This ready-made slipcover was cut down and re-sewn to fit the love seat. The cushions were slipcovered, too, and put on top of the slipcover creating a cleaner look, and I don't have to tuck and smooth each time I get up off the love seat!
Upstairs, in the attic's south gable is my 30-year old, diminutive love seat/futon. Its cushions fold out onto the floor to create a full bed-size sleeper. It was purchased at Pier I years ago and several homes ago. For most of its life, I've loved the somewhat Art Deco leaf-pattern but have now grown tired of its busy look.
In keeping with the Shabby/Chic look I'm going for in the rest of the attic's living spaces, I ordered a white cotton slipcover about a year ago to create a more serene look for this old love seat. I didn't feel that my sewing skills were up to the task of making my own slipcover, even after watching on-line, how-to videos.
Although several decades old, the love seat is in good shape. It doesn't sag. And, it's a comfy spot to read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, or gaze out the window upon farmers' fields and pastures and the mountain vistas beyond.
The slipcovered love seat, before my re-do, doesn't look too bad and is close (sort of) to the look I'm going for, but I hate the constant re-tucking I have to do each time I get up. This "before" look is more "shabby" than "chic" because the slipcover is too big for the small love seat.
My slipcover was made for a standard-size love seat which mine is not. Having lived with the bulky slipcover and the necessity of constantly smoothing, re-adjusting, and tucking I decided to put my meager sewing skills to the test and try to tailor it to fit better. This project was a scary one for me! If I messed up the slipcover I'd be out the money I paid for it. Plus, I'd have no slipcover and be back to my leaf pattern starting place! Still, I had to take the chance. Nothing ventured, nothing gained...right?
I decided to cover the seat cushions, too, in some more of the white cotton duck curtain panels I'd used to cover the cushions of the wicker furniture in another part of the attic (see photo below).
I used white cotton duck curtain panels to make the slipcovers for this attic sitting area and was pleased with this result. I had three panels left. It will take two of them for the love seat cushions.
The south gable with its love seat/futon is adjacent to the above sitting area and I wanted it to look as nice. I only needed to make that large slipcover somehow easier to live with and upgrade its look a bit.
So, I turned the slipcover wrong-side out and sat poised in front of it frozen in terror - with pinking shears in hand ready to cut -for over 30 minutes. Debating. Fearing. Dreading. I knew that the first cut would make or break my project. That first cut was rife with either success or failure. Finally, I made the cut!
The logical spot to start seemed to be along the seams where the excess fabric was gathered. So, I cut on both sides of each seam where the fabric was bunched, starting at the two seams where the sofa arms and back of the slipcover met. Also, the two sides and back part of the seat area had a gathering of excess fabric and I cut along there, too.
Once both edges of the seams had been cut I was able to trim away some of the excess fabric. I ended up with three pieces of fabric to sew back together. The two arm sections from floor to seat and the back section from floor to floor, front and back. I pinned these to fit along the area of the original seams. Pinning revealed more fabric that needed to be cut away. I was very cautious about removing excess fabric. I did it in stages until it was just right.
Then I carefully removed my pinned-together, trimmed slipcover and re-sewed new seams, minus the excess fabric which was now lying in a heap on the floor. I removed approximately one third of the slipcover in order to get rid of the excess fabric. I also had to remove the cotton ties at all four corners and relocate them to compensate for the fabric I'd cut away. The ties were a nice design feature that I wanted to keep.
Buried in this wad of fabric between the back and side arm of the love seat is a seam. Cutting away the excess fabric on both sides of the seam allowed me to re-pin and re-sew a new tailored seam. I did the same for the other arm and the seat area, too.
To compensate for all the fabric I removed, ties located at the four corners of the slipcover had to be removed and relocated. I covered the cushions by re-purposing two white cotton duck curtain panels that are a good match to the cotton slipcover. Putting the cushions on top of the slipcover creates a neater look, too. No more tucking and smoothing, either. And the cushion covers can be removed for laundering. Snaps and velcro closures at the back allow removal of the cushion covers for washing. I also had to re-hem the slipcover to make it even all the way around after my tailoring job.
I wanted to be able to remove the cushion covers for laundering. Because my love seat is also a futon I had to disconnect the cushions from the fold-out part of the futon by ripping those seams out.
I folded my curtain fabric (after cutting away its top, bottom, and side hems) over the top and bottom of each cushion. I sewed the sides, leaving the back part of the cover open, but sewing in tidy edges against unraveling. The front of the cushion covers have no seam because that is where I folded the fabric over. I turned the covers right side out, re-inserted the cushions, then tucked the front corners of both cushions into themselves along their sides to create a nice finish and stitched it closed (see the photo above).
I didn't have zippers in my notions drawer - and it would have taken special long upholstery zippers to create the back closures for the cushions. I'm a miserable failure at sewing in zippers and will go to great lengths to avoid using them. So, I contrived an eclectic closure using a couple of snaps and some velcro for each cushion back.
My love seat no longer functions as a futon but I'm very pleased with the resulting look - a less shabby, more chic, slipcovered piece of furniture whose new, more tailored look I love!
I'm so relieved that my tailoring of the slipcover worked! The look is what I was hoping to achieve...and there are a few minor imperfections - most of which are hidden beneath the seat cushions where my tailoring left a pucker here, a pucker there. Not a professional tailoring job, at all! Still, it looks very good.
What I learned from this project:
1. Leave ample room in the slipcover behind and to both sides of where the seat cushions slide into place to allow them to fit all the way into the back of the sofa. I had to pick out my first seam and re-sew it to allow for this. It was a loooong seam, too. The longest seam of all, and it took quite a long while to pick out all those tiny machined stitches.
2. Use a basting stitch to sew the seams the first time. It makes it much easier to remove them if they aren't quite right. Then, if they are right you can re-sew over the basted stitches using a regular machine stitch.
3. Be prepared to apply and remove the slipcover - often - as you work with, fit it, pin and re-pin, and tailor it.
4. This is a project that has to be taken step by step, fitting by fitting. There is no "fit-all" pattern! Your couch or sofa provides its own unique pattern via its shape and form.
5. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! Having deconstructed a slipcover, I'm now intimately familiar with how they're made and I believe I could now make one from scratch.
6. If I ever do make one from scratch (I do have a standard-size love seat downstairs!), I would purchase cheap, used sheets from a thrift store - launder them - then use them to create a pattern before committing scissors to an expensive piece of extra-wide upholstery fabric. Then, using my sheet-pattern as a guide, I would cut the purchased fabric and have a fairly good expectation of not ruining it.
Used curtain panels are simply not wide enough or long enough to slipcover a sofa or couch, although they work great on the cushions! Upholstery fabric is expensive, even if purchased on sale. One might be able to re-dux bedspreads or matlisse coverlets to make slipcovers and save money!
Ahhhh. The finished south gable!
A plain, white ceramic lamp with its equally plain shade are dressed up by wrapping and pinning a Battenburg-style lace runner to the lampshade. A white satin ribbon is tied around it and an old ceramic floral pin adds a decorative accent.
The two floral pillows were made to look faded and vintage by sewing them so the fabric is wrong-side out! The right side of the fabric was too new looking, boldly-colored, and garish. The wrong side was just right! The gold pillow, barely showing behind was made from a gold-colored, brocade curtain that used to hang at the south gable window.
I've finished this project and cleaned up the sewing area, and cleaned and oiled the machine and put on its cover. I think I'll take a rest from my upstairs projects for a few days and concentrate on what's going on in the garden. Things are happening out there! And, I don't want to miss any of Springtime's stages of growth and bloom.
I have one more area upstairs to do - the east gable which contains a large, leather chair, my seldom-watched TV, and a spot where I do yoga. The leather chair, too, has a white cotton slipcover that needs tailoring! Yaargh!!! Then, the entire upstairs will have been redecorated in its new, fresh Shabby-Chic style! However, a much-needed break for me is in order.
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Abundance is...tackling something you didn't think you could do...and succeeding!