Time to talk about my new couch.
This was a fun project to think about–and I thought a lot about it!
+ Base goods acquisition:
Finding the right couch to recover was certainly not an easy part of the equation. I’m always a fan of finding something old to fix up, but my local market for good finds can be a bit tricky. Luckily, one of my local quilting buddies tipped me off to a couch and two chairs that she drove by at a yard sale, and sure enough, they were exactly what I was looking for. Score!
Sadly, this is my only before picture. Oops!
As you can see, it’s a couch and two chairs with removable, two-sided cushions. The wood part wasn’t in the best of shape, so my mom and I stripped and refinished it before moving on to redoing the cushions.
+ Technical strategy:
I wanted to cover it in my new fabric, but what I was mostly challenged by was thinking about a way to stabilize and add body to quilting cotton so that it would look a little more polished. You certainly can use quilting cotton to do it–my mom and I have recovered many things with just quilting cotton before and it’s worked out great–but I knew that I wanted something a little more sturdy. So I decided to make it like a quilt to add structure and thickness.
My biggest concern with doing this was that I worried whether the many layers involved in quilting would make it too bulky to sew up easily. I really had no way of knowing, and so I’d just have to see by doing it.
+ Design strategy:
I liked the idea of incorporating patterns from my pattern line, and the plan was to use fabric from Doe and all of the coordinates. Many of my patterns work from strips or scraps, so I went ahead and cut strips from all of the fabrics that I had to work from, and I laid them out. I’m one of those people who needs to see everything in order to work with it, and so this is how I did it. My cutting table was very full!
After a thorough survey of my pattern line, I chose to work with Aerial, Totem, and Focal. To me they worked well together, and they’d each give me the right opportunity to explore using all the different fabrics that I had to work with in the way that I wanted to.
Since all of the cushions are two-sided, I also had to decide on a design strategy for the second side. For that, I decided to go with a project from my book, called Circle Lattice. Choosing this particular project for the second side was a breakthrough for me, because it made me realize that instead of treating each individual cushion as its own canvas, I could treat one entire side of the cushions as a giant canvas to cut up into smaller sections. Because the Circle Lattice block is so large, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of wasting any of it. Building each side as a unit would make better use of the block, and it would also make it much easier and efficient to make.
Here’s the start to the Circle Lattice side. (The near matchup of the two Doe prints was completely accidental, but much appreciated!)
To figure out how big each side needed to be, I simply added up the cushion dimensions laying side by side with the back cushions above the seat cushions. That resulting shape was a rectangle that I then mapped out onto my floor with painter’s tape. I did the painter’s-tape-on-the-floor approach, because I wanted to physically audition the layout of each side. I needed to see it.
I struggled quite a bit to figure out the layout for the AFT (Aerial-Focal-Totem) side…
The CL (Circle Lattice) side wasn’t as tricky to lay out since it was mostly a matter of how to float the one large block…
Then I layered and quilted each side separately with straight(ish) lines. With all that was going on with the piecing, I wanted the quilting to be simple and a unifying factor.
Here is the AFT side after quilting.
And here is the CL side after quilting.
Next, in part two, we’re hacking it all up…