Thursday, May 29, 2014

How to Recover Your Couches Amateur Style (part 1)

I haven't blogged since...oh, look at that picture of Easton up there.  I haven't blogged since he was that old.  Crazy.  Since then I've had a new kid...also crazy.  I had a friend request a how-to on how I've recovered my couches, so I decided to dust this old blog off and write one (or a few) up.  Since that new baby doesn't have any shout outs, I'll let her (and her brother) demonstrate my new couch covers.

Adorable, right? But back to the couches.  A few years ago our couches looked like this.

Not good.  We were given these couches by my aunt and uncle when we got married.  They are super well made and crazy comfortable, but they were looking well loved.  I wanted a change in the look (the flower pattern was pretty dated) but we were so attached to the quality of the couches and we knew that our budget wouldn't allow us to replace them with equally nice couches at that point in our lives (I had just started staying home with Easton).  So I decided to give recovering them a chance. 
I am going to do a few posts about this so I will start with the preliminary stuff here.
Let me preface this by saying I am a self-taught sewer (I can't even use the word seamstress).  I got a sewing machine for Christmas in 2009 and learned how to sew a straight line.  I have sewn curtains, pillows, crib skirts, nursing covers, and other super simple things like that.  Everything I learned I have learned from the internet.
I started by watching/reading a few tutorials. This one gave me the idea and then these videos were super helpful.  I also googled how to sew piping. I have a very "I can figure it out once I get started" type of personality, so I decided just to go for it.  I essentially made very well fitted, custom, removable, washable (can I get an amen from the mommas?) slipcovers.
I decided to go with thick white canvas material from Hobby Lobby for a few reasons.  It's super durable, soft, easy to work with, and CHEAP compared to true upholstery.  It was $9.99 a yard but no one ever enters Hobby Lobby without a 40% off coupon in tow so it was more like $6 a yard.  I chose white because A) I LOVE white and B) white means it is super bleach-able.  I have had the couches covered for almost 2 years and have yet to have a stain that doesn't wash out.  They have held up fantastically.
Our wide chair took 7 yards, the love seat was surprisingly about the same, and the couch took around 10 yards.  I also bought the cord for my piping at hobby lobby. 
In addition to fabric and cording, I also bought heavy needles (the canvas is pretty thick and you will be sewing through 4 -5 layers of it at points) and heavy thread.  My covers Velcro in the back to close and are also attached to the bottom of our couches with Velcro.  Joann's sells Velcro by the yard so I hit them up with a coupon after measuring how much each couch would need.

(check out that flower pattern living under there...bless its heart)

(this is the underside of our ottoman)
Before you start, make sure you have tons of pins and tons of patience.  I got REALLY fast by the third couch but the first two took me several hours a day for almost a week.  The tips of my fingers hurt just thinking about how many times I stabbed them with pins in the late night hours while my baby slept away.
In the end, the couches cost us under $300 and some blood from my fingertips.  I'd say that's a win because an Ikea couch is around the same price but not nearly as comfortable. 
Stay up: piping and fabric prep!


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