Monday, February 15, 2016

The biggest project I've ever done!

So I have had my couch for about 10 yrs & it looks like it. The cats have torn the sides & arms up, so the foam is coming out. I want a new couch, but I don't have the money & I don't want the cats to rip up a new one. So, I decided I should just re-upholster the couch. I've never re-upholstered a single thing in my whole life, so of course why not start with a super big piece of furniture & the only piece in my living room?? Sounds reasonable!!

To the internet I went, in order to find out what it takes to redo a couch. New fabric. Some stuffing to redo the spots that the cats have torn out. Thread. Ability to sew. Staple gun. Really the only thing I didn't have was a staple gun.

But whoa, the amount of fabric needed for the project was huge & upholstery fabric isn't cheap. I could just buy a new couch for the cost of the fabric. After a little more internet searching, I found out that canvas painter's drop cloths are a cheap way to get a lot of fabric! Who knew?? Canvas isn't the softest but for a couch I figured it would be fine.

However, the canvas comes in beige & I'd decided I wanted a robin's egg blue couch. Which meant I needed to dye the drop cloths. This is not a small task. I used 12 bottles of Rit dye & 3 packages of powdered dye. I had to go to 4 different stores to get enough dye. Then I had to dye all the fabric in my bathtub since I needed a container big enough to hold 36 gallons of water. And then I had to make sure the fabric was constantly in motion, so it didn't get streaks or dye unevenly. It was a weird night, me with a big ass wooden dowel, standing over a bathtub full of water that is so dark it's almost black, stirring away for like 45 minutes. But, it was worth it! The color came out exactly the way I wanted it to & looked great!

I next tore off the fabric from the couch cushions & seats & used the old fabric as the pattern for the new fabric. I took the brown piping from the old fabric & recycled it on the new fabric bc I thought the blue & brown would go great together. So I did the cushions & the seats.

I don't want the cats to tear up the new fabric, so I did some additional research & found out that they sell vinyl sheeting that you can attach to your couch so the cats can't scratch the fabric. Good idea, except it looks really obvious that you have plastic on your couch. I love my cats, but I'm not ready to clearly announce that I'm a crazy cat lady to everyone that comes into my apt. I mean, I'd like to date someone again, so... I had to come up with an idea.

Which became taking the vinyl sheeting, sewing it to a contrasting piece of fabric on the back, & then spraying the front with a clear coat that takes away some of the shine. Those pieces then get attached w/ brass furniture tacks like you see in fancy leather furniture. That way, the vinyl sheeting looks more like it actually belongs on the couch, rather than something I added on.

I'm almost done with the couch. But I need a staple gun to complete the project. And I don't want to spend money to buy one so I can use it for one project.  So, I asked Guy if I could borrow one from him. (Yes, Guy & I still talk. Story for another day.) I just wanted to borrow the gun, so I offered to pick it up & bring it back if he could loan me one. He asked why I needed one, I told him my plan, & he offered to come help me. I told him he didn't have to, but he said he wanted to & he'd bring 2 staple guns so we could get it done really quick. So next Saturday, he's coming over to help me finish it up.

I've got the cushions & seats done & the vinyl pieces are ready to be attached once it's time. I'm super excited about the way it's looking so far & really excited about how it will look when it's all done. It's going to look so awesome! And so much more affordable than buying a new couch.

Pictures of the project so far are included. I'll post a picture of the final project when it's all done!


  1. Hillary9:45 PM

    Nice job! This is not easy, it's one of the projects I'll probably never do again.

    If you happen to be in the cities, SR Harris in Brooklyn Park has good prices on fabric, including upholstery fabric for $7-$10/yard.