Thursday, January 12, 2012

Re-upholstering: the trial and error method.

My sad little ottoman was begging for an upgrade. He was a few years old and his fabric was showing it. Even worse, his foot-resting skills were lacking. Most days, your tired heels would hit a sharp corner instead of a nice foamy pillow-cloud. Sadkins, indeed. Apparently I'm all about the comma, also.

After pulling out the staples and stripping this baby down, it was apparent what was causing this skill decline:

The foam was not going to sit on these strips and have the ability to sink through again. I grabbed some scrap plywood and Dad cut it to size. I then ripped out the bands and, with my dad's assistance, used the fancy new air-powered staple gun to attached the plywood to the top. Using the Dremel tool and a bit of sandpaper, I did some baby routering along the edges and the corners to keep the future fabric from ripping on the edges.

It was looking pretty rough, so I had to keep reminding myself that I wouldn't be seeing this skeleton forever. I used spray adhesive and coated the top before laying down a hunk of foam. I cut it to size beforehand, but then did this very rough trim job.

Oh, I was so confident in my makeover abilities. And then I got my sad little stool down to this stage. All confidence was gone. So I abandoned him for a few days out of fear.

I mustered up some more courage a few days later and put batting on the top and a piece of fleecey-like polyester fabric around the entire frame.

For the top piece of fabric over the batting, I pulled down the fabric at the corners to create a rounded edge before shooting in the staples.

And then I avoided this guy for a few more days because the fabric was even scarier. It took a bit, but I measured a piece of fabric, centered it on the top, and stapled four staples, one on the middle of each side. After pulling out those staples because I didn't pull the fabric even and tight, I re-stapled the four. Then, checking that it was still centered, I continued around  the fabric, pulling tight and stapling.

Next, I dug up some cording leftover from the stool my aunt reupholstered. I measured around the edge, just above the staples I shot in to secure the top piece, and sewed a cover for this cording using the zipper foot on the sewing machine. The zipper foot allows you to sew real close to the cord. At both ends, I folded in the fabric to create a smooth and fray-free edge. I also stopped sewing about 1/4-inch from the edge. This will come into play at the meeting of the cording. The trick is to get as close to the cording as possible for a tight strip of fabric.

To attach this, I again used the staple gun. I had cut the cording fabric-cover all the same width (it helps that the fabric has a lined pattern to follow) so I lined the bottom of the fabric up with the bottom of the wood frame that supported the top. It's hard to see, but it was all done by feel and trial and error. I pulled out a lot of staples after getting down a side and realizing that I was sloping. You want to staple as close to the thread line as possible. At the end, I folded the fold of one end over the other and dabbed the area with fray-check just in case. 

After the cording was on to my liking (and no, I didn't try to match the pattern - that would've forced me over the edge), I got to the sides. I had bought two yards of fabric for this ottoman, knowing that it was too much, but it was a sale and I wanted to be safe, not sorry. Lucky for me, I had enough length to roll my ottoman on its side and encase the sides. My old ottoman had four pieces sewn together in a box form. Knowing that this would require pattern matching and likely a much larger headache than I wanted, I chose to let the fabric fold around three sides and just to sew the fourth to create the box/circle/round of fabric. I matched up the pattern and sewed a straight stitch down the side. Then, I turn the box/circle fabric inside out and started stapling it under the cording.

Again, the stripes/pattern of the fabric helped. I lined up the bottom of this blue line on the cording before stapling underneath. It was a the same drill: four staples, one per side, then pulling tight and stapling.

After this, I pulled the fabric down, and right-side out, over the sides. It wrapped around the bottom for some more of the same: pull tight and staple. Make sure the pattern's straight and staple some more.

Finally, this guy was ready to be flipped over.

 And there was seal clapping all around. Well, I was the only one seal clapping and doing some sort of weird jig. I did get a 'very nice' our of Mum though. Now I need to get some fabric-saver Woolite or something and this baby will be good to help out tired-from-wearing-heels-too-long footsies and the like. I think he's excited too. Looking all fancy-like, I don't know how he couldn't be. 

1 comment:

  1. where are the pictures of my monster helping you build this?!


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