Back when we were doing the demo work in the trailer Zac had ripped out the jack knife sofa and kick plate, dinette seat cushions, and everything that went along with them. There was also a few pieces on the back of the dinette that were covered in fabric to match the dinette. Our initial plan was to have everything professionally reupholstered in a modern fabric, and have it all match. Sounds good right? Then we started getting quotes. This plan was proving as futile as my floor edging in the last post. We’re not just talking about fabric, we wanted new foam as well because the cushions were 21 years old, sun rotted slightly, smelled like smoke, and were full of dust. Our daughter has bad allergies so we knew the old cushions were a recipe for disaster. Here’s a reminder picture of how dated the old sofa and dinette was.
We were quoted $700 for new foam and fabric on the jack knife sofa alone, and another $400 for foam and fabric for the dinette cushions. Say what? And this was from multiple companies, so we knew professional re-upholstery was not going to be an option. My frugal shopping skill set was now in full-blown research mode.
I scoured the internet and happened upon a set of brand new dinette cushions on Ebay from an RV overstock supply warehouse. Perfect! So I snatched those up for $150. Some friends of ours were in the market for new dinette cushions too and couldn’t believe we had found them on Ebay for such a great price. They were now scouring Ebay for cushions for their own trailer.
Our plan to have everything match was not going to happen, as the jack knife sofa was going to be a problem. The price for reupholstering the sofa was more than the price of a brand new jack knife sofa! But then you have to pay freight shipping so that was not an option either. To buy the commercial fabric that was on the dinette cushions was pricey and I needed a lot of it, so on to plan B. Or is it plan C now? Who knows.
I researched the level of difficulty for reupholstering a jack knife sofa for a DIYer and I didn’t find much. Many people had just put sofa covers on them, or they hadn’t done full rebuilds of the foam. I was going to have to figure it out myself! The one tip that I did find though was to take many pictures as you are disassembling the jack knife sofa, so you know how all it goes back together. Smartest thing I’d heard all week! So, armed with my camera and the baby monitor away I went. Note- Before you do anything take measurements of the cushions, that way you know what the finished cushion should be. Below are some of the pictures I took as I was disassembling.
First I had to remove a ton of wire loops that attached the fabric to the bottom of the frame. At that point I was able to remove the fabric. The yellow foam in the pictures is a type of batting used to help round the corners and make the couch fuller when the fabric is put on. It was just wrapped around a big piece of cushion foam which was glued to the frame. It came apart easily in a dusty, rusty mess. So happy we decided to replace the foam! Both the bottom and back of the sofa were disassembled the very same way.
Now that I had everything apart I decided to spray paint the rusty frame. I didn’t want rust getting on the new fabric as I was reassembling so I sprayed everything with some spare spray paint we had in the garage. Below are pictures of the painted frame, it’s two different colors but who cares. No one will see it once the cushions are on. Notice in the picture the frame is back in the trailer. Zac had reinstalled it after I painted the frame. You should have seen his face when he came home from work to find a pink frame. Priceless!
Once I had the old foam and fabric removed from the frames I was able to get a better idea of how it all went together. It became clear that it was going to be difficult to wrap the fabric and use wire again to attach the cushions to the frame. If I attempted using wire I would have to worry about tearing the fabric with the wire or having it begin to fray. So I came up with a better and easier idea. I decided to make basic box seat cushions like you would for outdoor furniture or a window seat. I had never done this type of sewing before but my Grandmother had been a great seamstress so I hoped some of her skills were in my blood. I found a website that explained how to go about making cushions. Here’s the link: http://designsbystudioc.com/how-to-make-a-basic-box-cushion/
I took measurements of the old cushions before I annihilated them during disassembly. Off to the store I went. After searching online for foam I went to Mesa Sales & Supply a few miles from our house. I bought the two large pieces of foam I needed (not cheap since foam is a petroleum-based product and can get pricey), and batting to help round the cushions once the covers were on. In the box cushion tutorial they had mentioned using Velcro to close the backs of the cushion covers. That way you could remove the covers and wash them if need be. I didn’t buy Velcro like they recommended, instead I had decided to sew the covers completely shut. If something got spilled I could just pull the whole cushion out and hose it down. Below is a picture of my foam at home awaiting my “passed down from Grandma”sewing skills.
After pricing fabric online and at a few stores around town, I decided to use some scrap fabric that I had at home in a forgotten closet. The bottom cushion would be leftover denim that my Grandmother had purchased for something and never used. The back cushion would be leftover fabric from when my Mom had made curtains for her kitchen some 10 years ago. Below is a picture of the denim cover mid sewing. Also, I would like to point out that you don’t need fancy sewing machines to do this type of project, my machine is the $80 Singer Prelude from Target, given to me as a wedding present eight years ago. Sew on my friends!
Once the covers were complete I used spray adhesive to glue the batting onto the foam. I made sure the batting covered the top, front facing, and sides of the cushions. I really didn’t care if it covered the backs and bottoms. Once dry I started stuffing the cushions and this was a heck of a lot easier said than done. Since I was no longer concerned with being able to remove the covers for cleaning, I finished the back seam using fabric glue. I also used the fabric glue to attach a couple tie strings on the backs of the cushions, so I could tie them to the frames and prevent them from sliding around. Below is my master piece!
As you can see, I used leftover fabric to cover the sofa’s kick plate. The kick plate was just a piece of plywood, so using a staple gun I first stapled some leftover felt-like material that I had. This gave it some cushion for stubbing toes. Then I stapled the matching fabric over it. I think it all turned out pretty good for my first reupholstering project. This has definitely made me braver for tackling upholstery projects in my home.
My last sewing job was to make a small curtain for the window over the kitchen sink. I used the last of the striped scraps that I had available. Nothing gets wasted here! As for the rest of the windows in the trailer, I found the blue and white lattice curtains on sale at Wal-Mart. I know it all doesn’t match, but in 10 years when everything has rotted I will splurge and buy matching fabric for everything. At least the foam should still be good then. Below are pictures of the finished upholstery work.
Now I just needed to do a few fun crafty ideas that I had churning in my brain. Stay tuned…