High Heels and Training Wheels: DIY Couch Reupholster With a Painter's Drop Cloth Part 2: The Cushions

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3.21.2015

DIY Couch Reupholster With a Painter's Drop Cloth Part 2: The Cushions

Hello again! Have you reupholstered your couch frame yet? What, you haven't?! I gave you a week! I kid. Anyway, welcome to part 2! Even if you're not reupholstering your cushions completely, this is still a great way to beef up your dated cushions and make them like-new again. So if your couch is suffering from limp, sad, saggy cushions stay tuned...

DIY couch reupholster with a canvas drop cloth

If you haven't already, you can check out part 1 on how to reupholster your couch frame. Today we're tackling our cushions. This is what I assumed to be the "easy" part going into this project, but because I don't have a whole lot of experience with the sewing machine and absolutely no experience sewing box cushions, this part ended up being somewhat more difficult for me. Don't let that scare you though!  It wasn't necessarily "hard" per say, it just takes some patience and finesse. I got better and better with each cushion and by the third, I was whizzing through it. If you have more sewing experience than I do, this should be easy sailing.



So let's start with materials.


(optional)

We're going to be using our old cushion covers as our pattern for the new ones. I just always try to avoid measuring anytime I can because it majorly shrinks the margin for error....plus, I hate measuring.



Step 1: Use your seam ripper and go to town on those old cushion seams. We're going to start by disassembling our old cushion covers. Using a seam ripper can be time consuming, but we're not reusing this fabric for anything other than a pattern. Just get a hole going and then pull the seam apart like the Hulk. This will fray your edges but the fabric will still be good enough to make a pattern out of it. *If you're planning on adding a zipper to your new cushions, you can save and reuse the old ones off of your existing cushions. If you do this, take care to keep these in tact as you're removing them.


Step 2: Pin down the cushion panels to the new fabric, trace, and cut. Once your cushions are separated, lay the panels out on your fabric. Pin the panels in place, then cut them out of the new fabric. Make sure when you're doing this that you're leaving enough for seam allowance.


Step 3: Spend 7 hours sewing the new panels with your sewing machine. Ok, you probably won't need 7 hours, but it is somewhat time consuming. These aren't just cushion covers as you would do on a throw pillow or something, these are box cushions. That means these have a top, a bottom, and a boxing plate. These involve more than just lining up 4 corners because you have to line up your boxing plate with your panels, make corners where they don't exist, as well as figure a zipper and/or buttons in there. It can get tricky for those of us less sewing inclined. At least it did for me anyway. My corners kept puckering, it was ugly. All I can say is, have your seam ripper handy.

So since I was obviously struggling just to do this correctly, that didn't leave a lot of my cognitive abilities left over to document the process as I went. I know, how am I going to instruct you if there aren't even any instructions to follow? Well, I'll do ya one better and give you a video. No, it's not mine, but it's better than anything I could have made anyway. Is that cheating? I don't know, but if you want some actual information, it's just the better way to get it.

I feel that for something like this, seeing it on video is much more helpful than seeing it in pictures anyway. This particular video is really in depth and shows you absolutely everything. No "Next, we do X, so I'm going to go do that and be back in a second" Every single step is present and accounted for so you can see it start to finish. It even includes how to do piping, how to match up stripes in case you have a pattern on your fabric you need to match up, and how you can add a zipper if you want your cushions removable. Basically everything you could possibly need, it's here.



Cushion covers? Check. Perky cushions to put the covers on? Uhhh...


So now that we have our cushion covers we can just throw them on the cushions and call it a day, right? Well, maybe. If you're lucky enough to have perky, lovely cushions, you are done. (Congratulations! I bet it looks awesome!) But if your poor, droopy, sad cushions have seen better days like mine....well, we ain't done yet.


Step 4: Use utility knife to remove old batting from cushions. First, we'll start by stripping off all the old batting. Now, if you're cushions are just a little flat, you could skip this step and just add some new batting to beef them up. My batting, however, was sagging and drooping and making the cushion look misshapen. I wanted a crisp, clean line on my cushions so I completely removed all of the old batting. This is also a good idea if you're recovering a couch you got from a thrift store or Craig's List or something because any odors and/or bugs (ew) would be living here.

We're just going to toss this batting; we're not reusing it, so we don't have to worry about being gentle with it. Just use your knife to shred it and keep pulling layer after layer. Just keep working with it until you get as much as you can off. If you leave any of the old batting on, just make sure it's a flat, even layer so your cushions don't turn out lumpy.


Step 5: Unwrap your batting, lay it out flat, then flip it to double it over. Now we're going to start working with the new batting. I just used a standard polyester quilt batting. Joann's had this on sale for 40% off and then I was emailed an extra 20% off coupon, so I got this for a steal. Joann's is awesome with coupons, aren't they? Never pay full price! Anyway, roll it all out flat, then fold it in half so it's double layered. 


Step 6: Trace cushion on the batting, then cut. Lay your cushion out on your batting and trace around it. You could measure your cushion instead and then mark your fabric but I'd rather just trace it. Whatever floats your boat. Anyway, after you get your shape marked, cut it out. You need to do this for the top and the bottom. Mine originally had batting around all four sides, so I measured that too. You may also want to do this more than once. The more layers you use on your cushions, the bigger and fluffier they will be. Obviously. I personally ended up doing 4 layers on my cushions.


Step 7: Attach batting to cushion with spray adhesive. There should be instructions on your can and I would recommend following them for best adhesion, but the gist is basically spraying the cushion, spraying the batting and then sticking them together after the spray is tacky. We folded the batting to save on cuts, but you will have to separate all of the layers to spray in between them. Remember, we're going to be pulling and tugging to get those cushions into their covers so the batting needs to be adhered really well to hold up to the beating.


Step 8: Slip cushion covers over the cushions and close them up. After you've got your batting on, you can start putting the new covers on. Depending on how you've chosen to do your cushions, you'll put them in and just zip em up, or you'll put them in and sew up the open seam. I wanted my cushions to be removable so I could wash them (I have kids after all!), so I didn't want to sew the cushions in. But I didn't feel like messing with a zipper either, so I took the short cut by making them envelope style and used Velcro to close them up. You could use Velcro, buttons or a zipper. The choice is yours. I will say though, the Velcro is a super easy route. I got the "sew-on" Velcro but you could make it even easier by getting the iron on or self-adhesive versions.

Then, once you get your cushions slipped into their covers, you're done! Ta da! One piece of advice I will give you though, iron your fabric on the cushions. My fabric was wrinkly and needed ironing anyway, but ironing the fabric on the cushions helped to shape the new batting. I tried to adhere my batting in as "square" a shape as I could, but using the heat will reactivate the spray adhesive somewhat and help to shape the batting even further. *the more you know * Now my edges are much more square and less rounded.





Now you may be thinking "Whoa, wait a minute! You aren't finished, there are no cushions on the back of your couch!". But I did this on purpose. The back cushions cut the seat cushion depth in half and caused the bottom cushions to constantly slip forward. I was always pulling the back cushions up to slide the seat cushions back and it was frustrating. Plus, we were constantly pulling them off and tossing them on the floor to have room to lay out on it anyway. Basically, they were just annoying. The couch is much more comfortable and roomy without them.

 Also, as I mentioned in my first post, I wanted a more modern couch with clean, crisp lines. The existing cushions were rounded and too "soft" looking for my taste. They would have been really easy to re-cover because they aren't box cushions but I just didn't want them. It's just personal choice. I do intend to line the back with more throw pillows though. 5 down, 3-4 more to go!

Here is a kind of crude mock-up of what it will look like after I've finished my pillows and finished making the rug. Yes, I said making the rug. (post on how to do that soon!).





After ironing. Made a huge difference!







So that's it! Stand back and admire your very own custom reupholstery job! You just reupholstered a couch, homie! That's definitely something to be proud of! If you choose to give it a go, I would love, love, love to see how it turns out! You can share it to my Facebook page or Instagram me (lblinc_hhatw). Good luck and may the upholstery Gods be smiling down upon you!
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1 comment :

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers get naked on my desktop.

    ReplyDelete

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