Thursday, 22 December 2011

Recovering an old couch cushion, cheaply!

We have a lovely area under our pergola that we like to sit in and relax away from the hot Queensland sun and over time the hubby has made it very comfortable with box seats, planters, tables and even a native bee hive!

But the seats were a bit hard on the old backside to relax for too long on and so I bought some second hand couch cushions from my favourite op shop for $15 - well not small cushions but they're not really  mattress's either - Squabs? a friend said when I tried to describe them - you can just look at the picture to see what I mean.

Whilst they were cheap enough and certainly cheerful enough - they were not quite the colours and patterns I had hope to use under our pergola and so I decided to cover them - cheaply!

Here's what I did...

See - now what would you call that??

They even came with a back sitting up against part too - I assume they came off a cane couch of some sort.

I bought a second hand queen sized sheet in the colour that I wanted (and for 1/2 price!) and I'm going to make a sleeping bag type shaped cover for it. One Queen size sheet will usually cover most single mattresses - as will a single doona cover if you can find the one with a pattern you can live with! This time, sadly, I couldn't. which would have been a lot less work in the log run.

Allowing enough to be able to close it up when its made, I pinned the sheet to one end of the mattress all the way along one end. I didn't know if this mattress was a standard size or not and this saves me having to do maths which I really suck at!

Then I rolled the mattress up in the sheet. The pins I put along that first edge make it stay there so i can see how much sheet I will need and how much to chop off. Some times I'm lucky and can just sew it in half - this time I wasn't so lucky!

So now I can see how much to cut off. I want to make a loose cover that will allow for my mistakes and be easy enough to get off when I want to wash it.

Ripping the material from a cut is more accurate for me than cutting with a pair of scissors - although it makes for messy edges that then have to be hemmed more!

Next, hem all those messy edges! This is where I simply turn the whole thing into a giant bag by folding it in half along the longest side(right sides together - don't forget) and sewing up the other two sides leaving one end open.

Sewing the two sides together to make a giant pouch or bag...

Now to make the corners fit better I do this tricky little corner. Its hard to explain so bear with me. We are going to square off the corners so that the mattress fits better. Take one corner and fold it so that the seam that you just sewed is in the middle not on the side of the triangle - Its a bit of an origami fold if that helps.

If you have done it right you will have the seam in the middle of the triangle corner on one side and...

And the back should be seamless...

Then you sew across the corner. To know where to sew, measure the thickness of the mattress. If it is 4 inches thick then sew 4 inches from the pointed end  in a straight line across.
Sounds complicated, but once you get it - you'll be away. Here is a link to the best instructions I have found on the net - this is where I learnt how to do this. Also the hobo bags are great for lunches! squareish-bottomed-hobo-lunchbag

Once you have got the corners sorted (remeber to do both ends of the sleeping bag shape you can turn it right side out and slide it onto  the mattress.

I am yet to put the buttons on to close the end of the cover but this gives you the idea of how it ends up.

If you have done the corner right - it will fit like this. if you've done it wrong - it simply wont fit...

The whole cover should slide on a bit like a sleeping bag with squared corners.

Ready to sit on - well I still need to put the buttons on the end - but knowing me, that might take a while!

Score card:
Green-ness5/5 for re-using second hand bits and pieces!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for recovering 2 mattress's for $7
Time cost: This can take a while - probably about an hour to do both of them if you have done it before. Maybe a bit longer if you are a new sewer...
Skill level: If you can sew a straight line then you can do this - the corners are a bit tricky but once you get how to do them - you'll be away!
Fun -ness: Always fun to make something look good for just about nothing!

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