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As I’ve been sharing about the soft furnishings in our living/family room this week, several people have asked about the coexistence of our cats with upholstered and slipcovered pieces.  Having lived with cats most of my life, I know they can be destructive and it was one of my primary reservations when we considered bringing some kittens into our home almost four years ago.  But, my lap was aching for some cats and I enjoyed their company, antics, and humor so much that I was willing to put concerns about our furniture aside.

We gave our cats cardboard scratchers and plenty of toys and engagement early on, so neither one of them are big furniture scratchers.  They even leave our jute rugs alone as well as other textures that cats might naturally be drawn to.  There is a piece that they have favored, specifically Violet.  They like the ottoman in front of our sofa.  You can see in the picture below how it’s become fuzzy and pulled over the years…

making an ottoman slipcover | miss mustard seed

Violet likes to lie next to it and drag herself around the ottoman.  It’s quite funny, but it has clearly been at the expense of the fabric.  It’s been on my list to slipcover for years, so while we had to sewing machines out and the dining room taken over by fabric, threads, bobbins, and the ironing board, my mom and I made a new cover for the ottoman…

making an ottoman slipcover | miss mustard seed

When I bought the fabric for the curtains (you can read about those HERE), I decided to buy up some extra yardage to use for future slipcovers, upholstery, and/or pillows for the room.  I bought the fabric, which is a retired Thibault print, from Fabric Guru and I knew I might not be able to find it in the future.  I’m so glad I bought that extra yardage because it’s become hard to find and expensive when you do find it.  It’s a great woven wool fabric that is perfect for home decor sewing projects and I just love the color and pattern.

making an ottoman slipcover | miss mustard seed

I made a simple ottoman slipcover with a skirt that has kick-pleats at the corners.  The piping got a little wonky, but that’s how all of my slipcovers are.  Good enough, but never perfect.

making an ottoman slipcover | miss mustard seed

The piping is better on this side, so I should turn the ottoman around so the best side is most prominently displayed!  I like to dress my ottomans with a quilt or blanket not only because it looks cozy, but because it helps protect the ottoman/slipcover from feet, spills, etc.  I also like the layered look.

Anyway, t looks so much better and we’re extending the life of this ottoman.  So, will Violet scratch on the newly slipcovered ottoman?  She has left it alone so far, but I’m guessing she’ll still get her claws into it now and then.  But, that’s the nice thing about slipcovers.  If they get stained, scratched, and worn over the years, I can always make a new one when called for.

making an ottoman slipcover | miss mustard seed

I’ve shared before that sewing isn’t my favorite activity.  I really dislike sewing projects to be completely honest!  I feel like I spend half my time ironing, troubleshooting problems with the machines, threading needles, or having to resew sections I sewed when the bobbin thread ran out.  But, I keep doing them because I love that I can make things myself.  I love that I can recover a cat-scratched ottoman or buy a $100 recliner without having to worry about the color and condition of the fabric.  I like making curtains out of fabrics I fall in love with and I like that I can spend my decorating dollars in other places instead of having to pay for custom sewing and upholstery.  Most of the creative work I do is about the process, but with sewing, it’s all about the results.

And, I must say, I love the results and the memory of wanting to throw my sewing machine out the window slowly fades, and then I’m ready to tackle a few more projects…

PS – My most recent book,, is almost half off on Amazon!  It’s filled with practical decorating ideas and projects to customize your house to feel like your uniquely beautiful home.  You can order it .

feels like home book | marian parsons | miss mustard seed

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    1. Nancy Daniels

      So how wound you launder this wool fabric? A soak in Woolite?

    2. Dana

      My mother made my sister, me and a good friend of ours go to summer school when I was about 15 for a sewing class. We all came away with great skills and for that I will always be happy that I gave up a chunk of my summer to learn something new. I made so many pieces of clothing, men’s shirts with embroidered yokes for a boy band, dresses, bathing suits. I even embroidered several v-neck muslin shirts for some silver smith’s and traded them for rings, necklaces and braclets I have made all the curtains for every house I’ve lived in, round table cloths, pillows and countless other things.
      I’m now sewing curtains, etc for my daughters and their homes. And yes, I made sure that they can both use a sewing machine.
      Now, I might have thrown out my sewing machine if I could have a bit of talent painting anything other than walls like you can.

      • JoAnn

        The ottoman looks great. Did you make the tassels for the throw? That adds so much. I learned to sew in 4H growing up and our daughter did also. It’s such a helpful skill. We both enjoy your blog a great deal .

      • DONNA

        Ugggh. I WISH my mom made me go to sewing school. Its something I always wanted to learn but never did.

    3. Irene Kelly

      Well Marian the fact that you do not love to sew amazes me because your results do not show it ! You always do such a professional job with all you do. I I know what you mean about “threading the needle” and winding bobbins on machines but that comes with the process. Seems like wasted time to me but very necessary. I treated myself to a new Brother machine few yrs ago and so glad I did because now I use it more. Please keep up the good work just love your posts !

    4. Tina

      May be time to upgrade to a new sewing machine! I recommend a Juki machine they are well made and a workhorse that can sew just about anything. Oh and even-tempered, not prone to throwing fits like thread breakage or jamming up. Love all your slipcovers wobbles are a part of life and sewing, just proves you are human and not a machine!

    5. mary

      Looks great! there have been many occasions that my sewing machine has been at risk of a hearty toss out the window. You are much better at creating “fitted” items than I am. It’s wonderful that you and your mom can share these projects. Regarding the cats…those tassels on the throw look like wonderful cat toys!!!

    6. Kathy

      Ordered your book. Been following you for years and realize I don’t think things thru very well. Hoping this helps and will be a great addition to my books.

    7. Chris W

      My mother could sew! What a seamstress she was and she said it was so relaxing. Me not so much! I’m like you ready to throw the machine out the window. But when I was young with no money I sewed to make the things I wanted. Now I am retired with not so much income, so I sew to make the things I want!

    8. Lottie

      I don’t think I know anyone that delves into more than you do. You probably get more done in a month than most people do in 6 months. It seems that you just dive in & conquer. I would rather have something done & it work just fine than to keep putting off doing something until I think I can make it perfectly. You are very inspiring.

    9. Michele M.

      A great way to train cats into leaving cloth furniture alone is to spray the furniture with a lavender linen spray. It doesn’t hurt the fabric (hold it far away as not to wet too much) and Bob’s your uncle. They don’t like the smell, we do and they train early to not scratch there. It’s worked for me with 4 cats over the years.

    10. Shelley

      I’m not seeing anything wonky about that ottoman! But then again, I see beauty in the less perfect things.

      I love everything you do, and get great inspiration from your blog. However, I enjoy most of all, the stories of times shared with your mom. As a mother myself, I can tell you first hand how much it means to feel needed and wanted by your children to help with projects.
      I’m sure she is SOooo proud of you! You are a very impressive lady and probably her best friend.

    11. Valerie Wiehe

      Your room has turned out so well. I was wondering about where you found your throw over your ottoman? I really like it. Thank you.

    12. Kim

      I would think that the cats would LOVE to go after those tassels on the throw! It’s wonderful that they are not very destructive cats though. All the cats I know have destroyed their owner’s nice furniture, unfortunately.

      I keep my sewing machine out all the time, ready to go for the slightest fix-it job or bigger project. It’s amazing how often we use it. So glad that I learned how to sew by hand as a young child and on a machine as a young teen. I taught my son and daughter how to sew when they were kids, and nowadays my son has a side job of repairing sewing machines, which he loves to do! I have learned so much about how sewing machines work just by watching him fix things here and there.

    13. Evelyn Rieker

      The tassels on that throw look like a very enticing kitty toy! Maybe they will keep Violet from pulling herself away from the edge of the ottoman.

    14. Lin

      The slipcover looks amazing! I have used your tutorials before for reupholstering and had success. Will you be sharing a tutorial for how you made this slipcover? (fingers crossed)

    15. AA

      I agree with Irene and Tina– you need a new machine! I grew up using my mother’s avocado green Kenmore, and it was always acting up! Always! It wasn’t until later in life when I got my own machine that I realized how enjoyable sewing could be.

      With all your home decor projects, look into getting a machine that has integrated dual feed. In other words, a built-in waling foot. It will make your life So Much Easier when dealing with layers of thick fabric, or delicate lightweight fabric. I have a Pfaff and it’s a workhorse! From lightweight batiste for baby gowns to heavy drapes, it can handle it all.


    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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