A new life for my couch!

After being married and moving into a new place, we took in a lot of free stuff. Everyone seems to have stuff they don't need in their home so many people gave us their old things to furnish our house with. This is great! Especially for an extremely frugal me, who hates to spend money on anything unless it's a necessity.... well unless it's fabric or yarn or antique.

*This is how it looks so far...
One of these freebies was a couch. A very comfy couch. And I recovered it! Same comfort, Better style. For $100 I transformed my blah couch into a pseudo-antique looking one!

This particular couch came from my in-laws and happens to be one of Devin's favorites. It's seriously one of the most comfortable couches I've had the pleasure of sitting on. It was just so, well, ugly. I wanted to recover the couch but I do not have the money to put out for upholstery fabric because of course, I only want the most prettiest, expensive, light tone-on-tone upholstery fabrics that cost a gazillion dollars per yard. So I had conceded that I would have to put that idea out of my mind. But, having found a brand new addiction for Pinterest (if you would like to follow my boards, click the link!), I started seeing all these pictures of people using drop cloth as a sofa cover! What a wonderful idea! I thought, but I realized... making a slipcover is a LOT of work and I greatly dislike working with piping. Blech. Luckily though, another pinner had posted her own adventures in upholstering with a drop cloth and the results were great! I read her post, watched a couple of videos and decided to attempt it on my own.

With the help of my mom, we decided on what was gonna happen with the couch and we bought our supplies:

12'x15' Canvas Drop Cloth
1 roll King size Quilt Batting
2 rolls Upholstery/cushion foam
1 bag Polyester Stuffing
Couch
Heavy Duty Staple Gun/Ammo (Long staples)
2 pkg Cut Tacks
1-2 Cans Scotch-Guard

The biggest drop cloth I could find

First, I washed the drop cloth 3 times and dried it with softener... it took FOREVER. But I'm glad I decided to soften it, because boy it was not comfy before. After that I analyzed my couch and figured out what I wanted to do with it. I wanted a "camel back" or "hump back" to my couch, so I used a lump of the polyester stuffing material and stapled it in place with some quilt batting. This part was interesting because we had to pack the stuffing so tightly. Also, finding the wood support beams took a little trial and error.... and frustration.



We trimmed the excess batting, just fyi


After the hump was made, we then stapled the upholstery foam to the back of the couch to smooth everything out and to make the back a little cushier. More quilt batting was added atop this and cut to size, then we laid the batting out to use as a pattern to cut the canvas (being extra sure to add lots of seam allowance to the sides) Then the batting was stapled into place.


Again, excess was cut off
After the back had been padded with foam, we added the canvas, stretched, stapled and pleated to fit.

^We used the cut batting as a pattern for the canvas^
Notice the HUGE blotch on the back? I didn't notice it until I had
taken a picture of the couch. If you choose to do a project with
drop cloth, be sure to inspect your fabric and cut accordingly,
to avoid my mistake!

 The front lip of the sofa proved to be far more challenging than I anticipated. All of the support beams were covered in springs and knots, leaving me completely helpless as to what to do next. I had figured I would just staple the fabric to the support beams and be done with that process, but ended up taking another route. I laid batting on the "decorative fabric" of the lip, so as to cover up the weird pattern, then laid a strip of the canvas atop; stapled and tacked the fabric to the bottom, then whip-stitched the canvas to the original upholstery. This took me 2 hours and my pointer finger is still somewhat numb after 2 weeks.


I used 6 fibers from the canvas for the thread and a giant tapestry needle.

Finished sewing. Phew
 A similar process as the back was used for the arms of the sofa, apart from adding "stuffing" to the arms. Foam was added directly to the top of the arms and the process followed how we went about the back.


Upholstery Foam added and stapled...
Batting to the right arm, so you can see the difference.

Next step I did the underside of the arms. Using batting for a pattern, then cutting the canvas. The hardest part of this was making sure the staples and cut tacks wouldn't be seen. I stapled the fabric and batting, right side to couch, underneath the crest of the armrest then folded the piece down, to cover the staples and tacks. The fabric was then stretched and attached to the underside, back and front of the armrests.

The last, and hardest non-sewing part, was the final back piece. Like the under-sides for the armrest, the staples and tacks shouldn't be seen, but one also wants the line to be completely straight. The only way to achieve this ( the sturdiest, longest lasting way) is to make a tack strip with finishing nails and a cheap piece of trim, nail it to the back of the couch, then fold the fabric and batting over the strip to conceal it. Tacking and Stapling is done to the bottom of the couch like normal.



Yay tack strips
Now.... THE hardest part was making the cushions. Ugh. I HATE making square cushions. So here's a good tutorial for those of you who would like to know :)


I made two more cushions for the back, using the original cushions as patterns and the original zippers for thriftiness. All in all, I think it turned out well and is just as comfortable as before!

Last step before using is Scotch-Gard-ing, make sure all your windows are open and do as much as you can outside. Our house got fumey really quickly.

Since the couch is practically done that ends this post. But know, that because I like to make everything harder than it should be so of course I have decided I'm going to do another, unnecessary step... adding wood to look like it is, or kind of is, an antique. But that shall be a post for another day!

1 comment:

Gabrielle Miller said...

Sweet! I will have to refer back to this post if I ever attempt something like this O.o We're still looking for a couch, but we're a little leery of bed bugs, so it would almost certainly have to come from a friend. Poor college friend couches are usually quite roughed up, so the fact that you've pulled this off is fantastic! I'm pretty sure that we would need a LOT more space, though....I mean, we live in a one bedroom apartment. That's not a lot of spare floor space >.<