Thursday, August 16, 2012

I didn't know you could do that!

Not too long ago I blogged about finding a new way to use an empty bookcase because I didn't want to part with it, but also didn't want it to take up space in our home.  I love finding new ways to use the things that we own.  Sometimes the things we love have something bad happen to them and this is a post about turning bad things into good things.

Right after moving into my resident assistant dorm room, back in 2008, I decided that I needed to add seating to the space.  Yes, my dorm room was big enough for a small couch and coffee table.  Being an RA was awesome like that.  But, I digress.  Justin and I drove the three hours to Ikea and picked out our first piece of furniture together.  The couch that we bought was a two-person, white love seat that fit in the back of the car (amazing, I know).

The little couch served us well.  We even bought a matching couch when we moved to our first apartment after getting married.  Sadly, Ikea no longer sells it.  After getting our cats back from my mom, things started going downhill for both couches.  It turns out that both Cali and Scooter like the feel of couch under their claws.  Our pretty couches went from pristine to shredded in the course of two years.  While both functioned for sitting, they certainly were an eyesore.

I toyed with the idea of buying a new couch, but couldn't bring myself to do it.  So, I started looking into what would be required to re-upholster both couches and was surprised to find that the answer was not much.

Upper Left: Me working on sewing the cover.  Upper Right:  The world's smallest sewing machine.  Lower Left: Tools of the trade.  Lower Right:  Completed project next to the matching couch.

One can take the "hardcore" upholstery approach and buy a bunch of tools, spend weeks deconstructing the piece, and then painstakingly replace the cushioning and fabric.  On the other hand, one can take a more laid back approach to the project and create what amounts to a well-fitted couch cover.  I choose the second option.  For this project I purchased a sewing machine, thread, 10 sq. yards of fabric, a measuring tape, staple gun, and staples. I spent $120 in total with the majority of that being the fabric.

The steps I took for this project include:

  1. Choosing the new couch color and the type of fabric.  Hubby and I decided on a dark purple microfiber for several reasons.  Dark colors are less likely to show cat hair and we like purple.  Plus, microfiber is especially easy to clean.
  2. Taking the couch apart (an Ikea bonus) and measuring each piece three times.  I'm a little neurotic, but I wanted to be sure that I didn't purchase too much material and wanted to ensure the best fit for each cover.
  3. Purchased the fabric from an online store.  I had shopped around in several local fabric stores, but the prices seemed a bit outrageous to me.
  4. Once the fabric arrived, I took apart the first couch and meticulously cleaned each piece.  Since I was planning on leaving the existing fabric on the couch it was important to start with a clean surface.  It wouldn't be a good idea to lock any existing cat smells in forever.
  5. Then I got to work making the cover for each piece.  I measured the individual parts, pinned them together, and then sewed them with my tiny sewing machine.
  6. Next, I slid the completed cover over the piece.  Pulling towards the bottom as tightly as I could, I stapled the cover the piece.
  7. Finally, I put all of the covered pieces together and reassembled the couch.  In total, the project took eight hours spread throughout a weekend.
I couldn't be happier with the finished product.  We ended up with a revitalized couch for a fraction of the cost of a new one and have a unique piece.  You may be wondering why I didn't just buy a couch cover from Ikea and that's a good question.  Before starting this project, I looked to see if Ikea sold covers for this particular couch and unfortunately the did not.  So my options were to buy a new couch or to make this one work.  

The response to the completed couch were surprising.  Many of my friends said that they didn't know that I know how to re-upholster.  To which I told them, "I didn't know that I knew how either."  The moral of the story is that you'll never know what you can do unless you try.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I'm simply amazed by this whole process. Wow. Is there anything you can't do??

    My favorite thing about you, my Amanda, is your tenacity! Love you!!