A little DIY – how novel!
It’s been awhile since I posted any DIY stuff – mostly because I haven’t been doing any. I feel lucky to keep the laundry going and feed Haley and myself, since mostly I just want to lay on my bed and read! But I recently made a somewhat snap decision to give Spencer and Kayla one of my couches which then meant I had to start looking for some replacement furniture.
When our family moved into our most recent home, we went from one small living space to two large ones. We had some hand-me-down furniture, none of which really fit our style or lifestyle. Since we had a little cash from the sale of our first home, we finally (after 10 years of marriage) invested in some grownup furniture. But we also had little kids who liked to build couch cushion forts. So while we bought grown up furniture for our “living room”, I went the CraigsList route for the family room. $400 later we had a nice big couch, love seat, chair, and ottoman. It was a great deal – the upholstery was a rough, tan-ish dirty color perfect for hiding spills and crumbs; the pillows made great forts; and best of all I didn’t have to worry about the kids ruining it, since I hadn’t spent very much on it.
Fast forward to this fall – the love seat had developed a definite dip in the middle of the two seat cushions, the back cushions had been mushed out of shape so that they generally pushed the sitter off the couch, the chair was covered with cat fur that resisted cleaning, and the ottoman had been discarded after too many jumps had broken the frame. It was time to replace – especially since I think I’m finally past the cushion fort stage.
I’ve wanted the bed-couch FRIHETEN from IKEA ever since I saw how cleverly it makes into a surprisingly comfortable queen size bed. Haley and I went down to IKEA, measured and imagined, went home and measured again. Then we went back and between the two of us (with a little help from some IKEA workers) loaded the giant boxes into our van, unloaded it into our house (sadly, without the help of the IKEA workers), and then put the thing together. It was/is awesome!
Then came the question about what to put in there with it… everything I looked at wasn’t quite right or was way out of my price range. One night I was bemoaning my bad luck with my mom. Together we started looking at websites (I say together – we were on the phone, each looking at our own computers – that counts as together, right??). I found this great deal on club chairs at World Market Cost Plus. I could get two chairs for less than the price of one chair (that I didn’t really like) at IKEA (which was the least expensive chair I had found in the style that I wanted). The first catch? The chair was sold without upholstery and required the purchase of a slipcover sold separately. The second catch? Since the chair was being discontinued, there were no slipcovers available for purchase. Hmmm…. I talked it over with my mom – what did she think? Did the chair look like it would be difficult to cover? It was a pretty rectangular chair. Together we agreed that it was doable. So I bought them.
I have actually made slipcovers and re-upholstered furniture before. I made a very utilitarian slipcover from the cheapest fabric I could find for a hand-me-down love seat Tom and I had when we were first married. It was VERY rectangular and was a matter of sewing straight seams along rectangles of fabric. Super easy. I had re-upholstered a couch I inherited from my grandmother and sewn a slipcover for the matching love seat. It’s not out of the realm of my abilities. But I did those projects many years ago when I had a lot more time and energy. I was a little worried that if it was too difficult I would never get the slipcovers done and these chairs would be unusable.
They came. I liked them a lot! But the thought of figuring out how much fabric I needed to buy kept me from doing much. I pulled out an old sheet and started working on a slipcover pattern – trying out how I wanted to fit things together, etc. But I started thinking that I was putting too much effort on a pattern and I needed to just start working with the actual fabric.
Then I decided to go to Utah for my niece’s baptism, and my mother told me about this upholstery fabric store that was going out of business. My sister and I discovered that everything in the store was $3 a yard. Terrific prices! I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with that price and that I was bound to find something that would work. I was in luck! For around $50 I had enough fabric for my two chairs.
The next weekend my parents were in town so I called on my mom’s expert knowledge of laying out patterns to help me figure my cutting plan. She helped me figure out how to lay out the rectangles of fabric that would make up my pieces so that the pattern was centered and I could use my fabric most economically. I’m so glad she helped! And then I started pinning and tracing and slowly putting my pattern pieces together. I’m still not finished but I’m getting close. Anyway, here are some pictures of the process so far …
Cutting out the fronts of the arms
fitting the back
front of arms attached to sides – still not attached to the back
Did I mention I have to make two of these? And then cover the back and seat cushions?? I have actually finished one chair cover now and am almost done with the second … and I have ordered and now have the zippers for the cushions. Maybe I’ll finish it all up over spring break. Watch here for updates!