DIY upholstery: finished sofa!
If you missed the first half of this project, here is the sofa being stripped and reupholstered.
Below is a photo of when you last saw it… (and also the point at which I realized I had failed to factor in matching trim to my fabric choice.)
Then! Because you people
are so helpful are bored at work and want to be entertained… some of you wanted to shame me into DIY-ing my own matching, double-welt trim.
You know who you are.
You specified things like “bias” and “zipper foot.” And I was all – they think I do not I don’t know these things!
(I totally know these things!)
After all, I am a descendant of the people’s worker! And if THAT does not convince you, let me also point out that my mother is a woman who can sew a circle skirt (bias) OF PLAID FABRIC (mathmatical-probability-theory of plaid-matching and differential-equations.)
Then you took the welt-shaming one step further: by acting like I wouldn’t want to stab myself 12 feet into the 100 yards of sewing back-and-forth… and that rather! I would find it a soothing activity of productivity and thrift!
So I was like– FINE. I WILL WELT.
Heaven forbid that strangers on the internet are not impressed with BOTH my frugal-furniture-acquisition, AND the ease with which I breezily churn out miles of pristine upholstery trim; unmarred by fabric-puckering-and-broken-sewing-machine-needles-and-the-maddening-snarl-of-when-the-bobbin-randomly-decides-to-spit-all-the-thread-into-a-matted-tangle-of-project-destroying-fury… again and again and again. FOR NO REASON AT ALL. (Other than because it is possessed.)
And you want to just keep sewing right through the mess – as the machine binds and binds and binds– because you are gritting your teeth with rage and just want to exert your will over this stupid thing because THE BOBBIN TENSION HAS BEEN FINE FOR THE LAST 50 FEET, WHY ARE YOU BREAKING NOW? I WILL SHOW YOU WHO’S BOSS.
And the machine is like LOL. Nope. #nottheboss
So! Yes! For sure! Welting sounds totally awesome and exactly how I want to spend 57 hours of my life in exchange for the meager approval of people who will consume this post in less than five seconds and probably only look at the photos.
Fortunately, I remembered my saving grace: welting is not authentic to the age of this furniture.
Original trim on Victorian furniture would have been similar to modern gimp, (or if prior to 1850, more like a textured ribbon than woven cording.)
So I went back to the passementerie/soutache/gimp drawing-board.
*Insert intermission while I open 47,689 Etsy tabs.*
I thought I might get lucky and find some treasure trove of old-stock antique trim, but eventually I resigned myself to something new… The vintage stuff is BEAUTIFUL. But A– I need a LOT. And B– even MY foolish, detail-loving heart thinks it is idiotic to spend $1,000 on trim.
Also can someone please explain why everyone on Etsy has “acquired a wonderful collection of old stock French trims that are all in very nice condition and unused.”
Meanwhile, I myself have never once stumbled across boxes of old French trim just lying around in the street. WHY? So irritating!
Then after 457,823 hours of looking, I chose this one… it was $20 for ALL I NEEDED. And on top of that I actually really like it!
In closing, (if you care about such things) you can see the evolution of this room in the post where I sold the Restoration Hardware sofa … and for posterity’s sake, I also sold the petite orange velvet sofa that I got at my first auction.
Edited to answer about the coffee table… it’s old, RH. Discontinued. I got mine on CL (of course) so check yours! I couldn’t find a good dupe, but this one has legs that are similarly turned (it’s cheap, so could be great or horrible!) and this one’s scale looks closer to mine, but is pricey!
SEE ALL MY FAVORITE CRAIGSLIST FINDS
February 28, 2017 @ 10:07 am
It turned out nice! I like it!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:09 am
OMG I so love your blog posts! They really make me laugh. (with you, not at you) (well, not all the time anyway) Thanks for a bit of fun!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:13 am
You have so many beautiful Victorian antiques. A good eye and being resourceful…also a good husband who helps and is patient. I love getting your latest updates. Soon, give us a video “tour” of your home. It appears you have good taste and it would be inspiring and also initiate “envy” on MY part! Also you are SO FUNNY!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:15 am
I absolutely love the way the room has come together, that sofa was so worth it and the colour dove grey, well can’t imagine anything else once I saw it. Well done Paul (and you)
February 28, 2017 @ 10:15 am
Hilarious, as always. The sofa looks great.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:17 am
It (the sofa) and the whole room now look fabulous and complimentary. Great job all around.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:17 am
It looks beautiful, and as a woman who sews, I applaud your choice of not welting. There are things meant for outsourcing.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:19 am
Looks wonderful! You did a great job!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:21 am
First..the end result is boo-u-tee-full But cmon..where do you Guys actually sit? When you’re not growing your own food,rebuilding your old house,adopting and standing out in the cold and disdain of heartless passers by who won’t stop and sign the $%& petition for abused animals..
You gotta have a chair that’s comfy? or are you complete ascetics? Now I’m really impressed…
AnyHoo you forgot to mention if Floofiness is still in Residence,have you begun the Garden,and any sign of the Dahlias emerging? Here in Virginia,its 80! one day and 55 the next?? So our plants are blooming like crazy and then shivering their leaves off through the cold cold nights. And lastly and most important! More Dancing…..Some Dancing? Please……..? Oh….and where did you get that fantastic coffee table?????
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
February 28, 2017 @ 11:16 am
Comfort is for other people… also this way ensures that guests do not overstay their welcome.
We DID start putting the Dahlias in! It was amazing here last weekend– in the 70’s! (which I only enjoyed while briefly forgetting that it means the polar bears are struggling!) I don’t know how soon dahlias will sprout, this is BY FAR the earliest we’ve ever gotten them in. Fingers crossed for no random snow storm!
Coffee table = craigslist (of course!)
February 28, 2017 @ 10:23 am
Have you blogged about the floor in that room? What species of wood? Did you finish it yourself? How wide are the planks?
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
February 28, 2017 @ 10:33 am
Floor is naildown 2″ red oak… probably from the early 1900’s… lots of Victorian homes have this same floor over the original random-width boards that would have been standard with the house in late 1800’s… I guess the fashion changed to a more uniform appearance?
We did not refinish ourselves… it’s the ONE THING Paul outsources… it’s really an art form and he doesn’t do it enough to feel mastery. The only part I wrote about was refinishing the front porch (which was a nightmare, and may contain important info if you are considering DIY)
February 28, 2017 @ 11:23 am
LOL on “angry-stain-guy”. I have my own version of that here as we endeavor to repurpose actual trees into flooring. We are not far into the process, as the logs are at the sawmill, cut into planks, and in the dryer.
We are feeling pretty smug about our decision to frugally turn these Ash trees that had been killed by the Emerald Ash borer into flooring. I hope that is not a decision we come to regret.
Ash grain looks somewhat like oak, which is why I asked about your floor. Right now it it appears quite pale and bland, so I suspect I will be entering some a stain purgatory of sorts sometime soon. FWIW on our last floor endeavor we used this stuff as a top coat and it turned out beautifully http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/All-Products/Paints-Coatings-Wood-Stains-Sealers/Bioshield-Hard-Oil
March 31, 2017 @ 3:07 pm
I’m about to purchase a house with top-nailed wood flooring and I was told that it couldn’t be refinished, it had to be replaced. Who did you contract? The house is in SE PA.
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
April 1, 2017 @ 8:42 am
that’s nuts… unless there is an underlying issue.
Like the floor has been sanded tooooo many times? Or it’s not a true hardwood– meaning they make some now that is a thin sliver of hardwood over composite. I don’t know any of those are actually top nailed, but I’ve seen people do some crazy stuff!
Did you ask the person who told you it had to be replaced what the issue was? It’s not hard to find someone to refinish topnailed floors! (Although once you find someone local, ask for references! especially ones you can go see in person!) We had a local guy who does not travel (my aunt in Bucks County asked him for an estimate, but he wouldn’t travel that far)
February 28, 2017 @ 10:27 am
Nice. Glad it is done. Please post more often. I am addicted and need my VEB fix more frequently than I am getting it. I am sure you understand.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:28 am
It’s gorgeous, not that I would expect any less! But, no cat pictures???
February 28, 2017 @ 10:30 am
Another hilarious post and beautiful outcome on this project. I’m hoping to see this all turned into a book and a movie one day soon.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:34 am
There should be a possessed-bobbin support group. I am so relieved to know that I am not alone in this struggle.
March 3, 2017 @ 10:32 pm
my bobbins are ok, it is the winder! seriously I must have the only bobbin winder in the history of sewing machines that tangles thread. I have to HAND WIND!!! Unless I take my bobbins to a friends house for loading. Which is great for black and white, but leaves me in the lurch for actual projects.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:36 am
Sewing machines are either instruments of the Devil or their tension controls were created to keep the thread industry in business. Love the completed project so get out there and buy something new and blog as I am fascinated by Philadelphia’s antique offerings which are so grand compared to the Midwest’s primitives and mid-century humdrum fare. Or just post some foster cats please.
February 28, 2017 @ 3:04 pm
Last week my Bernina started talking back to me and I swore I’d get a new one. Until I looked at the prices! Oh My! But then my DIL sent me links on selling my current Bernina and asked how old it is. I dug out the receipt, it’s rising THIRTY YEARS OLD! No wonder it’s getting tired! Anyway, in light of it’s dedicated service (and the price of a new machine), I will take it in for a professional facelift and massage. Maybe it’ll last me another 10 years.
March 1, 2017 @ 6:50 am
Mine too. I have a Bernina that I adore. My hubster bought it for me 22 years ago from the Bernina dealer. It was a trade in, only being one year old, so that makes it 23 years old. I was shocked because he is very frugal and does not like to spend money. Even then, it struck me as crazy expensive, but I did not complain. I have sewn clothing for the children, reupholstered 3 sofa, made boat seat covers, made countless drapes, totes, etc. Suddenly, while on a hard deadline, my reverse feed died and my tension went. I unplugged it with the ides of getting it repaired. I tried it the next day, and it worked. I am going to try and get 3 sets of drapes out of it, and then take it in for maintenance. They are total workhorses, with all metal parts, things you just don’t see anymore. Okay, I do secretly lust after the new ones that do embroidery, but they cost as much as a small used car. Sigh.
February 28, 2017 @ 10:43 am
Beautiful job! Your patience paid off. Still can’t wait to see a reveal of your (what I know will be) awesome kitchen!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:45 am
Beautiful! Great job! How is the kitchen coming?
March 5, 2017 @ 9:26 pm
I have a sneaking suspicion that the KITCHEN is hiding modestly behind a huge red velvet Victorian Curtain due to a major difficulty with her Costume– that must combine utilitarian efficiency with all the Glorious elegant excess of the Victorian Age.
Finding such an amalgamation at less than a King’s ransom can not be super simple….no matter that the VEB and the Paul are Geniuses. I am patiently awaiting the KITCHEN Finale..and I demand? request politely for Dancing,a glass of Champagne and formal attire!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:47 am
Beautiful — would expect no less from you! The trim is perfect. From my experience — I get those string globs on the back of sewing when I either need to change the needle (if there is even a small snag on the needle from hitting a pin or just getting old, it will do that), the bobbin is not thread properly, or the foot is not down 🙂 Can’t wait to see your next project!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:48 am
PERFECTION! I meant to weight in after reading your original post, but didn’t get around to it. But that’s exactly what I would’ve done OR used fabric dye to match the same subtle gray! Would’ve experimented with small pieces to get the color right and Ta Da! I’m so disappointed you made it so EASY! LOL 457,823 hrs is not a bad investment when you have nothing else to do with your time! 😉 Thanks for sharing! Love your humor as usual! BTW Do you know they make sprayable fabric dye now? Well of course you did! I’ve used it, it’s the bomb…but I redyed the fabric on two (cheap) foot stools (curb diver finds) by mixing my own. The fabric was ‘dirty’ ivory so I used a small amount of black powder Ritz dye and sponged it on. Wa La! Like magic! like new!! 🙂 Thanks for the smiles today!! God bless!
February 28, 2017 @ 10:51 am
For the curious among us who have the desire, but maybe not the energy, to do projects like this, how do you find the time? Do you have a day job? I can’t accomplish anything after 9 hours in front of a computer. Tell me your magical secret of seeming endless productivity!
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
February 28, 2017 @ 11:11 am
This is my equation:
have Paul do hard part + me procrastinate/agonize over options + have guests = last minute trim rampage.
If I seem productive, I have fooled you! The secret is Paul… we both have real jobs (sad face!) he does all the hard work, and the man is a project MACHINE… even though the trim was irritating (and included the fun sport of third-degree burns from the hot glue gun) I was motivated to dedicate Saturday am/afternoon because we were having people over.
February 28, 2017 @ 8:23 pm
My dear Victoria! You now have a friend who is a professional, full time, master upholster. I live in Ellicott City, MDand can be reached anytime through social media, cell phone, usps,and the occasional road trip. Please feel free to gooogle me and see my work. My advice is free. I am a fellow scrounger, Craigslist and flea market lover . I have rehabbed many a home on both coasts and I appreciate all your Efforts, trials, and tribulations. God bless your hubby and keep on thrifting! Feel free to call!
March 1, 2017 @ 6:52 am
My secret is coffee. Lots of it. I have a cappuccino machine and I am not afraid to use it.