Love Letter to a Couch

Posted on December 19th, 2011 at 7:13 am


Love Letter to a Couch

A week after we started, we’ve finished the redo of this found couch. My project partner, Mac, spotted it on the parkway as he ran along Sheridan Road one Sunday. He drove back to the spot to retrieve it. We brought it inside, took the before photos and planned the makeover.


Glad for the extra set of hands on this project. If you’ve ever wrestled with your own recovery, you know that upholstery is physical. It often takes two people – one to stretch the fabric over the frame and the other to staple.

For the supplies: Jo-Anne Fabrics. We found a clearance fabric, a polyester red and white shag for $5 a yard. I wished for one the colorful cotton prints from Ikea, but who in their right mind would want to take a pleasure trip to Schaumburg in December? All in, we spent $45 for foam rubber, cotton batting, cording and fabric.


Once we disassembled the couch, we ended up with two basic pieces to reupholster, seat and the back.

This stage is all about layers. For the seat, we layered cotton batting on top of the springs for a firm foundation. We followed it with a layer of thin high-density foam to make the cushion smooth.

The foam rubber on the back piece were in good shape, so we restapled them to the frame. We layered on a new piece of cardboard, cut from a box, to stretch across the couch back.

Next, I made cording from the red canvas fabric.

Cording is a tedious step, but good for a tailored finish. To make cording, also known as welting, cut long strips of fabric about two inches wide. With a zipper foot attached to the machine, wrap the fabric around the cording and sew as close as possible to the cording in a straight seam.



Once both covers were assembled we were ready to staple them to the frame. We used a manual Arrow staple gun and 3/8″ heavy duty staples. (Ugh, next time, an electric stapler.) Stretch and staple.

With that complete, we reassembled the couch. Ancient screws and washers hold the seat and back together in wobble fashion. Ingeniously, the frame is stabilized with the arm and leg parts that screw into the sides of the back and seat.

Et voila, the new old couch, a labor of love.




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