The $25 Sofa (The Finale)

Well,  I am happy to report the sofa in 98% complete!  I still want to over-stuff the cushions as I am not completely satisfied with the way they turned out.

Yesterday’s tasks consisted of completing the back cushion, adding trim, and additional work on the seat cushions.

The back wasn’t too difficult.  Once I decided on a plan of attack, it went pretty smoothly.  I decided NOT to replace the tufting.  I kept the buttons from the original piece but they would have to be recovered in matching fabric and I would probably have a hard time getting them back in the correct place.

Once the back was secured to the frame I added the cord trim.   I have a few minor burns (they call it hot glue for a reason) but I am thrilled with the finished product.

The cushions still need a bit more “fluff” but I have plenty of time to figure that out.  I may rub a little Tung Oil finish into the wood to give it a little more depth.  I also plan to make a few bolster and throw pillows in a coordinating french print fabric (Ooh la la).

All in all, I am very pleased with my first upholstery project.  I think it will look great in my daughter’s Austin apartment; and if it doesn’t I know the perfect spot for it.

I apologize for the poor quality of the photos.  I really do not feel they do the piece justice.

Thanks for tagging along.

Now on to the next project….

Before adding the back and over-stuffing the cushions

Before and after; not the best representation of either.
                A few close-ups of trim work.



The $25 Sofa (and sew it begins)

Happy Monday, everyone!

I am happy to report that much progress was made on the $25 sofa this weekend.  I admit, I was hoping to post pictures of a completed project but, as it turns out, this reupholstering business is HARD work.  Especially, for someone who did not have a clue how to even begin.

My Saturday goal was to get as much of the base done as possible so I could work on cushions Sunday.

I was able to stain the frame Friday night.  Unfortunately, it was still a little tacky Saturday morning when I got started but I was determined to move forward.

I began by covering the springs with burlap to give it a nice surface to work with; kind of like a painter’s canvas.  I used a pneumatic staple gun to staple to burlap to the wood frame. (If you plan to do any type of reupholstering PLEASE invest in one of these.  I cannot even image trying to do this job with a manual staple gun.)

Next, I place batting and foam on the arms.  This was the last item I pulled off of the original sofa so this is where I decided to begin.  This was also the most difficult as it took a lot of finesse (I would call it finagling) to get the coverage, smoothness, AND to hide the staples.

Once the arms were done, it was on to the seat.  The first thing to do is cushion the front edge-rail.  This is where the bend of your knees rest when you sit down.  The cushions will cover this area so it is also used to help keep the cushions in place (a lip, of sorts).

I was able to find a really cute french print fabric for the finish fabric.  This fabric is sewn to the main fabric and will not be seen unless the cushions are removed.  I stapled the main fabric to the front rail, pulling the finish fabric (sewn to the main fabric) tight over the burlap and stapling it to the back rail.
This entire process (burlap, arms, and seat) took about 8 hours; I did stop long enough to eat a bite but it was pretty much non-stop for most of the day.

Since Saturday was my husband’s birthday, I decided to break at 4:00 so we could do a little celebrating.

Sunday Seating

Well, this is the day I have been dreading.  I have never made seat cushions before.  I have a wonderful, brand new sewing machine my husband bought me for our first Christmas, three years ago, but have never really used it.  I LOVE to sew but, in all honesty, I have to admit the new machine scared the bejesus out of me.  I have always used an old, second-hand, Plain Jane sewing machine.  This new, fancy machine has all of the bells and whistles and is completely computerized.  EEEEK!
I sat down, drug out the instruction manual and started the process of switching out the pressure foot to begin sewing the welting.  Again, something new for me.  I guesstimated how much welting I would need and began the task of cutting 2-in strips of fabric.  I did not want to buy a lot of cotton cord for the welt so I decided to use a trick I found online; I used jute string, instead.  Now, I know what you are thinking, “JUTE?”.  Yes, Jute!  This $25 sofa has already reached my budget and I am making this for my daughter, NOT for a customer paying for a brand new customized piece of furniture.  I don’t mean to be rude but I have been so hard on myself that I just have to keep reminding myself of that very fact.  I would drive myself crazy trying to get it perfect if I didn’t.
At any rate, I ended up with WAY to much welt (about twice as much as I needed).  Hopefully I can put it to use on a few throw pillows.
I was able to take one of the original cushions apart (GROSS) to use for a pattern for the new cushions.  It took me the entire day to finish the cushions.  I still have a LOT of tweaking to do.  I ended up with way to much fabric in my cushion covers so now I have to over-stuff them to get them tight enough.  I just don’t have the heart to tear them all apart and make them smaller.  Besides, I think they need a little more “oomph” anyway.
The photos below do NOT show the cushions.  Frankly, I am a little ashamed of them at this point; however, I will try to post a few pictures tomorrow if I get them stuffed the way I want and IF I can get the back finished.
I hope you enjoy seeing the progress thus far.  I am completely thrilled with the way it is coming along.
The frame!  This is where deconstruction ended and construction began.
Front center leg after Jacobean stain was applied
My amazing Pneumatic staple-gun!  LOVE!


After burlap applied and one arm covered in batting.
Both arms covered and bottom batting applied (with edge-roll).
After front rail covered and finish fabric secured.


A better look at one arm and the finish/front rail fabric.


The inside of the original cushion cover.
The nasty, wet, mildew cushion cover.  The entire sofa was like this.
Let the sewing begin… sewing the 999 feet of welting.


The $25 Sofa (phase II)

HELLO, Friday!

It is finally Friday; what better time to update everyone on the SOFA project.  After further investigation, I decided to take everything down to the frame.  The original upholstery/fabric was wet and dry-rotted, as was the cotton cushioning.  There was nothing left of the foam (if that was even what it was to start with)…. I only found orange dust where SOMETHING used to be.

A few days ago I was able to pull off everything except the arm coverings (held in place by too many staples) and burlap.  I was hoping to salvage the burlap.

As it turned out, the burlap was rotten, as well. SOOO when I got off work yesterday, I tackled the job of removing the arm coverings, burlap, and the 20 million staples that held it all in place.  I was also able to sand and clean the wood.  Since the sofa had been stored outside for indeterminable amount of time, I took a chance and wiped the entire frame down with Hydrogen Peroxide.  I read, on one of the many furniture blogs, that it kills bacteria; mold and mildew; and breaks down human waste matter (blood, dead skin cells, urine, etc.)  All in all, it took about 7 hours.  Of course that does not include the time it took to remove the initial fabric and cushioning.

The only thing left now is the wood frame and the metal zigzag springs, which all seem to be in great shape (considering).

This afternoon, I plan to start staining the wood and replacing the burlap.  My girlfriend and I will start the cushioning and covering process tomorrow, with the hopes of completing everything except the 2 loose cushions by Sunday evening.

The Fabric

I was able to make it to Hancock Fabric before their after Christmas sale ended.  I found a very nice, plush, polyester fabric in Asian Bisque; 7-8 yards on a blot for half price and additional 6 yards on the remnant table for $5 per yard (regular price $25 per yard).  I also purchased 10 yards of batting and a spool of trim.  I was able to use an additional 20% off coupon which put my total at $140.55.  I realize I will have to spend a little more to get the look I want; especially since I now have to purchase burlap.  Fortunately I already have some thick foam for the 2 separate cushions; now I only have to buy the thin foam to bind it all together.

It’s Personal

I started all of this to find my daughter a nice inexpensive sofa for her small apartment to complement her taste.

As soon and my husband and a co-worker saw the sofa they gave me a very hard time.  They told me they lady should have paid me $25 to haul it off.  In their opinion I am out $50, instead of $25 (wink).

Of course, now I have something to prove.  I have never reupholstered any in my life; other than recover a couple of seat cushions.  This has definitely turned into a huge project.  With only a frame left of the original sofa, I now have to replace burlap to give it a sturdy surface, replace batting, cover with foam and fabric and replace the trim… and did I mention, refinish the wood and make 2 cushions?  Yes, I may have bitten off more than I can chew but I am determined to prove everyone wrong.  NOW… It’s personal 🙂

Some of the deconstruction phase:


The dreaded arm rest cushion – so many stable underneath.


Down to the burlap – still very wet with some cotton left.
After removing the cloth – this shows the cotton placing.


A good look at the zigzag springs in the back before removing the burlap.


The $25 Sofa

Greetings!  It has been a couple of days since I made a post but I have been fighting a sinus infection.  I feel so much better today but that could change once I tackle my next job.

My 23 year-old daughter recently relocated to Austin, Texas.  She started her first “big girl” job and will move into an apartment next month.  I am in the process of updating some furniture for her new (very small) place.

She has requested all items be refinished in a Jacobean stain, as she really likes the look of the darker, richer tones.  She also loves anything “Audrey” and “French”.

I have picked up several pieces over the course of the past several months:  a dresser, a vanity, a bistro table and chairs…. and NOW the sofa.

I think I paid $20 for the dresser; $40 for the vanity, and she purchased the bistro set for about $75.  I am not going to re-do the bistro set at this time as it is already dark and appears to be in pretty good shape.

We have stripped the dresser and started the staining process; have started stripping the vanity but it has a lot of nooks and crannies and had a layer of white paint over a layer of pink paint and has become a HUGE undertaking.

NOW the sofa.  I spotted an antique, French Provincial sofa on Craigslist for $25.  It looked pretty rough but the bones appeared to look pretty good in the picture.  However, when I arrived to pick it up, I discovered it had been stored outdoors, under a tarp.  The tarp had not done much to protect the fabric and cushions but I decided to get it anyway… It was only $25, right?!

I got it home last night and took the following pictures, before deciding to begin tearing off the dry-rotted fabric.

I hope the next pictures will be of a beautiful sofa; of course, I will try to take pictures of the re-do process..  Oh, did  mention that I have NEVER reupholstered ANYTHING in my life?

Wish me luck!