Thursday, July 23, 2009

Upholstering, Part 3

Third class in the series. Time to stuff the ottoman. Start with cotton batting. Spray some glue, called #313 (memory fails me, it was 2 days ago). Place cotton batting evenly across the top, filling in all the spaces, don't over stuff. Next, a large square of foam. First, spray around the sides, at the top, using heavier spray glue (#76?). And spray the upper half of all 4 sides of the foam. Wait a few minutes till the glue is tacky to the touch. Now, pull the glue edge of the foam down over itself and apply it to the glue covered sides. The foam stretches to accommodate this maneuver! The end result is the foam curving over the edges and stuck around all 4 sides onto the ottoman. Now cover the entire top with a large square of dacron, staple it down and trim the edges. When doing the corners, don't let the dacron fold, make it a wrap around with no pleats. Staple, staple, staple!

Time to cut the fabric. Big moment. Lay it out on these nice large tables. Using a square, mark the fabric so you are cutting straight. Cut a 24" x 24" square. My scissors could have been a tad sharper, it felt like I had to really put some oomph into the cutting.

Take your newly cut square back to the ottoman and do a 4 point staple job - one staple in the center of each side. Make sure you are PULLING fabric tight! You want a firm feel on the top. You are watching the edge of the foam covered side to gauge your tension. Even tension! Start stapling on all sides, leaving about 2" at each end. This is so you can do a neat pleated fold later on.

How did I do? Well, first time out it was too loose. Pulled all the staples and started over. I am getting good at staple removal. A new skill! Hee. Second time around, with some help from the instructor, I saw how tight it needed to be. My right wrist was sore - carpal tunnel sore - from the effort. Whew! I am not as strong as I used to be. This took some serious physical effort on my part. But I got it done.

Then the instructor told me one side was a bit sloppy. I had pulled unevenly so it left the side feeling ridged - lumpy like. I pulled out the staples on that side and redid it. Now my wrist was really hurting.

Time to make the corners. This, like the foxface stage, was particularly vexing for me. I made several attempts, but in all cases the pleated fold was 'too high'. The idea is to pull that corner piece of fabric down hard, at a 45 degree angle till you see the foam give to the pressure. Then apply two staples on right angles to each other, to tack down the fabric. Now you fold the flap over, and before you tack it down, cut the inside triangle out. This is meant to reduce the bulkiness on the corner fold.

Now, the goal is to have the front and back sides of this ottoman with folds facing out. I worked the first two, with help from the instructor. Then as I was working the first corner on the back, after multiple attempts to get the fabric pulled down right, I made a near FATAL error. My brain did a dyslexic thing and I CUT THE WRONG PART of that triangle! EEEP! I realized as soon as I made the cut (about 2.5 inches up), it was just wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. I had cut into the part of the fabric that should have been visible.

Frightened to tell the instructor, who was busy sewing some edge cords for all of us, I approached him and said, "I think I may have made a huge mistake". I waited for him to finish his sewing and when he came over, he told me I was "seriously fucked". Oh boy. My options, according to him, would be to fold this piece in the opposite direction (and thus ruin any chances of this ottoman looking halfway decent) or cut another piece of fabric. I told him, "Wow, I've had a pretty rough day as it is, I hate these choices, both of them are really upsetting me and I might have to go home and cry!" To which he said, "hold on, let me see something." Next thing I know, he pulls the ruler out, does some quick measuring, rips out some staples and bing, bang, boom, he fixed the mistake and hid it under the fold.

What he did, which I cannot do because of my inexperience, was pulled the fabric over just enough so the cut was hidden under the fold. Relief! Thank you thank you thank you.

Next week we finish the sides. Despite the near calamity, the ottoman is looking pretty decent! I will take my camera to class to document the final stage.


Katie M. said...

So glad disaster was averted! It's amazing what a little (or a lot) of experience can fix.

Oiyi said...

I can't wait to see the finished piece. This is such a cool class you are taking.

Knitting Belle said...

Whoa, this is so exciting. I never know what's going to happen in the class. It seems to turn out well, in the end. I too, am waiting for the finished pics.