Given my limited skills, I’m not sure exactly what I was thinking when I brought her home from a thrift store…but I just felt compelled to. She was affordable, so I felt it was worth the risk and wanted to see if there was any way I could do something with her.
She was missing tacks and the fabric was very weak.
Her poor cushions were totally worn out.
She was loosing what I believe was horse hair out the back of the cushion.
The twine that tied the springs together was broke in many places and the jute webbing was getting torn and weak.
I begged my mother to come back to visit me, so she could help me make new cushions, but since she was just here for a visit, I knew I was on my own, so I figured I better just dig in and try to figure out what to do. I started by going through my seed bags, to select some to use for the back cushion.
I laid the original cushion out and traced around it on brown paper to make a pattern. Then I cut out the grain sacks using the pattern and cut a back piece from large canvas drop cloth (which I pre-washed).
Amazingly, I got it all sewn together, only needing to use my seam ripper once. Even though the original back pad was extremely worn, I decided to reuse it inside my new cover, because:
a) it was cheaper than buying something new for padding
b) it was easier than cutting new padding
c) I knew I could replace it later if need be
Once I had the back pad finished, I used new twine to retie the springs together. I remind you, I’m not a professional upholsterer, so I just did a 4-way tie, which is what the sofa originally had anyway, although a professional upholsterer probably would have done an 8-way tie.
Then I painted the frame and added new jute webbing over the springs. I did a base coat of paint with my homemade chalk-style paint, but it was difficult to get in all the nooks and crannies with the brush, so I went over the whole thing again with spray paint. Over that, I put on a coat of lacquer, which left a bit of a yellow tint in some spots, so I put another coat of spray paint over that. I believe she’ll now be held together for many years, just because of all the paint and lacquer!
Since I only pull out my sewing machine about once a year and even then, I usually only do small projects, I doubted my ability to make new cushions and covers, so I decided to create a large cushion out of a long piece of foam. In retrospect, I wish I would have attempted 3 separate cushions and covers, but I really didn’t think I could do it. If I ever attempt another project like this, I think I’ll try to do the separate cushions instead, but here it is with the foam cut to shape.
The bonus of having those 3 original cushions left over was that inside them was what looked like a honeycomb of old springs, wrapped in fabric, sewn together.
To make the arms more comfortable and to hide the broken wicker under the arms, I made some cushions with more leftover canvas. I’m spoiled by having a mom who is such a great seamstress, so she’s always made my pillows in the past, but my mom isn’t here, so I decided it was time to learn to do it myself. I made envelope closure pillows and felt absolutely dumb when I realized how simple they were to make and had been having my mom make them for me all these years.
I had an old monogram table runner with a stain that I couldn’t remove, so I decided to salvage the crochet lace trim to use on the edge of the pillows.
I just trimmed the edge of the fabric, about 1/2 an inch away from the lace.
Stitching it up was a breeze, but if you’ve never done it, HERE are some great instructions from Martha Stewart.
At first, I wasn’t sure where I could use this sofa, because there isn’t space inside my house, but I have a plan for her now. It’s at least several months down the road, so she’s taking up residence in my son’s room until then. He is only home for a little while, between finishing his Army training and returning to college in the fall, so he doesn’t mind.
His room isn’t the best spot to take a photo, so he helped me load her up and we drove 13 miles away to a State Park, so I could take some beauty shots of her. Totally worth the effort, drive and time. It was a gorgeous day and this old lady (the sofa, not me) deserved special treatment.
Too bad I didn’t think to fix myself up before we left the house, but I wanted to get a photo of myself on her too.
Here’s something I think you’ll love! (affiliate link)