27 July 2010

Slipcovering a Sofa: A Novel In Two Parts

Part I:  The Base Unit

I have officially completed* the cover for my sofa most of my sofa!

DARE I even post the "before" pictures?  I'm afraid you won't like me anymore if I do, but hey -

...it can only go up from here, right?!?  EGAD what a nightmare.  This is my Ikea Ektorp sofa, which has been covered with old blankets for two months since I bought it - in which time Rabi has completely gutted the...I'm gonna go with "armpits" ...of my couch.  !$^@$% cat! 

 This is officially the third tailored slipcover I've made in my life; and I'm pleased to report that I did NOT sew my finger this time (the last one I made, there was a bit of a mishap which ended with my hand being pulled up under the machine, and the needle went through my fingertip and out the other side - I actually had to pull out the thread.  Yay, tetanus shots).

A bit about the process, because I took 198 photos last night, and by god, you're going to look at each and every one.   Okay, not really.

I find it easiest to do this starting with one arm, and then filling in from there.  Fabric goes inside-out on the piece (the Ritva curtains are actually the same on both sides, so I didn't have to bother with paying attention to that, thank goodness).  I pin around the edges of the arm, where the seams will be, and trim the fabric up around where I've pinned.  I keep a chalk pencil handy while I'm doing this, to mark shapes and seam lines on pieces I won't be working with for a while, in case I forget by the time I get there.  0:)

Sew; flip that sucker right-side out, and voila:   a finished arm!  Which I then rip apart and use as a pattern for the second arm, then put both together once I've made the welting that goes along the seams.

MAN do I hate making welting:

It's not difficult, but it takes FOR FREAKING EVER.  But it looks great when it's done;  small details like this make a huge difference:

Messy-looking, so far, yes, but just wait...

Same process makes the inside, front, seat, and back.  I split the back down the middle, and will close it with either velcro or a zipper, once I (a) decide which and (b) go get some/one.  The cover would have been too tight to get over the couch without an opening here;  this also enabled me to conserve fabric on the back piece, since I have a limited supply.

Anyway, Ikea's slipcovers, as it turns out, are meant to be secured along the back of the seat by means of a strip of Velcro.  On an upholstered piece, there's a gap between the seat and the back, where the lost change and remote controls live.  Normally, I'd make a long pocket of fabric across the inside seat back and stuff a long wooden rod or broom handle into the pocket, down into the joint between the back and seat, which keeps the fabric in place very well.  But noooo, Ikea has to be different.  Now I have to go buy some velcro to apply to the inside of the cover, which I've marked, so I can just cut it and pop it in when I get to it:


The cover for the base unit is finished*!

*  Well...mostly.   As you can see, it's still loose - the back still need to be closed, stray threads and strings trimmed off, the whole thing needs to be washed again to tighten up the fresh seams, and the bottom edge needs to be pulled tight underneath the sofa and stapled into place.

And it needs cushion covers!  And throw pillows, and throw blankets, and FEET that are not made of plastic (ew).  *falls over*

Anyhoo, lest you fall under the impression that I did this all myself, I'll have to admit that I did have help.  I'd like to give special thanks to my supporting cast:

Evie, Sasha, Daisy & Shelly, and Kress, my hawt-y heavy-metal-bassist boyfriend, who provided the soundtrack (which at one point was "Mary Had A Little Lamb" in a minor key, just to see if I was paying attention, LOL). 

Special thanks to Rabi, my Production Manager, who FUCKED WITH ME EVERY STEP OF THE WAY, ALL NIGHT LONG.
*boots the cat across the room* 

(This is the same little monster that destroyed the armpits of my sofa, and I love him to millions of itty tiny pieces.  :)

Not pictured: TWO more cats and another dog, who sat on their asses all night and didn't lift a single toe, like the lazy bastards they are.

Stay tuned for Part II:  Cushions!  


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