Monday, July 12, 2010

DIY Sofa Upgrade, on the cheap

If you read my blog you might remember a post as far back as February- about my desire to redo our sofa. It's a hand-me-down from my folks that we gussied up with pillows and a large floral slip cover for the cushion about 3 years ago. After 3 years with this sofa in my possession, it was time for a much needed upgrade. Note the throw blankets and many pillows to try and hide what is really going on here... what that is I'm not sure. (Pictures were taken in our last apartment. Click on them to view in detail.)

The Sofa stripped down without its disguise.

A few months later.... After a lot of fabric paint- what we have here is a poop color brown situation.  I opted for fabric paint because buying fabric to sew a slip cover was too expensive. NOTE: you have to heat treat fabric paint with an iron to make sure it "adheres" and wont come off on anything. I had much success with my hand painted pillows, however it didn't quite translate the same onto a large piece of furniture. The fabric paint still wore in areas and became dull - its wasn't quite the patina I normally go for. PLUS the brown next to the pretty brown wooden floors and wood work just made the sofa even sadder looking.... I also sanded and painted the brown wooden legs and trim an off white/pink color, with acrylic house paint I had lying around.

THEN- after looking at many inspiring Lonny Magazine issues, stopping by the new Nicola's Home shop (on commercial st in Portland, ME) and receiving some leftover bits of linen fabric- I now had renewed inspiration and the resources to cover the sofa. By no means was my approach professional- but mearly a responsive one in the same way I make art... SO I chipped away at it and dove in by stapling fabric to the sides to give myself an immediate sense of accomplishment and to act as a pinning process for future sewing... I also used sturdy fabric glue in areas where sewing was not easy or possible.

My number one tool was a curved sewing needle, an essential tool for any difficult sewing project such as this one.
Here's a detail shot of me sewing the linen to the sofa along the original piping. 
NOTE: I sewed behind the piping not over top. I did this on the two piping sections along the back to make it flush and for better durability.

I attached the bottom striped fabric by hand sewing along the piping as well. (There was a lot of sewing by hand!) I then sewed the side pieces to the couch and to neighboring striped fabric. Once complete I removed the original staples. In the long run it would have been faster to make a slip cover, but I did not have enough fabric to make a proper one- so this method fit my need!

Now for the arms of the couch. First I took the extra striped fabric and cut a long piece for the facing of the arm. Then I folded the edges under and pinned it to the arm and using the same curved needle- sewed the fabric- attaching it to the original plaid couch fabric and to the striped fabric around it.

Detail of finished arm.

And Tah Dah, the final result! (click on images to enlarge)

A note about the striped cushion: I bought vintage durable tea towel fabric on etsy. And again due to a lack of overall yardage- I attached the new material to the original slipcover. (The entire cushion was sewn on my machine.) This made life easier, eliminating the need to make an entirely new slipcover. Since the striped fabric is very narrow I used about 5.5 panels to make up the width of the cushion. I sewed them together then attached the large completed piece to the original slipcover by sewing along the most underneath seam of the cushion cover. Then I sewed the fabric just along the zipper at the very back of the cushion. (Thus if you flipped the cushion over the whole back side is the original floral fabric.) For the sides- I folded the corners like hospital corners, pinned them in place to the cover, removed the cover from the cushion and sewed the corners in place on my machine. I finished off the sofa- along the woodwork- by cutting and folding the fabric to fit the curve and adhering it with hard core fabric glue! A bit of a cheat perhaps, but it was nearly impossible to sew that area by hand.

I am very happy with the result! I have one or two pillows I am going to make within the next week or so- and I might trade them out with the needlepoint pillows seen on the left side. I'll post pictures of pillows once complete.  In conclusion: Yes this sofa redo was kind of non traditional- and when I can afford it- I'll buy more linen to finish the entire back of the sofa.... but for now it's a modern upgrade to an old and busted hand-me-down! And I hope this piece-meal method inspires you to tackle a project that might be out of your expertise. Because it can be very rewarding to take on such a challenge.  I always learn something while working on my sewing skills that inevitably carries over to future projects!

A little P.S. here: an up close shot of my artwork wall.


Mrs Robinson said...

Well, I for one, am super impressed (and inspired)! Well done Abby! And thanks for sharing your process, i love seeing how other people attack problems!

abigail said...

Thanks so much! It was fun- took me a while to get around to finishing it after the brown paint fiasco. But once I started with the fabric it only took me maybe 3-4 days straight of course! lol

Katy said...

This is cool, good job. I realize this happened 2 years ago. But I just found it now, so it is new to me. Looked like a lot of sewing


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...