What constitutes a bad job?
When upholsterers put the new fabric right on top of the existing fabric with a layer of cotton in between, instead of stripping away the old stuff. Most people can’t tell right away, but in a couple of months they’ll feel the cotton bunching up on the back of the piece.
Thoughts on slipcovers?
No matter what your upholsterer tells you, wash the fabric before you have slipcovers made. I promise you: It will shrink massively. Otherwise, the minute you take the covers to be dry-cleaned—which involves liquid—they won’t fit anymore. And if the upholsterer says you need 10 yards of fabric, buy 15.
Is there a way to know if re-covering a flea-market find will be affordable?
The main thing to pay attention to is the spring action. If you hear an eee-eee-eee noise when you sit down, that’s not good. And it will cost you.