How to fix cat scratched furniture

Patch a frayed sofa with lace doilies | Growing spaces

I’ve been wanting to fix up our tattered sofa upholstery for ages – it’d been shredded on the arms by our cats scratching it and looked really terrible. Luckily the damage was to the surface of the fabric and hadn’t gone all the way through, so I decided to try to patch it as the sofa is otherwise in reasonable nick and definitely doesn’t need replacing yet. I spotted an idea on Pinterest (where else?!) that I thought I’d could put my own twist on, and it ended up turning out way better than I expected, so I wanted to share it with you here.

I ordered a job lot of 20 vintage lace doilies on eBay. I was really chuffed with the selection when they arrived as they were such beautiful shapes and patterns. They came in various shades of white, off-white and cream and I considered using them in their original colours, but instead I opted to dye them shades of grey to blend in with the charcoal grey of the sofa. I didn’t want them all the same grey, so I left them in the dye for different lengths of time to achieve a variety of shades. These are what I used to patch up our sofa’s frayed arms – a nice and straightforward hack that does a practical fix-it job and adds some pattern and style to the sofa, too.

Fix a frayed sofa arm | Growing Spaces


Fix a frayed sofa arm | Growing Spaces

Fix a frayed sofa arm | Growing Spaces

how to fix cat scratched furniture | Growing Spaces

Here’s how I patched the sofa:
1. Take vintage lace doilies and dye them if desired. I used Dylon fabric dye in Pewter Grey so that the doilies would blend in better with my grey sofa. I left the doilies in the dye for different periods of time so that I would have doilies in a variety of shades.
2. Lay out your doilies and choose a selection that will work together well to cover the area you want to patch on your damaged sofa or chair.
3 & 4. Prepare the surface – remove bobbles with a razor, and trim off as much of the frayed bits of fabric as you can. If the cat has scratched right through to the base underneath and it’s clearly visible, you might want to patch with a plain piece of fabric first, before covering with the doilies.
5. Use pins to position the doilies over the area to be patched. I moved mine around until I was happy with the arrangement, overlapping them to create a patchwork effect. I had to neatly fold or gather the doilies at some points to go around the shape of the sofa arms.
6. Use a needle and thread to sew the doilies in place. I went round the circumference of each doily, and then added stitches criss-crossing the surface to make sure it was held securely in place against the fabric of the sofa underneath.

Cat scrached furniture hack | Growing Spaces

Cat scrached furniture hack | Growing Spaces

Cat scrached furniture hack | Growing Spaces

Cat scrached furniture hack | Growing Spaces

I’ve filmed a video version of this tutorial for my YouTube channel, Heather’s Space. Please subscribe if you don’t want to miss any of my videos!

how to fix your cat-scratched sofa | Growing Spaces



  1. June 1, 2016 / 7:58 am

    Ooh I love this! Good old Pinterest but clever you for doing such an amazing job of it!

  2. June 6, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    I want to do this and I don’t have a cat!

  3. June 7, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    love it! I’m totally stealing this idea – my sofa is just like your “before” picture!

  4. June 24, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    It such a great idea, , it looks so amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. gab
    September 6, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    Have you had a problem with the cat just scratching these off?

  6. Cara
    April 3, 2017 / 4:48 am

    Beautiful! Can I use fabric glue instead of stitching them. I have about 6 large spots to mend and two small children. I need the fastest method possible!

    • Heather Young April 3, 2017 / 8:10 am

      Fabric glue is a genius idea! I think it would work – I wish I’d thought of that, as the stitching did take ages!

    • Heather Young May 1, 2017 / 7:29 am

      Hi Cara. I tried using fabric glue yesterday and unfortunately it didn’t work on my sofa. But I needed to do it quickly so I dug out the hot glue gun and that worked! I was then able to add a few stitches at key points in the evening when I happened to be sat on the sofa watching Netflix anyway.

  7. Amanda
    June 26, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    I have been looking everywhere for doilies. Any suggestions on where to find them?

    • Heather Young September 11, 2017 / 10:53 am

      So sorry for the delay getting back to you. I picked up a job lot of doilies on eBay.

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