a blog chronicling my days of unemployment and all the crafty things i'll do during it

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the long awaited couch reupholstery (part 1)

i had big plans to reupholster my couch when i started this blog during my last bout of unemployment. however, i didn't accurately estimate the time it would take me to complete the project, and all i really did during my unemployment was the preliminary stuff: fabric shopping and deconstructing the old couch. these preliminary tasks happened in a couple days toward the end of my unemployment, and i didn't take the time to document them properly here, until now. so, here's part one of my couch reupholstery adventure.

the original couch: when chris and i moved into this apartment, the previous tenants had left a little couch. it certainly wasn't pretty, and it wasn't super-comfortable; but it was free and it was something else to sit on. the upholstery pattern was hideous, and it was worn, ripped, and frayed in so many spots, that even if it wasn't so hideous, something would have to be done about it. my mom and i created a slip cover for the couch, to cover its ugly and fraying upholstery. but, i eventually grew tired of constantly rearranging and fixing the displaced slip cover. so, i decided to attempt amateur reupholstery.

preparation: i googled a lot about upholstering a couch, and i didn't find much - just one useful blog from someone who had previously undertaken the amateur upholstery adventure. i also picked up a book from my local public library. this was a very helpful resource. i had little-to-no reupholstery experience. the only thing i'd ever done before was reupholster a weight bench with some pleather as a birthday gift for chris. but, that was really just a rectangular cushion, not too tough!

fabric shopping: halifax has a very limited selection of fabric stores. in turn, these fabric stores have a very limited selection of fabrics. i managed to find a denim-ish upholstery fabric at Atlantic Fabrics. it was pretty much the only thing i even remotely liked at the fabric store - the only thing that didn't feel so plastic or synthetic. it was nicely priced at $9.95 per metre. i had calculated i would need 4 metres (after measuring each pieces as per the book's instructions), but i bought 5 metres, just to be safe. the store was having a sale, so i spent just over $50 on the fabric and two spools of thread.

de-upholstery: it probably took me a good 4-6 hours to really pull off all the old upholstery fabric. i could have done it faster if i was more destructive, but i was trying to save each piece to use as a template for my new fabric. i starting removing staples, taking the outside back piece of fabric off first, and then removing whatever whole piece i could get to next. each piece i removed, i marked with a piece of paper pinned onto it, so i could remember where it belonged later. i also took digital pictures to help me with the reupholstery process. i'm very glad i did this - since the couch sat naked/unupholstered in my office for over a month before i began really reupholstering it.

i didn't purchase any special tools. i used some small needle-nose pliers and a slot-head screwdriver that i had on hand. in hindsight, a pair of light work-gloves would have been handy too. i definitely scraped and poked my hands with staples and pliers while pulling out the staples and pulling off the fabric. this was a VERY dusty job, and i kept the cordless vacuum handy at all times. inside the couch, among the dust bunnies, i also found a quarter, a pen, and a crochet hook - nothing too exciting unfortunately.

i took apart all the piping on the couch, and saved the cord to re-use to make piping with my fabric. i took apart one of the cushion covers to use for as a template (x2) for the new cushion covers. i left one cushion cover together to use as a construction example.

and that's where it stopped, for over a month. the couch and all my fabric sat in the office until i found some evening and weekend time during the month of july. i completed part two completely in my spare time from work.

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