make-do custom mattress for an antique daybed

by | Sep 21, 2020 | All Things Home, Before and Afters, Decorating, Furniture Makeovers, Room Makeovers, upholstery makeovers | 39 comments

Remember the antique Jenny Lind daybed I bought off of Facebook Marketplace a few weeks ago?  Well, I finally received the foam and batting I ordered to make a custom mattress for it.

antique jenny lind day bed | miss mustard seed

antique jenny lind daybed

My plan is to make a french-style tufted mattress, but I starting wrapping the foam in the cotton batting I ordered and I realized I would need to make a cover to hold the cotton batting in place.  Poly batting is much easier to slide a fitted cover over, but I went with cotton because it gives a softer appearance to the cushion.  It was one of those afternoons when I was determined to get this done.  I knew it was irrational to think that I could finish an entire custom mattress in an afternoon, but I felt this push to try.

I cut down the 3″ upholstery foam with an electric carving knife.  If you didn’t know, those are the absolute best tools for cutting foam!  I just have a cheap one like THIS that I’ve used for years.  I wrapped the foam in two layers of cotton batting and then hand-stitched a cover on out of some inexpensive linen fabric I had in my stash.  This cover would make it possible to slide a fitted cover on over the cotton batting without pulling it off in the process.

I picked out an antique hemp sheet (also from my stash) and washed it before I made a cover out of it.  When I took it out of the dryer, I folded it and laid it over the mattress on the daybed.  It actually looked pretty good…good enough that I can leave it like that until I decide if I want to make a French tufted mattress or simply make a tie-on cover.

antique Jenny Lind daybed | custom mattress | miss mustard seed

chaise | linen slipcovered chair | antique tripod side table | curtain fabric

(This picture was taken while I was washing the sheets, which is why the quilt is hurled over the footboard!)

The upside to having a simple tie-on cover is that it’ll be easy to remove and wash, which will probably be necessary with cats and a dog who like to jump up on it already.

I had two bolster pillows from the living room sofa in our PA house and they were the perfect fit for this daybed…

antique Jenny Lind daybed | custom mattress | miss mustard seed

I made the bolster covers years ago out of an antique petticoat!  You can read about that HERE.

antique Jenny Lind daybed | custom mattress | miss mustard seed

antique Jenny Lind daybed | custom mattress | miss mustard seed

It’s a bit of a make-do solution right now, but it’s better than rushing through making a custom mattress when I’m not sure if that’s the route I want to go.  For now, it looks nice and finished enough to save that decision for another day.

antique Jenny Lind daybed | custom mattress | miss mustard seed

39 Comments

  1. Leslie S.

    I’ve been waiting to see your plans for the day bed – I have an almost identical one I got last summer at a barn sale. Does yours pull out to make a full bed too? Mine came with 3 bolsters, 2 for the sides and one for the back. I like yours with the pillows only on the sides much better. Thanks as always for the inspiration!

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, mine pulls out to make a full-sized bed, but I can’t see us ever using it pulled out, so I’m just making the cushion to fit it when it’s closed. I actually had a longer bolster on the back, but it felt like it crowded the cushion a little too much.

      Reply
      • Carolyn

        Can you please tell me where you ordered the foam and batting?

        Reply
        • Marian Parsons

          I ordered it from Online Fabric Store. You can get foam and batting at most fabric stores, though.

          Reply
  2. Marie

    I do love your day bed! The tufted mattress idea would look fabulous, but might be a little challenging with pets unless you keep it mostly covered like you have now. I’m covering a vintage rattan settee, and had to make cushions for it as well. I wash my covers on a pretty regular basis due to pets, so when I decided to create my own new cushions, I knew I wanted to be able to remove them more easily. I covered my batting with a new quilted water resistant mattress cover cut and sewed with the plastic on the outside. I can take off and put back on the decorative covers easily. I know this only works with cushions which do not have buttons or tufting, but for regular cushions, where you need to wash the covers, it sure makes it easy, and protects the foam and batting beneath.
    I may make a simple tie on for every day use as well, now that I see how nice yours looks! Marie

    Reply
  3. Susan

    Your cat in the last picture made me remember….quite a few years ago we had a solid black house cat who loved sleeping on my bed, which was covered in a white quilt. Needless to say, he left quite a mess on that quilt. I found out quite by accident, that if I tossed something on the bed, he would sleep on the “special” piece instead of the quilt. So, a small throw, casually tossed on the bed, saved my white quilt! He would ALWAYS choose that to sleep on. It’s worth a try with your fur babies!

    Reply
    • Carswell

      Funny you should say that – I was thinking of the same thing when I saw the cat on the daybed. That’s obviously a sunny spot and it will be a magnet for the fur balls. It’s been my experience that throws are also a magnet – they are as attractive to cats as paper and boxes.

      I think a french style mattress would look absolutely fabulous on that daybed, especially in a blue and white ticking.

      Reply
  4. Sally

    Looks great already! Can’t wait to see what you decide to do with it later on!

    Reply
  5. Sue

    I have always loved those bolster pillows; I have been around long enough to remember when you made them, with just that peek of blue check at either end. Your blog still draws me in, especially the last picture – a perfect example of a lazy afternoon!

    Reply
  6. Julie N

    Beautiful!!! And the sleeping kitty is just perfect!!!

    Reply
  7. Teddee Grace

    I love the look of those French-style tufted mattresses and was looking forward to seeing how it was done, but I’m not the one who would have to do the work or deal with laundering it! I’m sure whatever you decide to do it will look great.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      I still might do it, but I’m afraid of spending all of the time to make it and then I can only spot clean it. That might be a problem…

      Reply
  8. Amanda

    What is the pretty grey paint color in this room? I’m experiencing paint color paralysis right now, and greys are especially challenging…

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      It is Stonington Grat by Benjamin Moore.

      Reply
      • Kara

        I love the paint color on the walls and I am having a problem finding a grey I like. I am curious about your curtains with the blue bird design. Were those custome and if so where can I get the material to make?

        Reply
  9. Pat R

    How about making a top with tufts on a removable cover, then you have the best of both.

    Reply
  10. beverlee Lyons

    perfect ‘make-do’. love it!

    Reply
  11. Mary

    Love that day bed–Jenny Lind style is a favorite of mine. I just finished making a large French style tufted mattress for a large bay window seat. It is a big, time-consuming project. And if you tuft the edges too like I did, it will seem to take forever. Plus it is super hard on your hands–yes blood was shed but luckily not on the fabric! I am going to Scotchgard it because it is in a bedroom where toddler grandchildren often stay. But pets…hmmm…you might want to rethink that. I do love the way mine turned out though–Buffalo check like you couch but a light blue colorway🥰

    Reply
  12. Debbie

    Love the daybed in that spot. It’s perfect! Like a window seat. Snuggle up and read. Can’t wait to see the whole room reveal. A throw rug or runner in front of it would add a nice layer.

    Reply
  13. Sue A

    Perfect for an afternoon nap. For me. My giant husband would not be permitted to sit on it!

    Reply
  14. Ann

    Marion, when you get a chance, could you please share where you purchased the frame/shadow box for the baby dress that is hanging on the wall. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I actually found two of them at HomeGoods/TJ MAxx. They were framed pieces of art (just watercolor leaves), but there was about a 3/4″ gap between the art and the glass, so I used them as shadow boxes for antique baby dresses. The frames were $40/each, so that was a good deal!

      Reply
    • Logan

      They also sell great shadow boxes for displays like that at Hobby Lobby and they are on sale for 50% off every 2 weeks. And you can get the pins and other supplies for attaching the clothes too.

      Reply
  15. Charlotte

    I love what you’ve done so far!!!! I’ve been debating making some French tufted cushions for my rocking chairs… and I’ve looked up a few tutorials and one girl said to wear leather gloves to save your hands. I thought that was brilliant and thought I’d share. You’ll think of something, inspiration will hit and it will look beautiful. I also like the idea of a scotch guard of some kind…

    Reply
  16. Sandy

    It looks so good! What a wonderful cozy spot, and I see Miss Kitty agrees!

    Reply
  17. Patricia Unger

    I love it! I was so excited to see this. I have my great grandmother’s. I also have her full size spool bed. They are treasures for certain. Yours is beautiful. I know you will enjoy it for a long time to come.

    Reply
  18. Irene Kelly

    Marian, is that Your christening dress you have framed hanging on the wall ? I had mine framed and hanging in my bedroom. My grandmother hand sewed it along with all my clothes until I was in first grade. She was a professional seamstress. I sew but not nearly as well as she. But I have done lots of needlework so glad I framed most of them to enjoy everyday around my home. Now I plan to have other pieces framed and give as gifts.

    Reply
    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I framed it last week. 🙂

      Reply
  19. MaryLisa

    I would leave it just the way you have it especially with animals. It’s too difficult keeping them off of a cozy sitting area and this way it’s easy wash and ready to go. The daybed looks big for the area but it may be how it photographs.

    Reply
    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yeah, it’s really hard to capture in a picture, since it’s in front of the window. It doesn’t feel crowded at all, though. It feels like a window seat in the space.

      Reply
  20. Sue

    Looks like your cat is happy with your decision! Beautiful home.

    Reply
  21. Jeanna

    An idea, if you did your tufting prior to assemblage of slip cover. I could see this working just use batting on each layer-like an unfinished quilt rat but back buttons with leather so they don’t pull thru. I would use super chunky (1”)piping on edges, sewing thru every 4-5” to simulate tufted edges. This might give you a washable French tufted look.

    Reply
    • Miss Mustard Seed

      Yeah, I’ve thought about making some sort of cover. We’ll see… this solution gives me time to think about it and I know one day it’ll hit me!

      Reply
  22. mary m

    My mother in grade school had sewing once a week. they made samples of everything sewing. My sister had them framed in a long frame. Imagine she my mother was 12 years old at the time. cant imagine a 12 year old today doing such intricate work. I hope you wrote on the back of the framed christening dress all of the information about your christening day. information can get lost so easily.

    Reply
  23. DeAnna

    Just lovely Marian! I have an antique/vintage French iron baby bed that I’ll be using as a day bed. I need to make a mattress and cover for it as well, so I’m looking forward to seeing a tutorial maybe? 🙏🏻 😊 Best, DeAnna

    Reply
  24. Katie Mansfield

    It’s a perfect spot for a cat nap. So cute. You have the best finds on FB Marketplace. Ours in DFW is not good at all.

    Reply
  25. Nancy Chadbourn

    That daybed turned out absolutely perfect!
    I wanted one I found on fb marketplace, but couldn’t get a truck to go to Spring Grove with…bummer now when I see how fab this piece is!!!

    Reply
  26. Jennifer Owen-Kuhn

    I found a bed like this that I wanted to use more as a bench on my three season porch. It just seemed too low to the ground to sit on comfortably- did adding the three inch foam to yours make it be at a normal sitting height? thanks!

    Reply
  27. Mac Kelly

    Thank you for this encouraging post.
    I’m planning to make a one-piece cushion for a vintage caned couch/day bed I found on Facebook Marketplace. Your day bed is different than mine, but the the explanation of the cover you made matches closely to the directions I have. I wonder, though, should the upholstery foam be longer and wider than the dimensions of the cushion space. When the foam is wrapped, I think it will be shorter in length and not as wide as just the foam piece. Does that make sense?

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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