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adventures in reupholstery

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My apologies to anyone who is an actual, professional upholsterer and who will undoubtedly wince at the following post. I am a sewing hack. And I use duct tape when needed.

My sister-in-law found this headboard at a consignment shop with the intention of someday re-doing it in something more suitable for her 7-year-old daughter’s room. Like in pink. And slightly less villa-in-france-in-the-eighties-ish. She enlisted my help because she knows how to make me incredibly happy. Anytime I get to pretend to know what I’m doing in the sewing arena I get something akin to a runner’s high. Without the pesky exercise.

Having only one reupholster job under my belt (my shoddily done sofa which still has safety pins poking out begging me to stitch the cushions closed), I faked an immense amount of confidence in order to convince my sister-in-law to entrust me with this project. I waved my hands a lot while explaining my proposed methodology, which I think helped me get the job. In the end I believe all this fakery and inflated confidence served me well, as I am proud to reveal the new headboard (as long as you don’t turn it around and see the staples and liberal application of duct tape):

My first step was to trace the headboard in order to make a slipcover for it. This was not all that easy as there wasn’t enough fabric to make a true slipcover. Hence the usage of staples and duct tape on the back to pull it taut. Once the slipcover was suitably tight I added the flower button tufts. I have no idea how true upholsterers create tufts. I made these by hammering a nail through the fabric and headboard, pulling the nail out, threading the button and flower onto button thread, pulling the thread through the nail hole with a tapestry needle, and finally securing the threads on the back of the headboard around a washer so I could pull everything tight. Once I got the process down there was minimal swearing.

Now that I have wrapped my head around how to do this I’m ready for the day that my niece decides she doesn’t like pink. Because the next time will be easy peasy… just make a new slipcover and add new buttons! Voila!

p.s. I spelled upholster and all its derivations correctly on the first try. I am amazed by this.


2 responses »

  1. Holy cow, the “before” picture just made my eyeballs bleed. I give your SIL a ton of credit for seeing the potential in that thing!

    I’ve always felt strongly that duct tape is underutilized in the upholstery business. It turned out really cute. Your niece is a lucky kiddo.

  2. So impressive! No one will ever see the back so you don’t have to worry about your hacks being discovered. Welcome back! I craft in waves too ~ I suppose its like a great artist and their muse. You have to wait for inspiration to strike.


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