Our sofa is about 10 years old. It’s structurally sound, but the covers are suffering and some of the cushions could do with padding out with foam. The goal of Project Sofa is to repair this wear and tear to our sofa, to make it a happy place to sit once again by Christmas (and have fewer bits for the kids to pick at).
I’m unable to use the current covers as a guide, because they will have stretched over the years. When I checked on fabric locally, I could see that I was going to need at least a full bolt of strong upholstery fabric.
That scared me.
I knew that one momentary lapse of concentration, one piece cut the wrong way up, could mean I waste a huge amount of expensive fabric. I never had the guts to carry out my plans, and a throw doesn’t really work (too much maintenance and tucking!)
Then, I discovered crazy patchwork.
I had a go, and was hooked. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by patchwork because it appears to utilise mystical precision instruments. I like to play, and I like the freedom to stick and move bits around. Patchwork didn’t appear to have any of that. Crazy patchwork is different. It’s… crazy. A bit here, a bit there.. choosing colours almost randomly, and thinking about shape and trimming later. This is my first attempt at a cushion, sat on my dog-eared sofa:
Crazy patchwork looked like a good choice for the new sofa because:
- it’s fun
- it’s fast and easy
- it doesn’t matter if it stretches
- each squares has 2 layers – the top pieces are stitched onto the bottom – for added strength
- if it all goes horribly wrong I can just patch over it, making long term care easy
- I can use my favourite source of materials – recycled
Finding the fabric
Remnants of upholstery fabric aren’t much good for the large projects they are intended for, so I began to collect them, and then I found a cheaper source of suitable fabric.
There, in a corner of the charity (thrift) shop, was a pile of fully lined, second-hand curtains. So far, I estimate that I have spent about £46 in charity shops, on curtains alone! There aren’t many left in Preston, Lancaster or Chorley. I was also fortunate enough to find some donated John Lewis fabric, which looks like it was destined for curtains.
Preparing the fabric
After removing the headings I quartered each set of curtains. Half will go towards the two seater sofa, and a quarter to each chair. That will mean there is some consistency between each seat, but I have the freedom to incorporate other bits and pieces, as they come along.
I tore the curtain linings into 12″ squares, which are easily manageable on the sewing machine, and not too overwhelming. I have materials stored on a set of shelves, one sofa per shelf. I just grab the pile I’m working on, and get on with it. Most of the current supplies are next too my sewing machine, which appears to be quiet enough to not wake the kids at night, which will help immensely.
My plan is simple: make a pile to squares for each sofa, pin them into place, tack along the contours, and sew as I go.
I found a few good tutorials for making loose covers, and this adventure is my favourite.
Here are some more links, from my Springpad notepad. I keep updating these to keep me inspired. Do you know of any others?
Update 4th June: Seen an ad featuring a patchwork sofa. Does that mean I’m fashionable?