Making Mid Century Sofa Cushions

I got this amazing couch (frame) off Craigslist.
And I took it on as a personal mission. My challenge was to make new cushions in a manner that was in keeping with the piece, but make it fresh. I set out on a hunt.

I needed:

  • foam
  • electirc carving knife (a way to cut the foam)
  • muslin (for liners)
  • zippers
  • cord (to make my own piping)
  • fabric. Period correct, beautiful fabric.

I would need a lot of fabric. How much? Oh, I don’t know, a quarter mile? Would that be enough? I could not tell. So, I set out to take measurements and see if I could nail it down.
Here is how that went.
The diagrams proved that I would need about 5 yards per section. (x2)
I made some trips to upholstery fabric retailers. Then I took a horse tranquilizer and restarted my heart after the initial sticker shock. There is a lot of beautiful fabric out there for $60 – 100/yard. That would make “the couch project” $600 – $1000 for the FABRIC ALONE. No wonder upholstering can get so expensive! Eeegads.

In the end, Jo Ann fabrics has a HUGE upholstery fabric selection, but it’s in the swatch book form. I found out you can take them home! You have to actually “buy” them for about $50 and then return them for a full refund. This is the best way to gauge what that color is going to look like at home. It might be the only way. And, this allows you to share the decision making with your spouse, if that is part of the program you are subscribing to.

We both really like the big bold patterns, but for a first project, this would not be super friendly or forgiving. Plus, I would need to buy yards more to match up a really bold graphic. So, we agreed on a thick weave blue called Baltic by Robert Allen. It is hard to capture the real texture and dimension of the color. I copied a couple of pictures from the web.

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Some of the threads are almost white and some are much brighter, almost turquoise.I ordered this when it was on sale AND I had a super dooper coupon for a % off my total purchase (regardless if it was on sale or not) So I got a whale of a deal in the end.

Tips so far:
Shop carefully.
Plot your fabric carefully.
Foam is not returnable or exchangeable. They are careful to tell you that in no uncertain terms when you are shopping. So that was nice to know. Scary? Yes. But very reassuring too, because now I know I am not buying “gently used” foam. Blech.
If you need/want your foam cut at the store, they will only cut it off the sheet. They will NOT make cuts for you. They will NOT let you borrow the electric knife to make your cuts on their table. (Good policy, really.) If you are going to undertake any kind of major project like this, I recommend investing in an electric carving knife. I have one from a garage sale and I could not be happier with it. So far I have cut the cushions and started to make muslin liners for them. Stay tuned. This is a big one!

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10 years ago by in Home , Needlecraft , Sewing | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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