Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My First Reupholstery Project Part 2 of 4: the Galling-to-Glorious Glider

Part 2 of 4: The back cushion

Let the fun continue! While the seat cushion took me several hours from start to finish, it really wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I took my time and carefully followed each step from Little Blue Boo. After persevering through the first cushion, I felt prepared to take on the reupholstery world! That was, until I took the seam ripper to the back cushion.
EEK! No foam here!

Remember that nice, salvageable, all-in-one-piece foam cushion from the seat? Well, the makers of these cushions decided to throw me a curveball...the back cushion was full of that fluffy stuff (poly fil, I think it's called...I refer to it as "cushion guts"). In a panic, I texted my friend Ashley and my cousin Anna (two sewing gurus in my life) to see how to proceed. "Go buy a new foam insert for it," they both said. That comes a little later.

The reinforced stitching went through the stuffing, so I just used my seam ripper to release it.

I continued with my seam ripper (I'm telling you, that little tool will be your best friend on a project like this!), releasing the outer seams and the button-looking pinched parts that were in the center of the cushion. Here's what it looked like when I got it completely opened:


Once again, I wanted to keep the original fabric under my new fabric to give it that extra layer of durability. In addition to the big chunk of poly fil, there was also a thin layer of it sewn onto the fabric. I decided to leave that layer in place as well. After I separated the two sides of the cushion, I did the exact same thing that I did on the seat cushion...I used the old covers as my templates, cut out my bird fabric, pinned it all together, and sewed it three ways around, leaving the bottom opening to insert the cushion (see above). Finally, I was Jo-Ann bound. I'm so glad I took the cover with me, because I ended up buying Nu-foam that was sold by the yard from a big roll. I was able to buy just enough for this project. (I used a 50% off one item coupon from my Jo-Ann mobile app, which came in handy since this stuff is $23 per yard!) While I was there, I also picked out some cute buttons that matched my bird fabric & added a little more aesthetically-pleasing touch for the center of the cushion. I bought 8 buttons, four for each side, but more on that in a bit...

Nu Foam cut to the shape of the cover

The sheet of Nu Foam I bought was 2 inches thick, but my scissors would only cut half of it at a time. If you run into this problem, just insert your scissors into half the thickness of the foam, cut it, and then go back and cut the other half. One mistake I made was tracing the size of the cushion to the exact same size as the cover. You'll want to cut the foam a little bit smaller than the actual cover or it will bunch up and look lumpy when you slide it inside the cover. I had to go back and trim mine again, finally getting it to the right size, and I sewed the bottom seam closed.

Measure for the new "button" holes

At this point, I've spent 2 days on this back cushion, totaling about 5 hours of work. However, once again, my cushion was looking awesome and I was quite impressed with myself! Then came the buttons...ugh. Let's think about what this cushion consists of at this point. It's my bird fabric, the original fabric, the thin layer of poly fil, the sheet of Nu Foam, and repeat the first 3 materials...my point is, it was THICK! Those nicely-sewn, button-shaped details on the original cushion were evidently done on an industrial machine of sorts. There was no way I could do it with my Singer, so I got out my thick upholstery needle and sewed by hand. My first attempt (after measuring the locations for the buttons on both sides) involved trying to stab my needle through all those layers AND hitting the right hole in a button on BOTH sides of the cushion. Sound impossible? Well, I'm pretty sure that's because it is. I couldn't find a tutorial online to help me with this either, so I consulted with my hubby for a brainstorming session. After a few ideas of "what about this...?" or "how about this...?" we came up with a solution. Forgetting the buttons, I focused on simply sewing the point on the cushion. I was able to go through one side to the other much more easily without the button blocking my view of where the needle was coming through each time. I just went up and down, over and over, pulling the thread taut each time, until I got the desired look I was seeking. Then, I added the buttons to each side. Since the material was already pinched tightly together, I was able to line up my buttons on each side with no trouble. After the first one was done, I moved on to the next one and so on. Once I got the hang of it, it went surprisingly fast!

The finished product!

 Once all my buttons were on, my back cushion was complete! Another amazing feeling of accomplishment washed over me. I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out...I just wish it hadn't taken me 8 hours to do! My next post will "cover" the arm rests. Until then, happy crafting and thanks for stopping by!


  1. You are doing an awesome job. Can't wait to see the final product!

    1. Thanks so much, Sherry! I can't wait to reveal it tomorrow- then the entire nursery!! :)