Saturday, May 26, 2018

Weekly Goals Week 1: Redoing a Ratty Loveseat

Blogging is behind.  I'll readily admit it.  The main reason?  Every time I think about getting on the computer, I know my OCD will kick in and I'll try to fix the computer to work better (for instance I spent a good hour tonight cleaning up the hard drive and deactivating Windows features that I know, in the past, have messed with my computer something fierce) and then I'll get frustrated, walk away breathing deeply and trying to remain calm, and so I just kind of defeat my own motivation to blog at the moment.  I THINK I might have gotten some major malfunctions patched/fixed on this sucker though, so here's hoping.

Anyway, I was going to post up some weekly goals this last week, but ended up rethinking that instead and decided what I'm going to do, for the time being, is to work on one big goal a week and then post up the progress of how I managed to do it (if at all) at the end of the project.  Since school let out Alvah has been in a up and down type of mood, so it's been kind of hard to do multiple things at one time.  So, by focusing on ONE major project that I'm behind on a week, I figure I'll hopefully get my "big" list done (and hey if I can pound out more than one project a week, good on me!).

So, this week's project is FINALLY getting the rest of the love seat redone.  The son has taken to peeling the leather in scads of late and it was just looking so terrible I couldn't stand it.  That and I knew if Alvah managed to punch through the material under the leather upper and hit foam?  There would be no saving the love seat.  At all.  He would go to town on the foam and there would be nothing left to salvage.  So, it was definitely time as some of the material was getting pretty threadbare.

This project took two days of the week to get done, with many breaks to get the kids snacks, take the son out to play, get laundry and other household stuff done, etc.  So, let's break down the stages of development.

Sorry I don't have a great "before" picture to work from from where I actually started this go-round as the peeling problem is WAY worse than when I originally put the new back cushion cover piece on, but we'll start with that old photo since I have that one from back in January (January...dang, this project took me a long time to get completely done).

Just a quick note:  This project was done with materials I had on hand and that is all.  I didn't have the money to go out and buy anything, so yeah, be prepared for some interesting twists and turns here.

Step 1:  Remove old arm patches (the leather looking pieces that aren't peeling on the tops of the arms there) and put new arms on.

Taking the old arms off was actually harder than I thought it would be.  The old stitches I'd used to sew the leather patches on were coming apart in places (I mean the upper arm pieces moved a lot over the years), but the sheer amount of leather that had peeled UNDER the patches was extraordinary, and disgusting.  All the brown flakes on the carpet in front of the couch there?  That was after I'd swept up a huge pile of flakes as I was working on the one arm.  It was pretty gross.

Oh, in case anyone wonders about this, as I've been asked this question in the past.  No, I do not remove ANY of the original material from the furniture when I do these projects.  I just plain don't have the room, or the time to do so.  Basically, I will remove the back panel from the furniture to attach the back cushion covers (as the material would just rip apart if I didn't as that material takes a lot of pushing and pulling over time) and nail it all back together once I have the material secure, but otherwise I just carefully hand stitch each new piece to the existing material little bit by little bit until it is completely covered.  I use double thread to do these projects and use the heaviest thread I can find (in this case, carpet thread that I had in with my thread stores) so it can take punishment.  I also found that with this style of furniture that letting the material for on the back cushions and a bit of material on the side cushions hang down loose allows more give and take with the fabric itself and wears on the pieces I sewed on a lot better.  Leads to more tucking of fabric, but I'm okay with that.

Anyway, getting the new arms all sewed on destroyed my finger tips for the day and flared my bicep tendonitis, so I called it a day and went back at it the next day.

Step 2, Day 2:  Take old arm cushion leather cover patches and reuse material for new back panels.

This development came about because I came to the conclusion after doing the arms over that I plain didn't have enough material to do the back panels that were flaking to pieces too.  Since the patches for the arms matched the couch, I decided to reuse them to make new back panels.  Seen here as I was sizing up if there was enough fabric to get them done (and there was...barely).

This took FOREVER as I had to sew along the contours of the love seat and also I had to sew over onto the fabric I'd used to cover the back cushions (the material was too shoddy in places when I covered the back cushions, so I had to move fabric around to accommodate).  I also sewed the leather patches into place and then folded over the back cushion fabric and made a double seam on the back pieces so they would not only take more punishment, but also so that everything looked better in the finished product.  This was taken when I took a break to cook dinner.

Day 2, Step 3:  The cushion covers.

Then there was the cushion covers to deal with.  I was at a loss on what to use to cover the cushions with at first as I needed something I could wash a lot as the son is hard on furniture (and loves to smear things like pop tarts into cushions).  I finally, and a bit regretfully, went into my fabric stores and grabbed a nice hefty sheet that I'd been planning on using to create a fall themed quilt with.  But, at least the sacrifice was worth it.  AND I know it's completely washable.

Sorry for the not picture perfect quality of the photo, but the son kept diving onto the love seat to play and I had to do the best I could with the time I had *laugh*.

I've still got a bit of detail work to get done on this.  I need to put finishing touches on the cushion covers (there's some folds versus actual stitching that I need to fix on them), and probably a few things I need to secure on the love seat itself as things get moved around here and there, but overall, for a make do and mend type of job, I think it came out looking PRETTY decent.

So, weekly goal one, done.  We now have a working love seat that you can sit down on and not stand up with tons of little leather pieces sticking to your pants as you do so.  I'm calling this one a win.

This week's goal is going to be getting some skirts made for the daughter and HOPEFULLY starting to get my pantry rearranged.  Stay tuned for that (and yes, the money saving weekly recap is coming tomorrow...I wanted to include this project with it and didn't want to wreck the surprise by doing that one first *laugh*).


  1. When we redid our peelie sectional, I used a staple gun. Saved so much time! It's awful how fast they start peeling, when the bones are good and you don't want to replace it. We have 2 small areas that aren't perfect, since ours did not have removable cushions but it can be done!! I used hot glue and a thin cotton rope along the edges as trim to hide the staples.

    I'm sure the bits getting everywhere drove you crazy, it did me. It's been since October when we did ours, and I am still so happy when I sit I don't have bits all over me.

    1. Yeah, I would have used some staples to make my life easier, but we didn’t have any lol! So, I got some nice thick callouses on my fingers instead ;).

  2. I was going to suggest using a canvas dropcloth. You could get a 6'x 9' piece for $20 (less, probably, if you got it on sale). Washable, bleachable--very tough stuff.

    That said, you did an amazing job with what you had! I think it looks really good! You are an incredibly resourceful woman.

    1. I will definitely consider that when the new covers start to go. Thank you!

  3. The loveseat looks great. Good job!!! What are your son's prospects for showing more restraint with more therapy. Not judging, just asking. That must be miserable for him and for you. I'm sure you have tried everything.


    1. It’s hard to say, honestly. We are always, like all special needs parents, stuck in a loop of hoping and praying for the best, but trying to be realistic and preparing for him needing care for the rest of his life. The big thing, though, is he continues to make progress. For autistic kids the forward momentum is the most important part and when they stop moving forward developmental gaps get larger. Will he ever talk? I have no idea. There are cases of autistic kids talking suddenly in their late teens, so a huge developmental step isn’t out of the question. At the moment communicating is the HUGE need that we are working on with him. He is getting better at LAMP (his communication program) every day and will be able to work in ABA (autism therapy, basically) with speech now, so I am hopeful. Hope is free, and everything, for parents like me.

  4. It sounds like with parents like you and your husband , he stands the best chance of all. Good luck and I will keep you in my prayers.

  5. Great job, Erika!
    The love seat looks so cozy now. And congrats on having a project tackled! I don't know about you, but crossing something that big off my to-do list makes me feel like I can do almost anything!

  6. What an amazing change. I like it when I can come up with ways to make things last longer.
    Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,
    Mrs. Laura Lane

  7. I have done things like this so many times over the years. I think you did a great job.