Friday, March 20, 2015

Simple removable cushion covers

On Monday I posted about how exciting it was to finally get real patio furniture. Aside from being extremely happy with the style of the sofa, I was extra excited to try to tackle a new and semi- big project that I'm unfamiliar with. I am by far not a seamstress by trade or anything. The thought of making cushions were pretty scary for me. I've tackled DIY cushion covers for our formal living room sofa before so I was confident I can tackle this project with ease. I promise if you can sew a pillow cover, you can make removable cushion covers. 

For my patio sofa, I estimated I needed about four yards of fabric. I also bought extra fabric to make new cushions and pillow covers for our dining chairs that I bought a while ago. I was able to score a deal on my fabric because I used Hancocks 50% off fabric coupon at Joanns. I ended up spending under $40 for 6.5 yards of thick duck outdoor canvas fabric. So I will be making new cushions for six chairs and the sofa for under $40. Not bad in my opinion. 

Steps to make the top cushions of the sofa

1.  Measure how much fabric you should cut by wrapping your fabric around your cushion. Sew one end shut first and then stuff your cushion inside and measure/mark where you should sew next.  I left the opening in the middle because I wanted to save fabric and make removable cushion covers. 

After sewing the ends together, the cushion cover should look like a open back regular rectangle pillow cover. So far so good right? Nothing hard and impossible to do yet right? I promise its very doable!!!

2. Keep the cushion inside the cover for now. Make an angled fold at the corners and sew it shut. Mark both sides of the fold so when you take the cushion out you still remember where to sew. Do the same fold and mark for all four corners. (I pinned it down just so I can take pictures. No pinning is required). 

3. After marking all four corners, take out the cushion. Sew the marks shut.

Cut off the excess fabric after you've sewed the corner shut.

4. Flip your cover over and you should have four clean corners. Stuff your cushion back inside and jump up and down because you are almost done. At this point, you should have a fitted cushion cover with four corners that look like this:

5. To complete the unfinished missing pieces, I sewed two smaller fabric pieces onto them and made a tie to keep the cushion closed. 

I decided to make the two top cushions this way because its super easy and the cushions didn't really have good shape. I was able to make both cushions in under 20 minutes while my kids were eating their breakfast. 

To make the bottom cushions, it was a little trickier. 

First I doubled my fabric and laid it flat on the floor. Then I put the cushion on top of it and used a regular pen to trace the cushion. My cushion had a little indentation on the corner so I followed that shape also. Cut both pieces of fabric out and put to the side. 

Then for the sides, I measured how thick the cushion was and cut stripes of fabric with a 1.5 inch cushion. So for example, my cushion was 6 inches thick so I cut a 7.5 inch strip of fabric. I sewed the ends of the strips together to get one long continuous strip of fabric.

Finally, I just sewed the pieces together. For the corners it got a little tricky so I just pinned the fabric onto the cushion, marked it and took it off and sewed it. 

For the back layer, I ended up cutting a big square in the back so I can removed the cushion and made a tie just like the top cushions. 

I initially wanted to make my top and bottom cushions using the same technique but the bottom cushions had an indentation that I wanted to keep so doing it this way was better. I highly recommend using the first technique for beginners because its super easy. I copied that technique from here

Our patio sofa sat like this for a whole day until I was able to repaint the wood frame. 

I didn't sand anything. I seriously used the paint brush and dusted off the dirt. LOL 

The back of the sofa had some of the original fabric so I did the biggest no-no in DIY history.. yep… I painted over fabric  :)  I am all about quick and easy DIY so I wasn't planning on removing the original fabric and upholstering so paint will do for now. Plus you can barely see it and when we sit on the sofa, you don't even touch it at all. I used some left over darker gray paint I had and mixed it with white paint to get to my desired color. Its not an exact match but it will work for now. 

I can't wait to find more accessories for our patio. I'm on the lookout for side tables, maybe an outdoor rug, and updating the dining area. 

Project review:  I thought this project was quite easy. I was fortunate to have some left over black and gray paint from previous projects so I only had to spend $30 for the sofa itself and $40 for new fabric. I have been able to use just one quart of black paint for sooo many projects. I have been able to paint Binh's black office desk, DIY office clock, DIY pendant, $5 chair, and now patio sofa. I'm sure I've used it for so many other projects but I can only think of those on the top of my head. I still have just a small amount left so it might be enough for one more little project. Not bad for a $15 quart of Behr paint. 

Heres the before and after:

Total cost was $70 ($30 for the sofa itself and $40 for fabric). I'm one happy girl for a quick and easy makeover. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Next space makeover: backyard

I've been missing lately because I've been cooking up ideas to decorate our backyard on the cheap. The last few weeks we've been busy building a gate for our dogs. My last attempt at decorating our backyard failed miserably because our dogs are just so messy and dirty. Now that we've created a real contained space for them, hopefully I can really start cleaning up our backyard. It works out perfect in time for spring cleaning. The goal for our backyard is to create a simple dining space and outdoor lounge  area with room for the kids to put a small playhouse and ride their scooter/car around.

As I was looking for lounge area inspiration I came across Frontgate's gorgeous outdoor sofa options. I love Frontgate but hate their prices. I stumbled upon the Cassara sofa and fell in love. The Cassara sofa starts at $1400 which was not close to my budget at all even taking away one of the zeros. lol

So fast forward a few weeks as I put the lounge seating ideas on hold, I stumbled upon another great craigslist find for an outdoor sofa with cushions for only $30 in Rancho Cucamonga. The next day that baby was safe in my garage and ready for me to refinish. Construction was still very solid and the cushions were in good shape and just needed to reupholster it. I just LOVE the curves of the arms and the price too but the style was spot on for me. I seriously can't wait to repaint the whole thing and reupholster the cushions.

I estimate four yards of outdoor duck canvas fabric and some left over black paint should give this sofa a great makeover.

Tip: when I shop at Michaels or Joanns I always make sure to wait until the item goes on sale. Fabric at Joanns usually rotate in their sales. For example, thick outdoor duck canvas fabric regular price is $9.99 so using a 40% off coupon sounds reasonable BUT…if you wait until the fabric goes on sale, you can use a 20-25% stackable coupon to get it for cheaper. Last week the canvas fabric was regular price at $9.99 but this week its on sale for $6.99 and I plan to use my 20% coupon to lower the price to $5.60 a yard. Savings of $1.40 doesn't seem much but since I'm planning on buying 6.5 yards I will be saving almost $10. Four yards will be used for the sofa and another 2.5 for the dining chairs I purchased a long time ago.

Another tip: ACE has sample paints for $1 each. Sample paints are perfect for a small chair, simple chandelier, serving tray, or decorative box makeover. A lot of times people think spray paint is the only way to go but paint with a simple brush will work well too. Spray paint is very wasteful so sample paints are a good alternative.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

$5 Chair

A while ago as I was shopping at the local Restore in Pomona, I stumbled across some very sturdy $5 chairs. I texted everyone who I thought might be remotely interested in the chair but not a kind soul wanted to buy it. I on the other hand saw the potential of the sad $5 chair. Fast forward a couple of weeks while it was hidden in my mom's garage I finally had the time to refinish it. Actually, credit goes to my handy Dad. He reupholstered it for me and even brought it back to my house. I left it at my dad's house because he had the air compressor and staple gun there. I did have to buy some outdoor canvas fabric at Mylee (a local fabric store). Long story short, I got the fabric from the budget bins for $1 many moons ago.

First thing that drew me to the chair was the green leather upholstery. I'm quite picky when it comes to my makeovers. I avoid fabric reupholstery at all costs because I feel that its not clean. I can deal with wood furniture and leather stuff because I know I can just wipe it down with sani wipes and repaint/reupholster. My dad actually did the toughest part of the chair makeover which was reupholstering the chair. 

Then once the chair was at my house, I wiped it down with saniwipes, filled the imprinted flower motif with some caulk and painted it over with some left over paint. I felt the flower motif made it look outdated. 

I spent a total of maybe 15 minutes to repaint the whole chair. I was actually on a time crunch because we had to go to my mother in laws house to eat dinner. 

Once we came back from dinner, I reattached the seat to the chair and called it a day. I sanded and repainted the flower motif because you can still see it. It doesn't bother me that much anymore now since the chair feels more updated but it was an easy fix. 

This was our previous set up for Kaley's temporary bed and feeding chair. She's no longer breastfed and doesn't sleep in the playpen so that area got cleared away this weekend. 

Here's the after with our ikea curtains we recently hung up. Note my bedroom is still incomplete. I'm still missing some sort of small table or basket to go with the chair. 

tips on budget makeovers

Paint doesn't have to always cost a lot of money. I used left over paint from my previous project but for this simple chair makeover, a sample size of paint sold for $2-4 would do the trick. What I always do is get the home magazine subscriptions and inside they always have free coupons for a sample size paint. Home magazine subscriptions such as HGTV, martha stewart, etc always have them. I also only get the subscriptions if they are free. I usually score free magazine subscriptions from  or other random places such as deal news. 

Fabric deals are everywhere if you don't need a lot of fabric. Some local places such as Mylee or yardage in Montclair always have great deals on fabric for $1-2 a yard. They always have remnant pieces left from their roll and try to get rid of for cheap. 

Cost breakdown

Chair from Restore $5
black paint- free left over from previous project 
light gray outdoor fabric- $1 

Total $6


Not bad for a quick and easy makeover don't you think?