I finally did it….. Finished covering the couch. My husband and his Greeeaaaat Uncle Mal made it to fit our space exactly. it has storage draws and custom made compartments designed to fit my sewing machines, it also has a hand shelves built in behind just perfect for a cuppa, few books and a bunch of flowers. My task was to create the comfortable seating.
There is a step by step how to at the bottom of the post.
It took me a while to order the foam, it was so expensive, I finally found this fantastic company The Foam Shop they are reasonable and incredibly helpful. Their website is a bit “busy” but if you phone or email they will talk you through the best options for you and their website is being updated as I type.
To cover the foam I mainly used up cycled fabrics. I played around with what was in my stash along with some ikea fabric (the birds) which I was determined to include. Once I was happy with the colours and patterns I started to cut.
The fabric consisted of lots of cord, left over from trouser making sessions about 10 years ago, some vintage fabric donated by my friend from her grans stash, some ikea fabric (the birds), a throw from my mother-in-law (dyed with chalk paint), a couple of old sofa cushions and finally some curtains which have been in nearly every house I lived in growing up.
A lot of these pieces were already in random sizes so I cut them into rough rectangles, using my cutting board to keep the lines and angles straight. (I did iron the fabric too, honest) My cats decided to “help” with this. Where there is fabric there is cats…
I had ordered the foam to exactly fit the seats with a Dacron wrap to “puff” it up a bit and add an extra layer of comfort. The idea with any cushion cover is to make it a fraction smaller than the cushion so the cover is filled nicely. So I made my piece of patchwork the size of the foam with no seam allowances. I made the patchwork to wrap around the front and to be zipped at the back. For the side pieces (again the size of the foam) I cut one piece of fabric to keep it simple.
I started the patchwork by playing with the sizes and colour. I thought it would be fun to have totally random sized pieces next to each other. Wrong! this made for a ton more work and not very neat seams. I found that if I sewed equal width pieces together in strips, then pieced the strips together it worked best for me. You can alternate the direction the strips are going in to add to the random ecleclectic look. I didn’t plan these out at all in advance except to divide the bird pieces I loved between each cushion. I just kept sewing till I had nearly the width I needed and the length I needed. I was conscious as I worked of which part would be the top and which the bottom. When I nearly had enough I cut one piece (the old throw) the entire length of the cushion as I felt the would be easier to sew the zip into and would never be on view. I also cut the side panels out of this fabric (again to fit the foam size before Dacron was added).
I attached the patchwork to the side panels centering up the patchwork piece at the far end of the side panel. I then sewed in the zip (I bought a continuous zip from my local sewing shop), the longer zip you use the easier it is to remove the covers for washing. I bought up all the zip they had left in my local shop and divided it between two of my covers as well as reusing a zip from an old cushion. If your zip doesn’t go the whole length I would suggest placing it closer to one end then the other for ease of use. if I were to do this again I would probably attach the zip around one corner and as far down the long end as possible. These covers are a real pig to get on and off as my zips were not as long as I would like.
The final step I took was to spray with scotch guard as the first cushion cover I made was used straight away while I made the others and thanks to my dog, cats and children was a slightly different shade by the time the second cover was finished. If you do this make sure you spray outside.
1. Measure the couch space, and decide how many cushions/ what style you would like. I decided to go for a kind of Ercol look with a minimal number of cushions and smooth lines as the patchwork was going to be busy enough. (my measurements were: Cushion A – 12.5cm high by 76cm deep and 184cm long Cushion B – 12.5cm high by 66cm deep and 194cm long Cushion C – 39cm high by 10cm deep and 241cm long Cushion D – 10cm high by 10cm deep and 194cm long
2. Choose fabric, make sure it is appropriate for your sofa. ehow has a good article on appropriate fabrics. Make sure you have enough to cover all around the cushions and the sides. i.e. 2X depth plus 2X (height -2.5) by length to wrap round the cushion and 2 side pieces height by depth. So for Cushion A I needed [2×76 (153) plus 2×10 (20) = ] 172cm x 184cm and 2 pieces 10cmx76cm.
3. Cut your fabrics into rectangles, I suggest keeping the width to a couple of regular sizes fort easy piecing. I kind of made it up as I went along but you could plan it in advance and there are many patchwork sites and tools for doing this.
4. Sew your fabric together in strips to make one large patchwork piece to wrap around the cushion.
5. Join strips together I built it up as I went along, with strips of two or three fabrics at a time as I wanted to play with the patterns and textures and worked it out as I went. You could plan the placement in advance which would make the whole piecing process much, much quicker.
6. When you have your piece to wrap round the cushion (e.g my 172cm by 184cm from cushion A) sew the side pieces on. I lined up the middle of the side of the patchwork piece with the middle of the side of the side piece rights sides facing and sewed them together.
7. Insert the zip and finish the back seam. Turn right side out and your cushion is done.
8. Optional and depending on your fabric spray with scotch guard.