My mom is Wonder Woman. No joke, I fully believe that after all of my younger brothers and sisters are tucked into bed at night she dons the spandex & leather costume and jets around, solving problems like world peace & hunger in Africa. My mom is awesome like that, and she rocks a mean headband!
You practically HAVE to be Wonder Woman to sew clothes for a family of 14. You heard right! I have 11 brothers and sisters (1 older, 10 younger), and plenty of memories of my mom tucking & pinning material around my squirming, goose-bumped young body for yet another Easter dress. Not only did my mom sew all 12 of our Easter outfits & Christmas Eve jammies every year, she sewed her own dresses, quilts, samplers, and tablecloths. “Home Ec” for all 12 of our little homeschooled butts involved painstaking hand-pieced quilts, cross-stitch samplers, doll clothes and enough crocheted potholders for a bevy of housewives.
So, when I realized that my ottoman slipcover could NOT be DIY-ed with safety pins (so sad!), it was only natural that I turn to my mom for guidance. Last Saturday afternoon I packed up my new sewing machine, needles and thread still in their crisp plastic packages, the ottoman in question and my puppy Cruiser, and headed over to my mom & dad’s house.
We ended up breaking the project down over two days, and yes, there was chocolate involved!
STEP 1: Get an ugly ottoman.
STEP 2: Pick out your material. My mom & I went to Joanne Fabrics and scored a thick upholstery brocade on clearance for $8/yard. Not only was it on clearance, but all clearance material was an additional 50%-off! We didn’t even realize that until the cashier gave us our total and we thought he had forgotten to ring something up. Love it when that happens!
STEP 3: Measure and cut out your pieces. This step involved some mental contortions between the two of us, as we had to fit all the pieces into the 3 yards of material. Math is not our strong point! We cut the side pieces a few inches too long as a step further down is to flip the edges under into a tunnel and run a drawstring through.
STEP 4: Serge the edges. You can skip this step if your material doesn’t have ravely edges- mine was unraveling all over the place so I threw it on my mom’s serger and stitched the edges right up!
STEP 5: Pin your pieces rightside-in. The back of your material should be facing out. We would pin one side together, stitch it, pin another side, stitch it, pin another side, stitch it, etc. Pinning everything at once makes your project a little bulky and harder to maneuver through the sewing machine.
One pin every 6 inches or so seemed to be sufficient.
STEP 6: Sew your edges together. We started by sewing each of the four sides onto the top rectangle, and then sewed the edges of the four sides together. Between stitching each edge we would try the slipcover on the ottoman to make sure it was fitting right with no looseness or bulging.
(I may look normal in this picture, but the majority of the time I was at the machine I gleefully sang at the top of my lungs. Katy Perry is a great distraction during mindless tasks, like working out or, apparently, sewing.)
Your seams should look nice & even like this when you flip the material over:
Here’s how it looked after we sewed our first corner together and tried it on:
STEP 7: Try the the slipcover on the ottoman.
(that’s Cruiser investigating in the background. My mom was on photography duty for this portion- she’s not familiar with iPhone cameras, hence the blurry photos LOL)
If your corners look like this, congrats, you did it right!
STEP 8: Address the drawstring. Since I want this slipcover to have a tight, tailored look while still being 100% removable, I decided that a drawstring underneath would keep it firmly in place while being more removable than, say, stapling the fabric underneath. If you don’t ever intend to remove the slipcover, by all means, skip this step and use staples! We flipped the ottoman over with the slipcover still on it and tucked & pinned the extra material under. Then it was back to the sewing machine for the final seam! We had about two inches tucked up all around. Make sure you leave an opening a couple inches wide for the cord to fit through.
Here’s where it got sticky. First I ran a plastic cord all the way through the casing, then we put the slipcover back on the ottoman, flipped it over and pulled the drawstring tight- and the cord snapped. UGH. So we ran to Walgreens where I picked up 100′ of nylon rope for $5, and some chocolate therapy. Reese’s Cups make everything better! The rope & sugar fix did the trick, and we were done!
STEP 9: Enjoy the ottoman!
My beautiful mom!
The pic is blurry but we’re still adorable, and we know it.
Cruiser approves of the new ottoman cover.
Ottoman Slipcover Budget Breakdown:
- $12 – 3 yards of material at $4/yard, Joanne’s
- $2 – upholstery thread, Joanne’s
- $3 – pack of larger needles in case the one in my machine broke in the thick material, Joanne’s
- $1 – nylon cord ($5 but mom bought what I didn’t use), Walgreens
TOTAL: $18!! Instead of buying a whole new ottoman, I fixed the one I already had. That is the ultimate recycling project!
BEFORE & AFTER
It’s a huge improvement and I couldn’t be happier! What do you think of the update?