Sometimes it’s hard to let go of a piece of furniture even though you don’t have a place for it, especially if it is a well-made piece or if it holds some special significance. Such is the case with a coffee table that once belonged to Mr. MT Nest’s parents. I thought that we should donate it, but he didn’t want to let it go. It had served us well in the past, but we didn’t really need it now, and the best location we could find was in our bedroom. I wasn’t thrilled with having a table sitting there. Finally, I had one of those light bulb moments and came up with a plan to re-purpose the table as a bench at the foot of our bed.
- My old sewing machine struggled sewing multiple thicknesses of the heavy upholstery fabric.
- I’d never made a cushion before.
- I’d never made my own piping before.
- The fabric that I chose required matching the checks.
I actually started this project last fall, in late October. I made a pattern and completed the skirt portion in a pretty short time. Then the holidays and our winter travels intervened so it remained in this state until recently.
After returning from our winter travels, I had to regain project momentum. I kept looking at the “bench” at the foot of the bed and cringing at the state it was in. But, it took me some time to build my courage to tackle covering the cushion. The fabric was slightly pricey, even though I purchased it (from Ballard’s) with a discount and I think my fear was that I might ruin it. I knew the cushion was going to be the most challenging part of this project.
First, I covered the cushion with batting to give it extra softness and muslin to protect the batting. That actually improved the look of the cushion quite a bit, but I forgot to photograph it in that state. Here is the only photo I remembered to take of those steps, when I was cutting out the muslin.
The next step was to cut out the fabric for the cushion cover and make the piping with the remaining fabric. I purchased a guide tool for cutting the bias strips, and followed the included instructions for folding the fabric. I was pleasantly surprised that making the piping was pretty easy even though I didn’t have a special piping/cording presser foot for my sewing machine.
Again, I failed to photograph the next stage. I sewed the piping onto the top and bottom pieces of the cushion cover, stitching along the seam allowance line. Next I attached the front and side panels of the cushion to the top, carefully matching up the check. The back panel has the long zipper, so I installed the zipper before attaching that panel to the top of the cushion cover.
With the end in sight, I stitched the corner seams and then finally attached the bottom of the cushion cover. These two steps were the absolute HARDEST part!!! Oh.My.Goodness! At this point, I was pretty sure that I was in over my head and pictured myself having to take the whole thing to a professional upholsterer to finish. I struggled with getting the corner seams right and had to pull out the stitching multiple times. Eventually, I got it to an acceptable point…definitely not perfect, but OK for an amateur.
Once the corners were right, getting the bottom on was crazy hard. It was hard to manipulate the cushion cover to even get the needle into the fabric. It was hard to stitch through so many layers of fabric, especially at the corners. And it was hard to keep the stitching straight with so much bulky fabric around the needle. I pulled out the stitching several times before things were finally right.
The skirt portion is very tailored. I wanted a clean look. Each corner of the skirt has a kick pleat.
To keep the skirt and cushion from sliding on the wood table, I purchased this mesh from JoAnn Fabrics and cut a piece the size of the table top.
I am so glad to be finished with this project! I think it looks pretty good for my first effort. I am especially proud of how well the checked pattern matches.
One more time, here are the Before and After:
My next furniture project will be another venture into uncharted territory when I try to reupholster a chair. Wish me luck!
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