Sunday, May 18, 2014

Katie and Hayden get a couch

Katie and Hayden may be hung up in the intricacies of the U.S. Postal System, but they will at least come home to a comfortable couch.

The couch frame is a shoebox that the cat had not yet commandeered for napping. I looked up sofa dimensions to get the seat depth -- 28", which comes out to 3-1/2" [which I woke up at 4 a.m. and realized was 1:8 , not 1:6, dammit] -- and then somewhat randomly picked 1-1/2" for the arm height and 2-1/4" for the back height. The seat sticks out slightly further than the arms because the shoebox construction had its side flaps meeting in a way where a bit of cardboard fell off unless I simply cut the arm back further.

Note to self: a box cutter will not cut boxes. I cut all of this with my cheap, ten-year-old IKEA scissors, feeling the rivet loosening as I went.

The frame is going to be covered in black leather-look contact paper from Home Depot. I worked out how to make do it all in one piece with minimal visible seams, then I worked it out again when the first way had some mistakes. The result looks as if Batman has been flayed.

Here we go, trying to wrap things over other things!

The result is slightly bubblier than I'd like, even with aggressive smoothing, and there's a bit in the corner that I filled in with black indelible marker. However, it does look more-or-less like a mid-century modern leather sofa.

The legs are beads from SAS Fabrics, which is also the place to go if you ever wake up in the morning with a sudden urge to sew outfits for an entire quincea├▒era from scratch. They are hot-glued on. There are six because this couch design promises to sag in the middle.

Now it's fabric-cutting time. This is actual African mud cloth from Africa, also by way of SAS Fabrics. I allowed half an inch for a seam allowance, plus a bit more for "loft" in the stuffed seat and back cushions, and basically calculated wrong (I forgot I had only one seam allowance on the long side of each pillow) but got away with it. I did have the sense to try to center the design on the largest cushions.

Here's an experimental cushion for the sofa arms. It has been sewn and had its seam edges pinked to reduce bulk. One of the few things I remember from seventh-grade Home Ec is to reinforce the beginnings and endings of seams by sewing over them backwards. Although these pillows won't be getting hard wear, I have been careful with reinforcements because I will be poking at the corners with a sharp stick.

Speaking of which... let's try turning the cushion right side out!

Success! I later poked into the corners more aggressively, to make them more corner-like.

Some time later, we have a seat cushion, two back cushions, two arm cushions, three big accent pillows (cut 3" x 3") and two little accent pillows (cut 2" x 2"). The accent pillows, cut from Walmart fat quarters, happened because the actual sewing part goes so quickly that it's irresistibly tempting to make a few more pillows while one's at it.

These pillows then all have to be turned (I finally dug out a chop stick, which is satisfying sharp for poking the corners), stuffed by the tedious method of shoving shreds of quilt batting into them with said chop stick, and whip-stitched closed. Lacking television, I have determined it is possible to read while doing the chop stick parts.

And here it is! Not one cushion is really straight, but it does look very comfortable.

Items required:
  • Shoebox (free with shoes)
  • Contact paper ($7.97 for massive amounts -- I can do an entire living room suite and use the extra for real-life storage boxes)
  • Beads for feet (25 cents each)
  • Fabric ($3.99/yard for my mud cloth plus 99 cents for two fat quarters -- in all cases, I have lots more fabric for later)
  • Batting (I bought the cheapest low-loft quilter's batting at Walmart for maybe $2.99 and have enough to bat the whole house)

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