Monday, March 2, 2015

Quatrefoil Couch Upholstery

Alright, I finished this couch quite some time ago and have put off blogging about it for long enough. I'm super happy with how it turned out, writing about it is just such a long process and I'm always worried that I add in details that no one but me care about. So heads up, this will be a long story with lots of pictures.

 This couch started with a completely different couch. A friend of mine found a couch, with a matching chair that looked a lot like this. We were both in love with the potential and though completely out of my experience we were convinced we could do it. So we borrowed a truck and made an appointment to pick it up and then we got there and we were stood up. The person apologized and wanted us to come back but by then I'd lost all momentum. I'd also started to look into how much covered buttons would cost (between the two pieces there were hundreds of them!) and it was going to be a lot. I was also pretty concerned with what we would find under the fabric since they're so old. In the end, and I'm sure it was for the best, we passed on the furniture.

I felt bad though and wanted a couch for my friend so when I came across this one, also for free and I knew I'd found a winner.

I am aware that it's super ugly. But here's what I imagined the finished piece looking sort of like.
This one obviously isn't my photo. I should credit the original site but I can't remember where I found it. We decided to not use piping so mine doesn't look quite as crisp as this one but no piping was the way to go. Just a little bit better hey?

So one more time, here's the original couch, sad and droopy.

And how I transformed it.

Now let's get down to details, starting with fabric. I like to order from They have such and incredible selection at prices no where close to what I can find in Canada. Shipping to me is really expensive but I ship it to the states and have family pick it up for me. It takes longer to get to me but saves me at least $50. So we spent a lot of time on fabric choice, finally picked one and here's what it looked like. Cute hey?
I was horrified. I had messed up. The fabric was gorgeous but wasn't upholstery weight at all. It wasn't wide, it was just a basic cotton and could not be used for upholstery. So here's my final plug for, they have a 30 money back guarantee. You send it back (at no extra cost) and they'll refund it. So I was much more careful and my friend and I ordered a similar fabric that I think was a much classier choice.

Once the proper fabric came it was time to make some box cushions. I like to make them first so when I'm done upholstering the couch I am actually finished, not just starting on cushions. I knew I hated the look of the four cushions on the back of the couch and my Mom happened to have some foam I could replace them with so I created a cardboard template and used that to cut two new cushions. Then I wrapped new batting around the old cushions, it made them seem brand new.

So I made the best box cushions I've ever made, lined up the pattern, they were perfect the very first time (I should have known it was too good to be true).

The main challenge with this couch was the importance of lining up the fabric so each piece continues onto the next. Here's the bottom cushions, the first ones I sewed and I about fell over when I saw how great they turned out.

Look at those sleek zippers and how the patterns continues from one panel to the other.

And then the back cushions. Everything was moving along so smoothly and dreamy.

Brad and I hauled the couch inside  but I wasn't willing to put these beautiful cushions on a disgusting couch so I threw some sheets over the base and tried them out. I didn't take a pictures with both of them on the couch so you'll have to use your imagination.

They were perhaps a little tall but perfect otherwise, or so I thought until I sat on them. That new foam was so hard! The couch wasn't going to be comfortable at all. I really couldn't leave it like that so I took the old cushions and glued them together to make two large cushions instead of four small. Then I wrapped them with batting and they were a pretty good fit. So I took apart my first covers, cut new ones, sewed them, put them on and somehow they were way too small. I had super compressed them and now they were too small for the couch. I took them apart again, cut and sewed new covers again and sighed, because this time they fit. They're perhaps a hair too big but I was too afraid to make them smaller.

Luckily this couch needs lots of strips of fabric and I was able to use almost all of those scraps so I didn't end up wasting as much as I initially thought (make sure you notice the pattern matching on those back cushions :).

Finally done with the cushions it was time for the base. Staples were removed and I stripped it down.

Not surprisingly it was disgusting and I ended up throwing away all the old padding. I posted this pictures on Facebook and I loved my friend Jane's comment, "Every time I think you've bit off more than you can chew... Can't wait to see the reveal!" I got a good chuckle out of that.

This couch was interesting though. The nasty fabric on the bottom couldn't easily be removed, it was hooked to the springs and I was not messing around with that so I vacuumed it really well and I left it where it was. I hand stitched the foam to the fabric to keep it in place, then I stretched nice new fabric over top.

Also, this couch is extra long so the foam I used wasn't long enough so I also hand stitched that together. You can see the seam on the left there on the back and the front but the two sides came together surprising seamless, I also stapled it at the bottom to hold it all in place.

I didn't want the foam on the arms to look puckery so that also got some quick stitching.
And at this point it was a couch I'd actually let my daughter sit on .

I added a layer of batting to the arms to make them extra puffy and then the pieces went on one by one until it was all done (the buttons were finished a little later).

My favourite is the contrasting piping and that piece on the front and how well the pattern matches, this picture is my favourite.

The original couch had ugly gold wheels for legs and they got swapped out for these simple wood ones.
How about a side by side before and after.

And some with the cute buttons after it was moved to it's new home. 

There is a matching chair for this couch so I had planned to cover that in the same fabric but instead we've decided to toss the chair and add two wing back chairs in a co-ordinating fabric to complete the set so you can look forward to those in the future.

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SandyQuilts said...


Bob Ward said...

Well done upcycling the couch, particularly the padding. They look very neat and consistent. I think the hardest part of couch-making is putting all those pads, because you need to stack and align them to create a smooth surface. Just holding them in place while stitching must’ve taken a lot of energy.

Bob Ward @ Allure Window Treatments