For the Home, Other

First Real Reupholster Project

I've always kind of toyed with faux-upholstery because I've been too intimidated to try a real project.

I was always scared that I would end up taking the fabric off of the chair or couch and then immediately become overwhelmed and then push the torn apart furniture to the corner of the room and avoid it for weeks or months while I try to regain enough courage to attempt it again.

I ended up finding this awesome tufted wing back recliner chair at my local thrift store, and before I even had figured out a way to get it home (no way it would fit in my little sedan) I had already bought it. I mean, I couldn't pass it up. A recliner chair that didn't look like and ugly lump? Of course I wasn't going to let it go! If I had to carry it back home I would have. Thankfully I was able to have a friend to come with a truck. Which is great because I also nabbed a great credenza that was half off... but I digress. When I bought it I knew I was going to have to reupholster it. It was covered in a blue pleather/vinyl type fabric that had a strange/gross thin film of... something over all of the chair. It was pretty bad. Since I wasn't going to be able to re-cover it right away, I ended up just scrubbing at it with a bunch of cleaners to get as much of the film off as I could.

399299_10103433185306000_1860770004_nI tried to find a picture of it before I started the project, but this is the only one I could find. This is it in my living room.


Here I'm about to start disassembling the chair. Nerve racking!

SAMSUNG CSCHere I was thinking, "Ok, this isn't too bad..."

SAMSUNG CSCSome of the scrap from the chair. I should mention that this process was disgusting. the film that covered the whole chair had accumulated in each fold and crevice of this thing. My husband and I came to the conclusion that perhaps this chair was in a smokers home or something.

SAMSUNG CSCI carefully took each piece off. I wanted to make sure I could lay them out onto the new fabric to use them as patterns. At this point, even though it as pretty gross dealing with the nasty existing fabric, it was extremely satisfying to take the chair apart. I was having a lot more fun than I thought I would.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd then suddenly there was no more fabric for me to rip off anymore. And the reality that I was going to have to cut new pieces and stretch, tuft, sew, etc. them onto this naked chair started to sink in. And then the urge to slowly push it into the corner to let "future Rachel" deal with it started to bubble up. Thankfully, I was able to push that feeling back down and soldier on.

SAMSUNG CSCThere we go! Looking better already! Almost done! Not. At this point I was really panicking--was I really going to be able to do this? Sure I tufted that headboard before, but this felt very different for some reason.

SAMSUNG CSCOk, first tuft... not that bad. For the buttons I bought some button making kits and made a few with the new fabric.

SAMSUNG CSCOkay, okay, this is looking so much better. I was feeling better at this point.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd here I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm doing it. I'm really doing it! And it's actually looking decent! This is actually pretty fun!" And then I remembered I had to sew up some arms lined with piping.

SAMSUNG CSCWith the previous pattern pieces I knew that I had some leeway as long as I cut more fabric than the previous pieces. Since most of this project involved stretching a bit of fabric on the chair and stapling it down, as long as I had enough fabric to staple I was fine. I could then just trim off any excess. I didn't have that luxury with the arms. Since I had to sew them to match the wing back shape I had to be very precise when transferring the pattern. It took a few fittings and adjustments, but I finally ended up getting them to work!

SAMSUNG CSCOh man, and here it is, all finished(well almost)! This fabric is so much nicer than that crappy sticky gross vinyl that was on it originally. It's so soft and it makes the chair so comfortable.


Here it is reclined.


And here's some fancy close up shots.

SAMSUNG CSCThe arm. Technically this chair is unfinished because I haven't put in the upholstery tacks yet. I have them and they're ready to be hammered in place, but I'm just being lazy about it.


And here it is in the room after re-covering it. As of right now, it's my favorite chair. It's so comfortable even in its normal state, it's a huge plus that it also reclines as well.


I hope you all enjoyed seeing me struggle through my first real reupholstery project. I didn't really know what I was doing, I was winging it a lot and probably did a lot of stuff wrong, but it looks good so that's all I can ask for!



Bedroom, For the Home

Tufted Headboard from an Ugly Couch

So you probably remember my post about painting my loveseat and I mentioned how my plan was to reupholster the bigger couch. Well, I sort of halfway did that. While I was trying to decide what kind of fabric to cover it with, we were storing it in the bedroom because we didn't have any other space for it. I started to think about how even after I did that project, where would I put the finished piece? The apartment could really only comfortably have one six foot couch in it and I didn't feel like getting rid of the couch I so painstakingly recovered a few months ago. That's when this new idea popped in my head. This whole time we've been in this apartment I knew I wanted to make myself a tufted headboard and after having the couch in our bedroom lined up perfectly with our bed for a while it finally clicked in my head to covert the couch into a headboard. Here's a photo of the couches I found at Goodwill. The one on the right is the one I used for this project. I hated that fabric, so it had to go.

I slowly started taking the fabric off the couch, with help from my cat Gremlin.

I only really bothered to remove the fabric on the backrest and arms of the couch. Why bother removing the fabric from the bottom when it was just going to end up in the dumpster?  I also saved the buttons to reuse them for this project.

After exposing the wood, I roughly marked where I wanted to cut the couch.

Action shot with my new favorite tool, a Japanese style pull saw.

Here's the couch, now officially in two pieces. I ended up salvaging the three front legs, some of the foam and some straight pieces of wood from the bottom part of the couch. You never know when you'll need random scrap pieces of wood.

Here are the buttons I salvaged. I just painted them with two coats of acrylic gold paint.

I used some of the extra foam from the other side of the couch to fill in some of the spaces and to cover the exposed wood.

The fabric I used ended up being some fabric I got at a thrift store market thing down the road from me. I forget the exact price I paid for it, but it was obscenely cheap. Like about $5 for a bolt that had a little more than 8 yards of upholstery fabric on it kind of cheap.

My first tufting project. It started off kind of difficult, but I got the hang of it after a while.

Done with the tufting and the fabric is all stapled down. Now it's time for the side pieces.

I used the old fabric side pieces to create a pattern, but since halfway down the sides there would normally be arms of the couch, there was no more of the old fabric to make a pattern from so I had to do some drapery work to figure out how exactly to cover the rest of the sides. I also recovered the old piping from the side pieces with the fabric I was using. Conveniently for me, whoever made the couch used way more piping than they needed originally for the side pieces and it actually ended up being the perfect amount of piping for the new size of the sides.

And here it is finished in my messy living room!

Here it is in the room! Now I definitely need to buy some new sheets. I'm extremely happy with how it turned out and even though this isn't technically a tutorial post, I hope it was educational for you guys! :)


For the Home, Other

Making an Ugly Sofa Beautiful

A few months ago, my boyfriend and I uprooted and moved one state over.  It was fairly short notice, so we just packed as much as we could into an SUV and drove to our new apartment. The only "furniture" we could fit in the car was a fold up table, tiny folding chairs and a blow up mattress. After living like this for a few days, I was finally able to go out to find a sofa. I ended up finding this nice camel back sofa with lion feet legs.

Isn't it beautiful?! Not. It had the ugliest slip cover, but a quick glance at the underlying fabric and I fell in love.

This is the story of how this ugly sofa turned into a beautiful piece of furniture.

I really wanted a darker colored sofa, but I figured I could paint it a la this tutorial and still have the pattern of the fabric show though. Unfortunately, when I got the couch home and removed the slip cover completely, there were a few problems.

The cushion was only covered by the fabric from the ugly picnic slip cover fabric. Yuck. While I brainstormed about what I could do, I just wrapped up the foam with an extra bed sheet cover. You probably noticed that the cushion looks bigger here than in the first picture, and that is true! I was able to score 4 pieces of high density upholstery foam for just $40. I was so excited. I ended up using two pieces on the couch and I'm going to use the other pieces to reupholster a little chaise lounge I got. But that will be a different post.

But back to updating the sofa - the first thing I thought I could do was to stick with the original plan and paint the couch. I figured I could paint it and then buy enough (almost) matching fabric to make a new cover for the cushion. Sadly this couldn't happen because I noticed small tears in the fabric that would eventually tear more and more as we used it. That must have been why they slip covered it in the first place.

The second thing I thought I'd try was to attempt to dye the slip cover black. I felt as though that was the only color that could cover the ugliness of it or at least tone it down so the plaid wasn't too bad (a.k.a. too noticeable). After ordering a bunch of dye only to accidently lose half of it down the drain before I even started dyeing the fabric and then having the fabric not take any of the color (yay for rushing things and not figuring out what kind of fabric it was) I decided to try a different tactic.

I found this tutorial and thought that this is the one that I'll do and I will make it work no matter what. I ordered quite a lot of this dark purple upholstery fabric and got to work.

I cut up the slip cover to make a rough pattern for the pieces and to take out the piping cording so I could remake piping in the new fabric. This picture shows after I sewed on the arm pieces.

And here it is almost done! It stayed like this for a while because, even though it was only a few straight lines I had to sew for the cushion, I kept psyching myself out. I only had enough fabric to attempt this once, and I was sure I would mess it up somehow. Eventually I decided to get the cushion done, so I glued the foam together so it would appear to be just one big piece of foam, I crossed my fingers and sewed up a huge rectangle. Thank. God. It fit. I had to enlist the help of the boyfriend to get the cover on, as the cushion is a foot taller than me, but we crammed it in there and it ended up being a perfect fit.

And here it is complete (or almost... I'm really tempted to paint the legs white)! I love it so much! I wish I had just skipped the whole dyeing debacle and went straight to this, but it all worked out in the end.