What to do with an ugly sofa? Part I -supplies and where to get them

I meant to write sooner, but I’ve been sick.  😦  Today I slept in again and awoke feeling quite a bit better, so here I am.  (Actually, I began writing this a couple of weeks ago and am posting now that I finished the post.)   I had some normal cleaning to do, like vacuuming, and one thing led to another until I’d organised a very messy (embarrassing) closet and made the living room look a little better.  The closet project was very satisfying and was due to seeing a box of Space Bags at Costco.  I used all of them and shrunk my hoarded linen pile into comparative nothingness.  Yay!  It also eases my concerns somewhat about bedbugs in the building, because Do Not Want!  Anyway, I’ve mentioned an upholstering project that I plan to write about in the coming weeks, so here it begins…

A few years ago I was at the Salvation Army thrift store on half off day, and I saw a great vintage sofa.  It was mid-century-ish with a sleek wooden frame and rather ridiculously was upholstered in a pale blue brocade featuring some sort of blossoms.  (My mother loved the fabric.)  I’ll have to try to dig up photos.  Anyway, wooden frame sofas really appeal to me, and I figured I could re-upholster it.  Myself.  After all I was able to buy it for only $50, and surely upholstering wasn’t *too* hard, right?  Soon I’d bought some supplies, a book or two and tackled it.

It didn’t go too badly although there was a big mess for a while.  The only trouble is that one of my cats is really, really dumb… and she peed on it a few times to protest being left alone too much while I dated my husband.  Ugh!  Now all that work was ruined when the only things left to complete had been the pillow covers and part of the seat cushion covers.  :cries:

My solution for a while, which turned into more than two years, was to remove the cushion batting, wrap the foam in heavy duty trash bags, seal it with tape, and pin a heavy blanket around them as a sofa cover.  It worked very well, but it sucked.  😀

These two years I’ve wanted to re-reupholster the sofa, but my husband didn’t seem bothered by it and wouldn’t agree to fabric and foam as suitable holiday gifts to me.  This year I finally talked him into it, and the pain of having to redo the work has faded too.  My birthday was in November, I have finished sourcing my supplies, and I need to tackle the project before we move (in less than a month?)  In December I purchased new seat foam and wrapped it temporarily with a smaller throw blanket.  The new foam was a joy to sit on compared to the old worn out stuff, and my husband seemed to be happier about the project.

First things first: supplies and suppliers

For this project I knew I wanted to use heavy grey or natural greyish linen fabric.  Last time I tried velvet, and it is of course a cat fur magnet.  It also is trickier to work with due to the direction of the nap, and it requires more yardage.  I ordered a pretty dark grey swatch from a wonderful seller on eBay, but the fabric was too thin for a sofa.  The reason I mention them is that their customer service was excellent, and when the swatch didn’t work out they sent me other options at their own expense.  I feel bad for not ending up buying from them, so here is a shout-out instead.  😉

I did a little research and found several mentions that the Warsa linen line from Gray Line is suitable for sofas and chairs.  I had a colour card of their Judy linen since I use it a lot in clothing, but Warsa has fewer to choose from.  When I finally made it to the store last week the only colour that came close to what I wanted was “dark wheat,” and I bought 16yds.  I’m pretty sure that is enough.  I hope so and know I used less last time, but I’m covering more pillows this time around.  I almost bought extra for a round loveseat thing that I might want to match, but I can always go back for more.  Anyway, if I ever buy so much again I’m looking into the shipping cost, because lugging the heavy bolt home via the subway was awful!!

The cushion foam I wanted was 24×84″ and 4″ thick.  You may not know this, but aside from the fabric the most expensive item you may need for an upholstery project is likely the cushion foam.  Bigger pieces are pretty insane!  (Normally upholstery fabric can be 15$ a yard and goes up to hundreds or more, depending, but you can be thriftier with effort.)  In this case I could have spent more on the foam than fabric!  You don’t always have to buy new foam, but I sure had to.  First I planned to use diyupholsterysupply, but it was soooo much money that I shopped around first.  Joann’s often has coupons, so that was an option, but they didn’t quite have the size I needed.  I actually ended up purchasing it on Amazon even though it wasn’t a prime item and there weren’t many reviews or clues about the quality.  The foam turned out to be perfect and something like 50$ less than diyupholsterysupply.  (Gawd, from now on I’m writing DIY instead, because that is so unwieldily.)

I did order other things from DIY such as cambric for finishing off the bottom of the sofa, muslin to pre-upholster with, and seat decking.  From Joann’s I bought a roll of upholstery zippers and batting.  They didn’t have the invisible zippers I needed, so I purchased them in the city at Pacific.  I already have a staple gun, a roll of tack strip, a tack puller, thread, hot glue, and foam adhesive.  I’m not sure if I’ll end up using cording, but if I do I have a whole reel of it from last time.  As a note on the staple gun, if you will be doing a large item or many over time then try to get one that is air operated as long as you can use a compressor.  Living in an apartment building I couldn’t.

Alright, it is time for me to actually go work on this instead of writing about it!

Just a note, I have decided to give links to products that I use or stores that I mention.  At this point I am writing for myself and not encouraged, paid, or compensated for anything on this blog although it would be cool to become an Amazon affiliate or something eventually.  Anyway, I wanted to link to certain things and figure I better link to anything mentioned, wherever it is online, although it looks kind of weird and commercial . 

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