Friday, September 13, 2013

How I Recovered My Ottoman

Did you notice in the title I wrote, "How I recovered my ottoman" as opposed to, "How TO recover an ottoman"? It was intentional as there is a big difference here. Let me tell you the story of the ottoman...

This is what the ottoman looked like before. I purchased it at a model home sale for a great price. I loved the tufted seat and the nail head trim but I wasn't really crazy about the paisley chenille fabric. It just wasn't me but it was so inexpensive that I couldn't pass it up and bought it anyway. (hoarding tendencies shown here, gulp)This is exactly what I tell people NOT to do.

Trying to overcome the fabric situation, I covered up the poor little ottoman with a throw for years. Do you have any upholstered items that you cover up because of ugly or damaged fabric? Since I have owned it, I have been terrified to take it apart and change out the fabric for fear of ruining it. I don't know the proper way to upholster something and I knew that to professionally recover it would be as expensive as buying a new one. I'm a pretty frugal person when it comes to buying new things especially if I already own something similar in the first place. Also, I like the idea of giving something a second life. So, long story short, I threw caution to the wind and starting destructing the chair to see how it was put together.

I'm going to share with you what I found out so if you're thinking about doing something like this, you'll be a little more prepared and know what to expect.

As I contemplated my new endeavor, I was really nervous about reconstructing the tufting. As it turned out, that was the least of my problems. I started the project by unscrewing the legs underneath the ottoman and then removed the "grey stuff" to see how the buttons under the cushion were sewn in. That revealed another layer of "stretchy stuff" which I had to get through first. Here was my first mistake...

Instead of patiently removing the staples on one side of "the stretchy stuff", I cut through it. Don't do this!!! It turns out that stretchy stuff holds up the entire seat cushion. After recovering everything, I sat on the ottoman and found this out the hard way. Instead of sitting ON it, I sat IN it. UGH!!! The best way to get under this layer would be to remove the staples on one side and move over the stretchy stuff so you can work underneath it.

Once the stretchy stuff was removed, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see round plastic disks that you use to attach the buttons. I thought that I was going to have to sew but you can just pull the metal prongs that are on the back of the buttons through the disk to tighten and secure.

This is what the buttons look like with the prongs once removed. I hot glued the new fabric over the top so I could reuse them.

I also wanted to reuse the nail heads. When removing them, you have to be really careful because they want to break off between the nail and the round part making them unusable. I ended up saving less than half that were removed.

As for adding the fabric,I wanted to keep the original shape of the ottoman. If I draped the fabric over the top of the ottoman and then stapled it directly to the bottom (like you would do for a seat cushion), I would loose the "muffin top" shape that I think makes it so pretty so I had to come up with a way to divide the fabric into two pieces. I started by draping the top and stapling that part to the sides just under the muffin top. Then I wrapped a seperate piece of fabric just above the staples and secured it at the bottom and at the sides with strategically placed staples. (See below)

When wrapping the bottom half, I used the raw edge of the fabric because I liked the way it looked. I measured out equal distances for the staples because I was then going to cover them with the reused nail head trim. (You could also do cording here to cover your seams.)

Gage shown here helping with the tufting. We just measured, marked and stuck the metal prongs through to the other side. Once it is through, you just put the prong through the plastic disk and separate the prongs into two directions. It helps to have a friend help with this to provide resistance so you can pull the buttons really tight.

On the feet, I painted metallic gold and then used walnut stain over that to give an antiqued look.

Here it is completed. I did manage to fix the bottom of the chair by sewing the two pieces of "stretchy stuff" together and re stapling. It is now the ottoman that I always knew it could be. I have to say, problems and all, it was worth it. So, if you have an upholstery project waiting to be done, maybe now you can see what you're getting in to and just go ahead and take a leap of faith. You can do it!!!

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The Shabby Nest

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