I apologize, the blogs have been few and far between because… well, because we’re just living in the house now, and things are going smoothly.
I am excited because I finally made the custom cushions that I had been envisioning for our Tiny House couch. You may have seen interior photos and noticed the hulking mass of a black futon mattress on our couch and wondered about my taste as a designer, and rightly so. That was a temporary solution until I could venture to the fabric district in L.A. and procure upholstery materials.
The back cushions are lower than the futon mattress, and the lighter color (a warm gray) makes the space so much bigger and brighter! And the lightweight cushions allow for easy access to the storage compartments under the couch.
I took enough photos to do a full-on how-to post on upholstery… but does anyone really care? (let me know if you do, and I’ll post them.) And it’s really been done before, just google it.
1. Materials: 4″ thick foam for seat, 3″ thick foam for back … batting for wrapping the foam (6 yards) … upholstery weight fabric (9 yards) … 4 zippers to make the covers removable and washable … Guterman thread. Thanks to the LA fabric district, I purchased all of my materials for $130, including the foam. It would have cost (at least) $480 to make these cushions using materials from Joann’s fabric store.
2. Tools: my trusty 1930’s Bernina sewing machine … dressmaker shears … embroidery scissors … loads of pins … an electric turkey carving knife (for cutting the foam to size) … spray mount adhesive for attaching the batting to the foam … and the use of my in-laws’ dining room table for three days … and a partridge in a pear tree.
I happened to choose THE most time-consuming method of making cushion covers. What can I say, I have good taste! It’s a box cushion with a zippered back panel with edge cording at the seams. In lieu of traditional cording I used folded strips of my fabric, and I like that look.
1. foam cushions: you would not believe how easy it is to cut foam with an electric turkey carving knife! it’s easier than cutting butter. Room temperature butter. seriously. this is a cut edge in the photo below:
2. Cut the fabric, including cutting and ironing the cording strips (I ripped all my fabric, as it’s a plain weave fabric. that was handy!)
3. Make zipper panels (google how to make upholstered cushions: DesignSponge has some great tutorials on zippered panels
4. Pin and sew the cording to the top and bottom flat panels
this project reminded me that sewing is as much pinning as it is actual sewing. I hate pinning. But it does help the final product look better, so I suffered through the monotony of it this time.
5. Pin the front and back panels to the bottom panel – sew. then pin the top panel to the side panels (an inside-out box) – sew. I used 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere. (make sure to leave the zipper partially unzipped, so you can turn your cover right-side out)
This is what the edging/cording will look like at the corners (above). Edging is not necessary, but it hides the seam and protects it from abrasive wear and tear, and makes the cushion look more tailored.
6. Sew the side panels together making a cool little pocket for the zipper
6. Turn covers right-side out and put on foam. (My pictures might be confusing because I’m using the backside of my fabric – the plain side. It has a silly floral print but it was the only natural fabric I could find in the gray color I wanted. And the salesman convinced me. So the flowers are the wrong side and are not seen.)
I am using “the trash bag trick” that my mother suggested. Makes it much easier to slip the cover over the foam. You pull the trash bag out of the open zipper after you get the cover slipped on.
The covers are slightly loose, which I am totally fine with because this will allow them to shrink when I wash them again. Or… I can put more batting or fleece in them to make them even softer.
Well, that was a quick how-to of making upholstered cushions. These took 3 days to make. Way longer than I had anticipated. But I feel like I saved at least $500 doing it myself.
Well, that’s it for now,
I will keep you posted on our next adventure with the Tiny House…. exciting stuff in the works.
stay tuned and take care.