Cane couch rebirth.

29 March 2014

My cane couch is one of those things that has been with me FOREVER. It was one of the first pieces of furniture I bought ... way back when ... when cream Indian cotton was de rigueur for cane couch covers. My cane couch was trendy ... at the time.

Since those early days, my couch has had a number of transformations at the hands of my trusted upholsterer. And once, I had the cane restored professionally. I do love this couch, you see.

Sadly, these days it is looking dishevelled and despondent. 

Badly sun-bleached, both the fabric and the cane.

Wearing the scars of a small orange moggie's claws.

See those lovely un-sun-bleached colours at the back? That's what the fabric used to look like, many suns ago. Rich black, grey and tan stripe. But, sadly, no more.

Too much sun. Far too much sun in North Queensland last year. And lots of use.

It's time. Well, it's gone waaayyy beyond time.

And now ... I'm thinking ... as the Irish have a tendency to say ... lots of present participles in Irish vernacular.

I'm thinking, I should be able to be doing this myself. All on my ownsome.

I can be sewing. I can be spray painting.

Enough Irish.

I think it's worth a try. Imagine what I could buy in Paris with the money I save!

Yes, Paris ...  later this year. Exciting.

I have the fabric. I bought it from Ikea some time ago. After a little searching, I've found the piping I want at Lincraft

I can do this ... I think.

Not sure about those buttons though. Don't know that I'll use them.

Be brave. Breathe deeply. Think.

Use the old cover as a pattern. Cut it into pieces. Reuse the zips; they're still fine.

Okay, let's do it.

It's always scary when I make that first cut.

But all is going well. The cover from the back cushion is cut and used as a template for my new cover.

The back cushion seems a little less complicated than the seat so it's a great place to begin.

I find the old cushion has been sewn with a thick thread and a larger than average stitch length. So, I ring my local sewing shop for advice. Yes, a stronger thread is needed. Yes, they do have some in stock. Yes, a 100 needle is recommended. So, I jump in PT and do a bit of last minute shopping.

Now, I'm ready to begin. I hope.

First to insert the zip. I find it always easiest to do this before all the seams have been sewn.

I find the centre point of the zip and the centre point of the back cushion piece and work from there.

I decide to do things the sensible way. Baste the seam where the zip will be and then stitch the zip in properly.

My sister will be smiling; she likes sewing tasks to be done correctly.

Normally, I just do a bit of pinning and stitch in the zip, but this is a loonng zip and I want it to look excellent.

I use my piping to set up a guide for my seam width. Washi tape; don't you love it!

I'm now ready to actually sew something!

Piping removed from the machine, I can now baste the seam for the zip.

My trusty old Bernina has a basting stitch which, I find, is fantastic.

Iron open the seam and pin the zip, face down, in place.

And, using my zipper foot, stitch into place with a larger than usual stitch length.


Undo the basting. Taa daa, a fabulous zip, excellently inserted. I'm happy.

Now, for the remainder of the seam and the piping.

I've never inserted piping before but using the zipper foot pushed hard up against the piping, it's not too hard at all.

Turn the finished product through and the back cushion is almost done. Yay!

It needs some buttons, but it's nearly there.

I'm thinking about buttons. I'm thinking multicoloured. I am. And after some thought and another little bit of last-last minute shopping in PT ... multicoloured buttons and a GIANT needle ... the buttoning process can begin.

A double knot at the back of the button.

The GIANT needle.

Memories of "You call that a knife!?!" courtesy of Paul Hogan run through my head.

And it's looking good.

Now, to go through the same process with the seat: use the old as a pattern, zip first, piping ...

The base cushion is a little more complicated as it has more pieces but it's manageable. The tricky part was matching the pattern.

I know my sister is smiling again. Pattern matching. Such fun!

Would have been easier if I'd chosen a plain fabric or an all-over pattern. Note to self!

The pattern matches ... after a LOT of thinking. The final product looks good.

But the chair itself is still sad and despondent. Needs a respray badly.

I can't remove those scratches from a certain orange moggie, but they're a little memory ... like names carved into a school desk.

So, off to Bunnings in PT for, hopefully, the last-last-last minute shopping: marine grade clear gloss and a fancy little contraption that makes spray painting soooo much easier on the fingers.

Two coats later, the cane is honey golden again and I'm FINISHED! Yay!

A much happier cane couch.

Smiling nicely for its photo shoot.

Set for another few years of use.

I love my cane couch.

Catch up again soon,


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