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Sofa Transformation

I promised I would share all of the details of my living room makeover, so here is the second installment. 
This sofa was given to me by my awesome Aunt and Uncle.  They brought me a truck load of furniture in May including the corner cabinets in my dining room, a great chandelier that’s in Wild Rose and this sofa.  It belonged to my Uncle’s mother and it’s got some good age to it.  It was damaged in a fire, though, but was professionally restored, so it was in outstanding condition.  The foam and upholstery were in perfect shape, as was the wood frame.  Here’s the rub.  Although the upholstery fabric wasn’t bad, it wasn’t going to work with my curtains.  So, I did what any self-respecting DIYer on a budget would do…I slipcovered it in drop cloths.  My father-in-law gasped at my covering up the beautiful upholstery, but even he agreed it would clash with the curtains. 
I make all of my slipcovers using a pin fitting method.  No measuring, no patterns, just pin and sew. 
The nice thing about drop cloths (or white cotton twill, canvas or linen) is that there isn’t a pattern that needs to be matched up.  That can be a pain and expensive, because you have to buy lots of extra fabric to match up the pattern. 

With a solid fabric, you can just cut what you need and use every little bit you can.  This sofa took about two 4 x 15′ drop cloths, but there was plenty left over. 

I always start with the inside, since that’s the trickiest part.  Pinning it all together and then trimming the excess makes it easy to see that the pinning is tight and fitted to the furniture.

I left the wood frame on the back exposed by tying the fabric together with ribbons. 
Ok.  Here’s the deal.  I know I’ve been promising a slipcover tutorial for…well…a long time…like forever.  I always start out strong on a project, taking pictures, making notes and then I realize I just wing it with every piece and I give up.  There’s not one way to do something.  So, after much pondering, I’ve decided the best route to go is to make a video tutorial series on slipcovering.  I’m going to take you through the techniques I use to (hopefully) show you how to make your own, no matter what the furniture style is.  Sound good?  That’s coming in January.  I’ve already hired my film crew (aka husband) and I have some subjects to slipcover – a wing chair, two Parsons chairs and an ottoman. 
Back to the sofa.  The drop cloth gives it a brighter, more relaxed look and hides some of the “too formal” details like the empire legs. 
Click here to see my French chair transformation, here to see the trumeau mirror makeover, here to read about the chandeliers and here for a full curtain tutorial. 
What’s to come…
How to achieve the paint finish on the chairs and mirror
Upholstery basics
Tied grain sack pillow tutorial
Price breakdown of the room
Living room before and after pictures
Interested in learning more about anything else in the room?  Just ask in the comments.
Miss Mustard Seed

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  1. Beautiful! I love that flirty ruffle on the bottom!

  2. Marian: When you do your video, could you address the drop clothes and how you piece them? I'm thinking it would be wise to cut off the hemmed part and use it as a ruffle or pleated area so you don't have to hem that area. But I can't figure out the best way to cut the hem off and still have lots of fabric for pinning, etc. Can hardly wait for the video since I too, like everyone else, have 2 wings + couch + love seat I'm going to slip (and packages of drop cloths waiting to be used). Thanks so much!

  3. sherrifromcanada says:

    Love your blog – so inspiring! I am just in the middle of doing a drop cloth slip for a wing chair. I've done a number of slipcovers before, but never a wing chair and not with drop cloths. I quite like how it's coming together. I have a question, though – I found two weights of drop cloth (8oz and 10oz) and I was wondering what you use? I went with the 8 oz, which will be great for the knife pleats, but am wondering if the rest should have been a sturdier weight? Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Love it….good for you! smiles… and happy holidays!

  5. Ok, so I'm going to look like a big fat decorating blog stalker, LOL! You're going to get like 100 comments from me tonight. :) I'm working on a slipcover for my big ugly green sofa out of drop cloths, too! I have MOST of it finished – but I'm scared of the piping on the cushions. I didn't pipe the arms, I wanted a loose sort of beachy look, I definitely want the formality and "professional" look of the piping on the cushions and pillows. Any tips?? Gosh I love your blog!!

  6. Ashley says:

    Do you remember how many drop clothes you used and what size? I’m trying to get an idea of how much I would need to reupholster my two couches but I’m not really sure how to judge it since I’ve never done it before!
    Thanks!! :)

    • MaryB says:

      MMS said she used two 4 by 15 drop cloths. Info can be found under the 4th picture (I think).

  7. MaryB says:

    Love the look! Love the price of these transformations. In fact, you have inspired me to start making slipcovers for our 14 year old wing back chairs. While ripping my larger drop cloths I made a discovery. My drop cloths were pieced, meaning they have a seam or two down the middle section. I discovered that if you can take the time to unpick these seams you will find finished (bias) ends. Using these will help prevent an unravelling of seams! yay! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  8. What type of thread did you use?

  9. trisha says:

    where did you find your curtains??


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