Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Revamping my Sofa

Our flat in Battersea is my man and I's first home together after graduating from university, and as such is full of inherited, bargain and the owner's furniture. We've had 'new' sofas in our flat freshly inherited from a house move, for more than a year now; but hadn't really got around to updating them and making them more personal. The sofa itself is pretty comfy but the cushions were looking old and saggy, and frankly just a bit boring.

Sofa before

Upholstery fabric
I went shopping for cushions, online, in the shops, even on ebay, but any with an interesting pattern that I liked were just too expensive. So I decided to make my own envelope-style covers, and recycle our old cushion pads.
The fabric I used is all upholstery weight cotton, which is best for cushions that are going to be well used rather than throw pillows just for decoration. I bought all my fabric from Fabric Galore near Clapham Junction/Queenstown Road. This was my first time visiting my local fabric shop, and it is AMAZING. In particular they have a great range of upholstery cotton with lovely patterns.
I bought enough fabric to make 3 of the red spotty cushions, 1 each of the large clock and stamp styles and some linen for my embroidered London cushion. All this cost less than £50 for 6 new cushion covers, with a lot of leftover scraps for other projects.

Making an envelope cushion cover is really straightforward, there's no need for zips or buttons, and it's easy enough to do without a sewing machine. Obviously if you have a machine it's a lot quicker, but I did one cushion a night quite easily by hand sewing. Use a backstitch and take care to keep the stitches small. I don't have any photos of the process I'm afraid, but there are some great tutorial videos on YouTube.

  • Cut out a square for the front of your cushion that is 1 inch larger around than your cushion pad. So if the cushion is 14" by 14" then it should be 15" by 15". 
  • Then cut another piece of fabric that is the same width but add 4 inches to the length for the overlap. So it would be 15" by 19". You may want to add more for the overlap for very thick cushion pads, or particularly large ones. 
  • Cut the larger piece of fabric in half. With the two pieces wrong side up, fold over a strip of about 1/2 inch for a seam along the inner edges and iron. Pin and then sew along the inner fold. 
  • Place the front piece of your cushion in front of you with the right side up. Place one half of the back piece on top, right side down with the seam in the middle. Put the other half on top so they overlap and line up the edges with the front piece. 
  • Pin the pieces together and sew all around 1/2 inch from the edge. 
  • Cut any long threads and across the corners, close to the stitch line. Turn inside out, poke out the corners and insert your cushion pad!

I also made a couple of knitted cushion pads using this pattern Four Cables Pillow. I couldn't get hold of 10mm circular needles anywhere, so I knitted straight in two sections. If you do this don't forget to do the opposite on the even rows, so knit when it says purl etc.
I also added an extra stitch at the beginning and end of each side for the join. The pattern says it would fit a cushion of 40cm by 40cm which is roughly 16", but mine was way too small for that and fitted nicely around a 12" by 12" pad.

So... here is my finished revamped sofa, complete with throws and lots of new cushions!

My Revamped Sofa

Making new cushion covers was a really easy way of adding some colour and interest to my sofa and living room. This was also my first sewing project, hopefully of many, and I really loved it despite having to sew every stitch by hand! Although I have an inkling the birthday fairies might bring me a shiny machine for my birthday in the summer...

Emily Kate.

1 comment:

  1. The new throw pillows gave your sofa a new look! It is good that you were not afraid to mix colors. Its so vibrant and interesting


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