Couch denouement

Anybody remember this couch?

Over two years ago, I attempted to make my own fitted slipcover. I also cavalierly dismissed the services of professional upholsterers. As I’ve mentioned before, this is how I ended up with 16 yards of the uninspiring mid-weight tan linen that has been such abundant shibori fodder.  It turns out, upholstery fabric is different from apparel fabric for a reason: it has to be BURLY. I got as far as making the seat cushions, and then watched them burst open at the seams in a matter of a few weeks.

Discouraged, I procrastinated for about another year. When our recent move was certain, however, I decided to bite the bullet and get the couch reupholstered.

I’m so glad I did. | shibori pillows

The dump was never an option (this was my grandmother’s couch), and I’d proved myself both unworthy and unmotivated to reupholster it or make a nice enough slipcover. I was able to assuage my fears by getting a recommendation from a coworker who’d had vintage furniture reupholstered. It was a huge splurge, but I’m so pleased with how it turned out. It looks great in our new place.

We’ve had our couch back for a couple of months, but I recently decided to fete its new look with some shibori pillows. I used linen pieces that I’d cut out last year with the intention of sewing napkins. It was lovely, thick white linen, and it caught my eye when I was getting ready to dye my romper. I decided to include them in the dye bath with my romper (yep, these were the other projects that prevented me from agitating my dye bath properly!) | shibori pillows

I dyed the pieces before sewing them into pillows. The back of the pillow is, coincidentally, more of that bountiful tan linen – the fabric that just keeps on giving!

(This is a very silly thing to notice, but the couch fabric really sets off Orson’s lovely orangey coat nicely.) | shibori pillows

The question of when to craft came up in my post last week about my experiences crafting for our wedding: do you have to craft everything because you can? A resounding “no!” came from you wise people. I know I could have persevered and probably succeeded at making a slipcover, but it would have taken me a long time and eaten up all of my sewing hours. There undoubtedly would have been tears of frustration. I regard my sewing time as a precious, mind-clearing time and this project wouldn’t have fit the bill. It also wouldn’t have looked as good or been as permanent as reupholstery. There can be relief in paying money and letting an expert take over, especially when that expert is providing a service I whole-heartedly believe in.

If I commit myself to a home dec project again, I’ll start with something smaller. Or, I’ll just stick with throw pillows for now!


17 thoughts on “Couch denouement

  1. Ooooh, it does look quite snazzy now! Nice dyed pillows. And yes, Orson loos terrific on it! And, as Kitty will agree with, that’s the main reason for selecting furniture. My mom and I covered a chair together. It didn’t go smoothly and we had so many arguments. But, the chair did look fabulous in the end! I agree with you though. There are some things best left to the professionals. 🙂

    1. Cats do look dignified on nice furniture, don’t they? I’m glad your chair turned out wonderfully – too funny that it was the source of so many arguments. I wonder what it is about upholstering that leads to fighting?

  2. Dude I am HORRIBLE with ‘Oh I could make that!’ Yeah, that’s all fine and dandy but I don’t. And then I don’t have a pretty sparkley top (which was really kind of affordable) or, in your case, a beautiful couch. I need to embrace your philosophy 🙂 Also – your couch looks great! x

  3. Your now beautiful couch was so worth the splurge! I agree, sewing time is precious and shouldn’t ever include tears… at least not the bad ones.

  4. I can attest that upholstery jobs are a bit of a nightmare. I spent a month sewing piped box cushions for our couch. Although I am glad to gave done it in the end, I could have spent that time on so many other things. and the arguments! We argued about everything while working together on our sofa (hubby and I). We put it in the front room of our house because we didnt want anyone to sit on it and mess it up— ha! Just the cats sleep on it now. So we basically reupholstered a couch for our two cats. Lol.

    1. I can’t even imagine how protective I’d feel over a couch I’d upholstered myself! That’s too funny. It really is a beautiful couch, though, and really inspiring that you guys did it yourselves.

  5. It looks so great, and it must be lovely to know you’re still using a family heirloom! I love the fabric you chose and think you were very wise to make the decision to spend the money and give yourself more time for the creative things you enjoy working on. I’m going to have a go at making curtains for our nursery but have already told myself that if it looks like it will be too difficult/take too much time, then I’ll just buy them and not beat myself up about it!

    1. Thanks so much, Kathryn! Best of luck with your curtains – I’ll bet you’ll do a great job on them, but it’s nice to know you’ve got an alternative.

  6. I don’t think I would ever endeavour to reupholster my couch… I have been dragging my feet about finishing a cover for my dog’s bed for the last month or so!

  7. Wow, this looks so good! It really suits your room! I think it’s a great investment when you consider the stress and drama involved with a project of that size. Your time is a limited resource, so it’s worth it not to tie up so much time in a project that would probably tedious, horrible, and possibly not have results that you’d be 100% thrilled with.

  8. You deserve a gold star for attempting to recover a couch yourself. That seems like a massive project, bordering on technical engineering. The most I’ve done is make some armchair covers for my in laws.

  9. i love the couch and fabric used to recover it. i’m sure you could have done it yourself, but i’ve learned that “can” and “should” are two very different things. i’m sure you’ll enjoy this for years to come!

  10. Your couch looks very chic now. I do sometimes do home dec projects but I am quite honest about hating them. I find them boring, when I do them it’s usually to save money. I think it’s fine to pay someone else if you can afford it, even if you could have done it yourself. Someone has a job and you get to make great shibori cushions!

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