Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The New Slipcover For the Old Ugly Sofa- Part 1

This is the "AFTER".
 (Yes, I know, I just made you read the ending
of the book before the beginning. But I just wanted to give you
hope that I really did finish this project!)

This was the "BEFORE".

Nice, huh?
You think it is ugly????
Yeah, so did I!
But I bought it because my beloved 
yellow floral Laura Ashley sofa finally bit the dust
last year.  

I cried. 

So, we went to a lot of thrift stores,
where I measured a lot of sofas,
looking for the "footprint" or size and shape
that would work for my plans.

I wanted something that was built of solid wood,
had good springs, decent cushions,
and didn't "creak" when we sat on it.

$50.00 cash and we hauled it away!
We actually lived with the sofa like this
for almost a year while I did a lot of
other sewing.
And a lot of life happened,
 and the ugly sofa was not a priority.
And then we packed the house
and moved to our new home, where we live now.

But this sofa looked even nastier after the move,
in our current house.


So last month, I decided it was time.
I decided that a fitted slipcover
would look neater than a simple drape slipcover.
That meant I would need to make piping,
put in zippers, and cover each cushion separately.

So, grab some coffee and get comfy.
This is a long post with lots of pictures!

I measured every part of the sofa.
I added 1-2" for each side for seam allowances.

I graphed out every section as a rectangle and
then figured out how much fabric I would need
for each piece.

Thankfully, I had purchased about 20 yards
of rose cotton damask from Laura Ashley
when they were closing down all the U.S retail stores.

I also figured I would need  cording for about 26-30 yards of piping,
5 zippers
and some batting to wrap the cushions,
in addition to upholstery thread,
lots of pins, heavy duty machine needles,
cutting boards, rulers, scissors and pens.

I started the whole thing by making yards and yards
of self piping. This fabric had a very slightly
asymmetrical diamond pattern.
I didn't realize it was off, until I started making the bias.

I figured that for the 1/4" cording I was using,
I would need my bias strips to be 1-3/4" wide.

The bias is the diagonal line of the fabric.
That is important because piping needs to be smooth going
around curved areas.
It will pucker if you make the piping out of the straight grain,
either across the width of the fabric, or down the length.

After drawing my rows 1 3/4" apart,
I cut the strips apart.
I sewed the strips together and pressed the seams open.

Then I sewed the cording into the bias using the
zipper foot on my sewing machine.

(This is the Bernina 707 I rescued from
it's lonely life in my MIL's garage. Let's say
I liberated it. )

I don't love making piping but I love the look.

Then I started to cut rectangles of the fabric.

I laid the fabric wrong side out, 
so that I could pin the seams on the outside.

I pinned each step as I went.

A very wise friend told me to start with 
the arms. She said if I could get the arms to fit,
then the rest would be easy. 
So, I took her advice.

Pinning the arms made me nervous,
because of the curves.

I cut each piece as a rectangle,
then pinned and trimmed away the extra,
allowing about a 1/2" for seams.

The front of the arm was slightly smaller than the side, 
so I had to pin tiny tucks to make it fit.

Then I pinned the side panels to the arm and front.

Sorry this is blurry. 
After I cut the extra off the arm front panel,
I unpinned it and then pinned the piping
along the outer edges.

I left the ends long enough so I could join the front and 
side panels to the arm front panel. 

I clipped around the curve so the seams would not pucker. 
Then I stitched it on to the front arm panel,
using my zipper foot again. 
The zipper foot is helpful because.
I can get the stitches right up to the 
cording part of the piping. 

I pinned the side panel to the side of the top arm panel, 
with the piping in the seam. 
Then I sewed this seam.

I pinned the tucks in place and then stitched them down.

Then I repinned the front arm panel to the side panel/ 
top arm, panel.
Then I took the whole arm piece off and sewed it all together.

This is an awful photo,
but it shows how the arm joins
to the seat deck of the sofa.

As I sewed each piece of piping to it's panel,
I would pull out about an inch of the
cording and cut it off.

This is important because that cording makes
the joining at seams really bulky.

Well looky there! 
A fitted arm!

I did the same thing to each side and it fit perfectly.

I think this is a good stopping place for Part 1.

My computer is misbehaving, 
so I will just 
 post this part and then post part 2 in a day or so.
Happy Sewing!



Crys said...

You did an amazing job. I am soo impressed!

Red Hen said...

You amaze me. I don't know what else to say. I do not have the courage, much less the skills to do this. It looks wonderful! Like new! Wow...

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work, Siv! My Mom in law did the same thing years ago to her sofa and love seat. It turned out beautiful, also and has given them many years of service with no wear that we can see. She even washed them this summer!
Enjoy your sofa for Many years!
What does your Littlest Treasure think of her amazing Momma and the new reddish rose couch?:)
Love, hollym.:)

Joyce in NC said...

You did a great job!

Karen said...

Wow! Great job! I am so impressed that you tacked such a huge job. I am trying to work myself up to recovering our kitchen chairs!