August 13, 2012

and Now for Something Completely Different

I'm not one who delves into home dec much. Not necessarily because I don't take pleasure in sewing up or creating items for my home (please note that I said my home, because I would never do this for anyone else!), but since the Mr. and I are still in the "apartment phase" of life, it just seems like a lot of work to make something look good against drab walls and oatmeal colored carpet and who knows what else. There comes a point though, when I get the itch for a white picket fence to do some home dec and/or it becomes absolutely necessary to do something about the state of things. The couch has been on this list even before I got married - that being nearly 5 years ago. I always thought that maybe we would just get rid of the couch some day and actually buy a new one. However, since that miracle has not yet materialized and since I'm somewhat well endowed in the sewing department, I came to the conclusion that something needed to be done about this atrocity and it needed to be done now.

So, I made this lovely slipcover that you see before you now. Crazy, I know. I totally wouldn't blame you if you didn't believe that I made it either because Mr. S said that no one would believe that I made it. I've been working on this thing, here and there, since May. Making a proper, nice looking slipcover for your sofa is not an easy feat. This is actually the second time I've made one for this couch - which by the way, was my parent's sofa from the 80s. The former slipcover was bright red - when I thought red couches were in and sadly, mine never was - and it was very poorly done. In fact I can barely bring myself to say that it was indeed my own work. I couldn't even bring myself to take photos of it either as is was so unsightly and shameful, so sadly there are no before photos here. Believe me when I say that I'm sparing you some serious pain though.

This was a hard, very time consuming project. The base  - everything excluding the cushions - was actually not too bad. The arms were pretty difficult, in fact, almost like setting in a sleeve!  The hardest part of the base was the wretched zipper at the back. It's not my finest hour, but after fiddling with it for several hours, I was tapped out. It looks way worse when you take the slipcover off of the couch, but since the slipcover is pretty tight and form fitting, it stretches out the slight bubbling that is going back there. Oh well! It's decent. The hardest part of the sofa were those wretched cushions! OMG, I could have spit nails by the time I was finished with those. Originally, I had plans to do the welting (the cording) in the cushion seams, but I couldn't do it. My patience did not win that battle and so I exclaimed, rather sadly, to Mr. S that the welting had finally defeated me and I would NOT be putting it in the cushions. Mr. S, very wonderfully, stated that he felt he would rather not have welting in the cushions anyway, because he felt couch cushions are more comfortable without welting. I'm pretty happy with that. All in all, with every expletive in the book, they came out pretty damn good! I even put in a lapped zipper at the back of each cushion. Yup. This was serious.

This slipcover took 15 yards of fabric. I used a nice high quality muslin to interface certain sections. I made all the welting. by. hand. and in all there is about 20 yards of welting on this couch. I followed the couch base exactly as it was on the original couch for the pattern. To make the pattern, I used muslin, draped it over the section of the couch that I was patterning/rubbing off at the time, stuck pins in the seams of the original couch and with a sharpie marker, added dots to where the pins were on the muslin. From there I took the muslin off the couch, connected the dots and added a seam allowance and cut it from the cloth using the muslin as a pattern. And now I have a pattern for my couch, if I ever wanted to make another slipcover - haha! It was a fantastic experience for learning one version of the rub off technique and I'm very excited to try rubbing off a favorite blouse soon sans sharpie marker, of course.

I purchased the fabric from and it's this Amy Butler cotton sateen, home dec weight. After going to a local home dec fabric shop - anyone been to Designer's Resource? Its INSANE! - I found out that these quilting cottons made into home dec cottons are extremely lightweight. I found it fine for my project and really for my sewing machine. Some of those home dec fabrics would require some serious machinery. The pillow fabrics are from a local joint called Home Fabrics, here in SLC and talk about cheap! The name of this fabric store was originally, $2 Fabric Store, and has since been changed. They have great basic home dec fabrics - nothing exotic or really beautiful like at Designer's Resource - and for the price, they really can't be beat. The slipcover and pillow covers are completely washable, which was important to me because my last version wasn't. For those round pillows with the button, I had read an old Threads article on making these with a buttonhole in the cover - ingenious, right? I could also really use newly cut foam for the couch cushions, but for now, its all good.

So what do you guys think? It's a pretty heavy duty project, I know. I think my sewing machine could now use a bit of a tune up only because this was a very hefty order. I'm so happy this project is off of my sewing table now. Literally. It was taking up way too much room... And I'm quite happy with the end result of my sofa slipcover - it is rather wild! Ha ha!

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