how to: darn that darn sofa

February 16th, 2009

Years ago the piping on one of my sofa cushions blew out. I’d long ago forgotten until the kid’s spilled something on that cushion at a time when I couldn’t just toss it into the wash, and so I turned it over, rediscovering the blow out. This is a sofa I’ve had since college, so I would not feel terrible donating it in exchange for a new one, except it is tax time. At a certain point in my life – marked by the change in flow of money at this time of year from into my pockets to into the govt’s pockets – I began finding it especially hard to part with the cash for major investments at this time of year. Not because it wasn’t dutifully saved for these occasions, but because, come on, I’ve barely graduated from thinking $100 is all the money in the world. Taxes + a new sofa would keep me awake with spender’s remorse for months. So, feeling especially victorian in my thriftiness, and encouraged by the upcycling in volume 9 of Craftzine, I decided to suck it up and darn that darned sofa.

Here we go –
Using a seam ripper, I ripped the remaining seam through the blow out, beginning from about 1cm beyond on either side.

I measured the new hole. Cut matching fabric about 1/2 inch longer than the hole. Most piping requires a 1 inch wide piece of fabric cut to 1/2 inch beyond the length of the hole.
So, no, purple velvet doesn’t match the faded cushion cover, but it was as close as I could get, had it on hand, and in natural light it blends.

Overlapping the 1cm old edge, I folded the raw ends of my patch fabric back to make clean edges, then pinned in place. The piping rope seats in the apex of this swatch – when folded across the width – so once secured, I tested that when folded over the rope, the raw edges across the length matched. I sewed one side of the patch to the old fabric, following the original sewing line.

With my fingers, I pressed the piping rope into the swatch, folded the swatch over, and pinned the rope as tightly into the apex of the fold as possible. Sewed closed. I made two passes to get the piping tight – the first was basically tacking so that I could remove the pins and focus on sewing against the rope. It would have been smart to use my zipper foot – duh.

Finally, I sewed the hole closed (right side of sofa cushion fabric to seam of piping).

Voila! Tres victorian!