Ottoman and Pillows for the Sofa

Now that we’re using the sofa more I thought it would be pleasant to have an ottoman too. I toyed with the idea of finding a old ottoman and reupholstering it. This is a great plan but I couldn’t seem to locate any old footstools at any of our local thrift shops. Even a great bargain on ebay for furniture gets eaten away when you have to pay for shipping and handling so I didn’t even look there.

I did come across this one at furniturecentral.com, which was on clearance. It was discounted from $175.99 to $49.00. The clincher was that shipping was only $10. They had an added discount of %20 at the moment which basically took care of the shipping. So my price out the door was about $52.

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As pictured on the website it is a little too tall, but I thought I could replace the legs and that would bring it to the height I needed. I ordered it and it arrived a few days ago. It is just what I wanted!

I have enough of the sofa slipcover fabric to cover it. Making a slipcover for it will be very easy and fun!

I also bought pillow forms and a bright coordinating fabric to make a couple of throw pillows, another easy and fast project that should go quickly!

Previous Slipcover Work - Part III

In May, a few weeks after my previous burst of work, I started on the final stage of the slipcover, putting the skirt on.

I ended up not using the pattern piece I made for this. I just cut long strips of material based on the dimensions of the skirt I wanted. I measured out the distance from the point on the sofa where the skirt attaches to it, to the floor. Then I measured the lengths for the front, back and side sections of the sofa.
I left material in the pieces for a good sized hem and seam allowance for the top and then calculated the extra length to include deep pleats. For the front and back sections I planned a center pleat as well as corner pleats.
Once this was done I pressed and pinned the hem up on all the sections and for the front and back pieces formed the center pleats, pressed them and stitched them in place across the top. I then started pinning the sections to the slipcover.
It was fairly easy task to end up with four sections with markings for the four corner pleats that would fit perfectly to the body of the slipcover. I removed the pins holding it to the main body carefully so as not to dislodge any of the pins marking the corner fold backs.

I took the whole skirt shebang back to the sewing room to put it all together. I attached the four pieces to each other at the corners with small seams that came down only an inch from the top of the skirt. With the pieces all attached to each other I could now mark and press the corner pleats in place. I left enough material in the fold back section of the pleats for 4 inch deep pleats, two inches on each side of the pleat. I then cut and attached a pleat facing to finish things off. With all the facings in place and all edges serged and hems marked I ironed everything to make sure that all the pleats lay flat. I attached the trim to the skirt top and then I was ready for the final step, attaching it to the slipcover. Things went off without a hitch. I pinned everthing together making sure the pleats were all at the right places and sewed it up!

Fortunately somewhere along the making and fitting of the slipcover I decided I wouldn’t need to leave a zipper or button opening. It needs a bit of strategy to get it on the sofa but it goes on fairly easily once the key areas are in place.

So now we’re at the spot I came in before, with only the cushions left to do. What a workout for my memory, I’m glad I took pictures along the way!

Previous Slipcover Work - Part II

From the previous point in the project it took me a year to come back to it. I resumed work on the slipcover in April of this year. :-)

I dug out my muslim pattern pieces and tried to remember what the different pieces were. Fortunately I did do a good job of marking them so I was able to figure out what everything was. I started planning my cutting by placing the pattern pieces on the fabric.
I sewed the pieces together as I cut them and pretty soon I had the back cushions and one armrest completely sewn up. I had purchased a few bundles of a coral pink trim at the same discount store that I bought the fabric at. I had no idea how much I would need so I just bought all I could find in the same color. It was also super discounted so I stocked up.
I put trim down the center back seam and used it to edge the front of the armrests. Ultimately the only other places that I put the trim on was on the two side gusset pieces and on the top of the skirt piece which goes all around the sofa. I had bunches of the trim left.
I think the trimming added a great touch. Here is a closer look at the armrest. At the top right, if you look close, you can see the trimming on the gusset piece.
Here I am measuring out a strip of fabric right on the couch to make the piece that covers the front board. If this had been a regular sofa as opposed to a sleeper, this piece would have covered the whole seat area.
I did a lot of pin fitting as I sewed the parts together. I’m sold on this technique. I think it saves a lot of time in the long run, though it is a bit tedious.
I had fun finally seeing the slipcover starting to take shape.

Previous Slipcover Work - Part I

I had promised to go back and try to detail my earlier work on the sofa slipcover. So here is an overview of what went before the cushions.

Back in April of last year I was having family over for dinner and thought that the sofa looked too shabby for company. We’ve had this foldout sofa for years and in a previous house it was situated next to a sunny window. It was a favorite spot for the cats to lay along the back and alternately snooze and gaze out the window. The result of all this cat love and sun damage were torn and faded spots along the top. The sofa was a perfect candidate for a slipcover.

Nudged into action by the thought of house guests I took out my sofa patterns and studied them for ideas on how to proceed. I already had about 30 yards of a very nice floral home decorator Waverly fabric. I had found it at Fabric, Laces and Trims where it was sold to me by the pound! This store carries lots of remnants and seconds quality fabrics and trims. The fabric had obvious printing defects but most of it was in good shape. I immediately thought of using it for making a slipcover. I believe I got the whole thing for about $15.00. Of course, it sat in my sewing room for many years, but I always knew that some day I would try it.

Well, I never did get it done in time for the family dinner, but I made a start back then and finally a full year later finished it off in about two months.

This is what the sofa looked like at the start.

 
I used McCalls pattern #3278 to guide me. It has a great explanation on all the basic techniques needed to take measurements of the couch, construct your muslin pattern, pin fit it to your couch and mark it up for sewing together.

 

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With my measurements done I started laying sections of muslin on the couch and smoothing them down.
I followed the instructions on pinning the muslin to the couch.
As each section was pinned and fitted I would make marks on it indicating seam lines, gathers or center points, anything that would help me later in sewing it together. Then I would cut around the piece edges leaving ample seam allowances.
In this way I ended up with the whole couch covered with cut out pattern pieces. This was a good time to mark match points on adjoining pieces. I also labeled the different sections (left front, right gusset, etc) which aside from the obvious would remind me which side was the right side of the pattern.
From start to finish the pattern making took me about two days. Not bad, I wish I would have been as diligent doing the rest of it.

The Sofa is Done!

I finally had a chance to finish the last cushion. Earlier in the week I bought some twist pins so I could use them to secure the slipcover in place. It looks pretty good for my first attempt at slipcovering anything. Here I am feeling proud of myself.

I guess DH was glad to have it finished too. I went away for just a minute and when I came back my spot was taken.

More Cushion Work

Here I am sizing the pieces of fabric that will become my side panels. With seam allowances they should be about 6 x 19 inches, though I left a few extra inches of length for wiggle room.
Since my pattern is kind of lopsided I fold it down the middle and use the side with the most pleasing curve. This way I get a nice symmetrical rounded shape at the top of my side panel.
Now its on to the zipper panel. I need a 7 x 39 inch strip of fabric. On the width this leaves two half inch seam allowances for the side seams and another two half inch seam allowances for the zipper. For the length I added a couple of inches for seam allowances on each side.
The fabric is folded over along the length to get it all on the cutting mat. The last cut opens the piece down the middle for the zipper opening.
Here I’ve laid out all the cut cushion pieces.
Next I get out my zipper roll. My Dad was an upholsterer and left me various odds and ends of upholstering supplies. I’ve had this for years and years and now I finally have the chance to use it. I would have preferred white, but since the zipper will not be noticeable at all, I can live with this beige color. I try to figure out how to get the zipper head on to the zipper teeth.
I cut a length of zipper to the length of my zipper panel.
Before going any further with the zipper, I put an overlock stitch on all the long edges. I’m not putting any on the ends because I will probably have to cut some of this length away, as I left them longer than necessary.

Actually, this is good time to put an overlock finish on all of the pieces.
Next I measure and press the half inch folds for the zipper.
I butt the folded edges together and run a seam across the top to hold the pieces together.
Then I center the zipper over the folded edges and attach it to the top. I’m careful to made sure that I’m seeing the underside of the zipper. The side with the zipper head should be facing down against the folded fabric.
Turning things around I make sure that the zipper looks centered on the folded edges.
I pin the edges of the fabric to the zipper making sure that each side lies flat over the center of the zipper. I start to sew leaving enough room along the side of the zipper so the zipper head can move freely up and down.
One side down, one more to go.
Et voila!

Covering the Cushions

This is one of my cushions. I’m going to leave the original covers and just make a duplicate to go on top of it.
Here you can see that it is made up of four parts. The main piece which covers the seat is in one length that goes from front to back. Plus there are two side panels and one zipper panel which goes at the back of the cushion.

It’s a fairly simple construction and no cording to deal with. :-)
I need to get all the basic dimensions of the pieces….
….and jot them down.
I’m ready to lay out my fabric and cut the pieces. My fabric is 57 inches wide, more than enough for the length of the biggest piece. For straight pieces like these there is nothing easier than using a rotary cutter and self-healing mat.

The fabric is folded in half along the length so I can get the full width on the table.
Here I am cutting the main panel, which ended up at 48 x 30 inches. I rounded up the length measurement to 47 inches and added a half inch for each seam. Adding two half inch seam allowances for the width brought it to 30 inches.

I’ve folded the fabric over again so I can get it all on the cutting mat. The cut along the raw edge of the fabric is not very straight so I measure out more than 30 inches so I can straighten this edge later. I line up all the fabric edges carefully along the horizontal lines of my mat so when I place my lip edged ruler as a guide I know it will mark a perfect 90 degree cut.
I make the cut on the other side that gives me 30 inches and cuts off the crooked edge.

Now I realize that it probably would have made more sense to start with this cut first and then measure out the 30 inches from here, but I was going with the flow. Logic and efficiency didn’t occur to me until I was writing it up.
Now it is a matter of cutting the piece to the right length, which with seam allowances and a touch more is 48 inches.
I fold over the length to cut off the selvedge on one side and the excess material on the other.
Next I use a small piece of muslim fabric to make a pattern of the side panel rounded edge.
I place pins along the seam to mark to shape of the piece.
And then use a pen to mark the fabric.
I clean up the seam marking…
And make sure the width is correct.
Now I’ll just mark in the seam allowances and cut it out to use as a pattern for my side panels.

Hello world!

This is not my first blog, but it is the first one open to the public. I’ve enjoyed visiting other knitting and sewing blogs and thought some of my sewing projects might be interesting enough to put in a blog. So here I am jumping into the sewing blog community. I usually sew clothes for myself, but my project of the moment is slipcovering our old foldout sofa. I’ve never tried to do anything like this before but it seems to be coming along fine.

I started last year and have been working on it in fits and starts. A month or so ago I decided to finish it once and for all. It’s mostly done, just needs the cushions. I will try to include some of what I did to to get to this point. For now it’s on to the covering the seat cushions.