I would say out loud, “This is going great”, or “I think the rest will be easy now”, things would take a turn in the other direction! I learned a lot about upholstery as a kid, taking apart chairs and couches for my Mom who did it as one of her side jobs. Now I REALLY appreciate the difficulty of what she did! Oh yes, and some of the things you have done on this project have come in handy for me at just the right time, so thank you for posting! God bless you ?

  26. Dianne

    Beautiful!! You’re such an inspiration. Thank you

  27. Carla

    I have a similar sofa I would love to do this to but I do have cats and I think they would think it made the best scratching post ever. It is amazing.

  28. Wendy Johnson

    Beautiful. My mom who is 82 keeps a hammer exactly like that in her bottom kitchen drawer, it was granny’s hammer (my dad’s grandmother)

  29. Melanie Samakow

    Wow!!! That’s absolutely charming!!

  30. Mimi

    Might be my favorite upholstered piece of all time – completely worth the extra time tacking and all the trouble w/ the tufts. Looking forward to the photos of the completed project w. the cushions

  31. Terry

    Hello! My how you have given this sofa a high end professional look! It is stunning! Tacking is so worth the time in the end. My secret for tacking is using needlenose pliers to hold the tack while hammering … less frustration and pain 😉 You have certainly inspired me to finally get on the sofa I have had apart for 2 years now! I only hope it turns out as pretty! Have a great weekend!

  32. Caroline

    PLEASE tell me you are keeping this sofa!

  33. Dana Wall

    Amazing! Two quick questions, what fabric did you use for the back and sides, and what color did you paint the frame? It’s been so long I’ve forgotten!!!

  34. Robin Leach

    Oh, it’s absolutely gorgeous! I wish it were in my living room! I wish that last photo was my living room! That was so worth it!!

  35. Vicky

    Stunning…I am a new follower and am savoring all the posts! I am trying to read from the beginning, but then…ooh, look a squirrel…and off I go down a path to a new article, tutorial, sage tidit of wisdom. I am LOVING your blog. New admirer in an old soul!

  36. marylisa noyes

    Incredible sofa!

  37. Melinda Stone

    Looks so cool!!!
    Love the farmhouse look if the sofa. Trying to incorporate that into my beach house. Where do you get the jute cording?

  38. Feryal

    Love how the sofa turned out!

    Can you tell me where you purchased the braided jute from?

  39. Bethany

    Love this!
    Where did you buy your nail heads? I just ordered some and they are a shiny silver. I’d like some with more if a galvanized look like the ones you have used here.
    Thank you!!!

  40. Chris Ann

    Hi Marian, this sofa is amazing! I am in the process of destructing a wing back and I love the trim and tacks on your sofa. I really want to incorporate that into my wingback. If you don’t mind, can I ask a question? My wingback had metal curve ease around the curves. Can I assume that you didn’t use that where the tacks are placed? Did you just staple first then put down your trim with tacks?

  41. Alexandra

    Great job! I love it! Where did you get the yute trim? Thank you!!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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