Jul 9, 2011

Ottoman makeover

After we moved in the house in November, long inspired by numerous DIY blogs, I bought a pair of ottomans from the Salvation Army for $10 each, thinking I'd make them over.  Easier thought than done, apparently.  Damn those blogs... why must they make everything look so easy?!  They really need to put warnings that "projects on blogs are harder than they appear" or something like that.

Anyway, I managed to strip one of them, remove most of the staples, stepped on one of said staples, found an excuse to take a (long, loooong) break, got nagged by T for not finishing up the project, and finally a few months later (this past weekend) got around to stripping the other one.  Gah!   It's not any easier the second time around, and it still took me 3+ hours and a blister to remove the staples, despite the shortcuts (no staple-stepping this time though).

Thankfully by now I had bought all the supplies (foam, batting, fabric, plywood support, staple gun, furniture legs), so this time I was actually able to put things together to finish!

In 2 days, I went from this:

To this:

Times two!

My ikea-filled living room!  Much better with the new ottomans!  To improve the sense of balance and an excuse to buy more furniture, get a second white chair!  Oh, the red couch will be slipcovered white (next project!), and the black side table will probably go elsewhere, and the blah of a rug will be replaced with a flokati / shag type (much to T's chagrin, but I'm the one that keeps the house, so what I say goes) for more glamour.

Quite a few mistakes were encountered through this project, such as:
  • 2" foam being too thin (get at least 3" foam for seating, and high-density foam is recommended).  I improvised by putting a 1/4" plywood underneath the foam so the sitter doesn't feel the slats that support the seat. 
  • I was planning to add a 1" high-density foam in the future for added comfort, but despite the hefty hem allowance, my fabric turned out to be too short as it is.  The hem was supposed to be stapled down to the frame, and it's just barely long enough as a slipcover.
  • Fit allowance almost wasn't enough.  I added only 1/8 allowance to the width/length for a tight fit, thinking the batting would be squashed down to nothing.  I was kind of right, except that it was so tight that some of the stitching ripped as I struggled to pull down the cover.  Apparently it could have been prevented by pulling down each corner bit by bit so the hem is almost at the same level at all time.
  • Not using upholstery thread.  Well, technically it's not a mistake yet since no stitching has unraveled from usage (knock on wood!), but I would recommend using upholstery threads for home sewing projects, as there is more usage and abusage to furniture than to clothes. 
All in all, it went well, and while this was a pretty basic makeover job, the sense of accomplishment is tremendous.  On to the next one!  Don't hold your breath though.  :D

Linking up to:
The DIY Show Off


  1. Awesome job! I really like the fabric you chose.

  2. I love the fabric you picked.