Recovering Bad Fabric Addict

I finally finished one of my crafty projects and recovered the cushions for the loveseat and footstool I purchased from the consignment shop for our sunroom. I came up with the pattern the old-fashioned way – I painstakingly ripped apart each cushion’s current cover to determine not only the pattern, but the order in which it was constructed. This style of cushion doesn’t have a gusset, and while originally I intended on adapting a fantastic looking tutorial from Sew Mama Sew which included piping and a gusset to create cushions, I eventually decided that deconstruction would be more accurate and probably loads easier than making my own piping. See also: no time for anything.

Since we first stepped foot in this place, I had a vision of our sunroom that included me sipping tea, flipping through magazines, and watching the world go by. Ross’ less complicated and significantly less romantic vision included a place to sit down to put on or take off shoes. Here’s what the previous owner did:

Plants! ZOMG! Lots of plants!

I started the hunt on Craigslist – and despite a few promising leads that had us drive to White Rock, nothing panned out. We eventually purchased a used but well made little loveseat and footstool from local consignment store Champagne Taste (whose awesome little slogan is “it’s like a garage sale in Shaughnessy!”) for $129.99. The search to get to Champagne Taste was long and disappointing, and even took us to LANGLEY of all places, to check out a place called The Wickertree. Note: The Wickertree apparently doesn’t really sell much wicker anymore, instead it is about 95% plastic resin. Ew. While very helpful and easy to deal with, the staff couldn’t find anything in my budget ($300) with my long list of must have’s that included real wicker or rattan, well made, natural colour, a loveseat and table or footstool, covered in not ugly fabric.

The original fabric, although in good shape despite some sun bleaching is probably the most ugly pattern I have seen for a while. (Note: if you want this fabric, there is a pile of it in a bag in my sewing room and I’d be happy to pass it over to you for all your rag needs).


Before. Like a bad dress from the 80s.

I wanted a fresh, happy, modern fabric in something durable like canvas. Ikea actually has some really nice by-the-metre  fabrics with their own designs – but most are “limited edition” and if you’re in love with one,  I suggest you buy a bolt. The particular fabric I liked is called “Gunilla” (if that link doesn’t work, that means they no longer have it), which is a blue and white leaf pattern with tiny orange berries at $6.99 a metre. I bought 6 metres, but likely have about 2.5 metres left over for other projects. Our sunroom has off white tiles and is painted a camel colour (scroll up to that first photo for a reminder) – the previous owner was a fan of animal prints and some of her colour choices reflect that – and while it’s not my favourite wall colour, it is high quality paint and doesn’t need to be repainted anytime soon.

The actual design of the cushion covers was relatively simple. I copied the footstool cushion first, and then moved to the back cushions and the seat cushions and I got progressively better with each one. Something I wish I had considered before making them is the type of zippers I purchased. I bought big plastic white ones – and in hindsight I wish I had chosen a flatter (and therefore, easier to sew over) type of zipper. I could have reused the zippers, but the fabric I chose was blue, orange, and white – not cream coloured like the zippers. My trusty sewing machine doesn’t handle zippers well (for my sewing nerd friends: my feed dog needs servicing and it’s getting harder and harder to find someone local to fix a machine this elderly – please send any contact info you have) and so I wanted something with the largest surface to work with.

In essence, the cushions were simple; two large rectangular pieces of fabric, with some easy folding and pressing in the corners to make it the box shape. I wish I had also taken the time to add some ties on the seat cushions as they have a tendency to scoot out from underneath small toddlers while said toddlers are stomping around. I had to remind myself to take it slow and ease in the fabric (with some careful clipping as well) but the general formula went: cut pieces using the old piece as a guide; install zippers leaving the ends unsewn; then do the corners: folded, pressed, and basted; then all sides, then clean up the zipper ends.

Here’s closeups of the finished folded corners and the zipper end:

Folded Corners
Zipper End

I think I spent about 4 hours altogether on it, although I stretched it out over the course of a week. I find I get impatient toward the end of a sewing project and that is where I tend to make mistakes that require me to rip things apart and start over. I’m trying to remind myself that the fun is in the process and while it’s cool to be proud of the finished work, I need to be grateful of the time I get to spend using my hands to create something.

In any event, here is Mr. Pants showing off on the newly covered sunroom furniture – this is in the natural light of day. Go me!


PS: Two other things worthy of mention: 1) this project solidified my decision to start working on my Crafty Resolutions list for 2011 – rather than a pointless list of New Year’s Resolutions, I’m going to develop a list of 12 crafty things to complete in 2011. Who’s with me?? And 2), Mr. Pants is wearing UNDERWEAR under his pants with NO DIAPER in that picture! We went from “the underwear, it did burn him” to this in less than 48 hours. In fact, he is asleep for his nap as I write this, and was insistent that he wear underwear and NOT diapers for his nap. No word on whether he’ll be dry but WHO CARES the boy is getting it.

11 years ago


  1. It looks great, Jen! Good job!

    I am trying to get over my perfectionist tendencies and learn how to craft. I don’t know if I can complete 12 crafty things in 2011, but I will definitely complete AT LEAST 1! 😀

  2. They look terrific. And after this weekend I can attest to the fact that they are very comfortable too. I guess those sewing lessons did pay off. ha ha

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