Thursday, August 18, 2011

Step Two---Cutting and Sewing!

Your couch is now stripped, yay! Let's do the next step. Remember the pieces of fabric I told you to save? This is where they come in very handy.

Before we get to that though, I need to interrupt for a very important statement. MAKE SURE --that's bold and underlined--- that you have enough fabric to redo the couch, otherwise your whole project may come to an unhappy, screeching halt at this stage. That is what happened to me when I started cutting out my pieces. This is sometimes the downside of buying fabric off the clearance table, no more available. So, back to the fabric store I went, where I found the coordinating fabric of my dreams. More on that later, back to the cutting and sewing....

Okay, first lay out your fabric on your work area. If your fabric has a nap, like mine, or is directional, you will need to find or decide how to cut it so everything runs in the same direction. For example, my fabric is a chenille blend, which has a nap. If you run your hand over the fabric in one direction, the fabric will feel soft and smooth. If you reverse your direction, it will feel rough and may even "stand up" a bit. It's not unlike petting an animal, nap, like fur, should all go in one direction.  On a piece of furniture, that direction is either down or forward. So, when you are cutting the piece for your back, the nap will run from the top of the frame toward the floor. Like so----

You can cut out your pieces in any order, I try to cut mine to minimize waste (especially in this instance). You may have to pull apart sewn pieces of the old fabric in order to make patterns for the new. Like these pieces that go on the back of the arms, kind of looks like a weird alien head, don't you think?

Once everything is cut out, if there is any sewing to do, now is the time. First, on my couch, there is a long piece of piping along the front edge. So, I cut my bias strips, sewed them into one long piece, and sewed the cording into it.

I then pinned it to one of the lower pieces (keeping the direction of the nap going down) and sewed it onto the top.

Then I stitched on the fitted pieces (the alien head pieces) for the back of the arms. This was a tricky one. Not only do you have to keep in mind the nap direction, make sure that you have a right arm and a left arm. Just go slow, and double check.

I also added some canvas pieces to the edges of the back piece and the arms where typar was used in the original piece.

On the last bottom strip, there were some mitered corners with a small square sewn in to help go around the corner on the frame.

And that's it! You have all your frame pieces cut out and stitched together and are now ready to reupholster the frame of the couch!!

Some tips:
You can sew most upholstery fabrics with regular thread, you may want to do 2 rows of stitching on the seams for extra strength. Or you can use a heavy duty thread to sew you pieces together, whichever you prefer.
Remember to clip your curves and corners on shaped pieces and trim your seams to help them lay flat and minimize bumps and bulk.
When in doubt while cutting the fabric, cut bigger, you can always trim it later.

Okay, now let's go get out the power tools!!

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