I backed up all my posts to another site recently, and in doing so, I saw a couple of reviews of projects that I had done that still make me laugh or otherwise tickle my fancy. Since I’m too busy getting ready for my next recital (next Thursday at 12:30 at Tufts University’s Goddard Chapel, if you’re in the Boston area), here’s something to tide you over until I have time to be pithy again.
Couch Slipcover Project, posted on 9/3/03
Pattern Rating: Difficult, but ended up with good results
Here’s the short version. This slipcover took 3 days and 17 yards of fabric to make. The cushion back has 3 main pieces, attached to sides and a deck. There is a poufy arm, and I pleated the sides to fit. The back is cut from 1 complete width of the fabric (54″ wide) with small end pieces (10″ wide each). There are 3 cushions. I made the cushion covers from a single piece of fabric for the top, front and bottom, attached to side pieces, with a zippered back panel. I made this slipcover from upholstery fabric I bought at Fabric Fix in NH. Would I make it again? Read on…
The long version
Oy vey ist mir! And that from an Irish girl! This is one of those, “What on God’s green earth was I thinking?” projects.
So here is the story. Last spring (as my DH has been fond of reminding me), we went to Fabric Fix -by the way, it’s called Fabric Fix for a reason – and he said, “You know, the couch in the family room is looking pretty beat. Can you slipcover it?” I was busy drooling over some beautiful embroidered silk and muttered something unintelligible that he interpreted as “yes”. So when he asked me how much material we needed, I said “Huh?”.
“You remember, hon, the couch?”
“What about the couch?”
“How much does it take to slipcover it?”
“17 yards, why?”
Next thing I know, a BIG bolt of fabric is being loaded into the truck and I am being dragged physically away from my silk. But don’t worry, I snuck up the next week and bought 3 yards, which will get reviewed as something or another at some point in the future. The bolt takes up its place of prominence in my sewing room.
Ignore, ignore, ignore. “Sweetie darling, can you please move this very large bolt of fabric?”
Ignore some more. Time passes. Couch is even more beat. DH is looking at me funny whenever I emerge from the sewing room with a cool new purse, dress, jacket, shirt, whatever. Grumble.
Good news! There’s a stash reduction contest! Time to do the couch!!! Couch by now is extremely beat. Major holes in the cushions; needs Febreeze bad (naughty dog, stay off the couch! Why did we get a Labrador Retriever in the first place?).
I have never made a slipcover. I am really good at apparel construction, but I have no illusions about my abilities in home-dec. When I used to work full time in high-tech, home dec was something I hired folks to do. It took other skills and more space than I had. But time and people change, and so…
Day 1. Contemplate. Look at couch, look at fabric. Okay, this is not my usual, “I see the fabric in 3 dimensions on a human body.” This is a couch. As a side note, a voice teacher once told me “Honey, every once in a while, you have to teach a couch.” – this is my couch, but it’s not here for a lesson. Grim, very grim.
Day 1 1/2. This baby is not going to cover itself. I decide to take the shears in hand and start cutting. It’s only fabric, after all. I cut out the back, the cushions, and the deck of the sofa. Hey! This is all straight lines! The cushions only need 4 seams and a zipper! This is cool!
Day 2. Sew straight lines, lots of straight lines! Whoa… what’s this bump? There are no bumps like this on the human body, not even mine! Alright, meditate, breathe deep. DH is looking at me funny again and says I’m getting that look in my eye I get before I go down a particularly terrifying double diamond ski slope. I’m going to beat this. I am NOT giving in! … I think I’ll make DS a bathrobe!
Day 3. Both DS’s are back to school now, no excuse. Alright, what is with these bumps? By the way, many expletives are being deleted, to keep this blog family-friendly. Alright, you know what? We’re draping here. Drape, sew, drape, sew. Try it on for size, then pin and drape some more. This is not so bad. A few pleats here, a few pleats there. Keep the thread clippers handy because, even though it fits perfectly with this seam attached, I need about an inch when I want to attach it to THAT seam. A little slow going, but by the time DYS gets home from kindergarten, he can sit on it (I hope I got all the pins out!).
Day 3 1/2. All seams are sewn, and I had to pinch and pleat the bizarre bumps. I’m sure that someone with home-dec experience is laughing their kiester off at me right now, but it doesn’t look terrible. A tuck here and a tuck there. Man, now I know how plastic surgeons feel! If that’s how plastic surgeons feel, remind me never to get a facelift. I added a skirt at the bottom, which compensates for a multitude of sins. Remind me to ask prospective plastic surgeons about skirts… But I digress.
The good news? DH came home from “work” (like what I do isn’t!)
“Wow! that looks great! I can’t believe it only took you three days. I thought it would take about a month!”
I feel good!
As an aside, the couch lasted another two years, until the Labrador Retriever, Otto, passed away at the ripe old age of 14