Vintage Patio Set Into an Awesome Couch and Chair!




About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^
I haven't had an actual couch in about six months, but when I found this retro patio set at a local thrift store, I had to have it. It's perfect. Plus, at $70, it was really cheap. Yay!

However - two small problems:
#1 - Cushion covers were in bad shape, not to mention outdated and ugly to boot. ;)
#2 - The straps supporting the cushions need to be fixed or replace with something else. I still need to remedy this - any ideas?

Recovering the cushions turned out to be a three day affair and I am so happy with the results. They're gorgeous!

I used this cushion tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew! I modified it quite a bit - I didn't do piping or a handle, so that cut down on total time and materials.

Most of the fabrics I already owned - this was a great way to bust my fabric stash. I think I bought only about $60 worth of supplies for this project. :D

Here's a breakdown of what I did each day - I worked like an assembly line, doing each step with every cushion before moving on to the next. I didn't screw up once, so I think that means I chose the right approach. ;)

Day One

This was cutting day. I used a large cutting mat and a rotary cutter to cut out the pieces. Each cushion is six pieces - four side pieces and two tops. It took a couple hours to cut everything out.

I had to do a lot of measuring. The cushions are a bit mashed from years of wear, so I had to measure them and then determine the size they were originally. I didn't want to make the pattern for the size they are now because chances are that if I had to buy new foam cushions, they'd be too big for the cushion covers. :P

Day Two

This was zipper day. I have never actually used a zipper foot - I've sewed on a zipper before, but that was years ago with a regular presser foot. Needless to say I mangled the first zipper, but I learned quickly!

I used 22 inch "invisible" zippers. Mostly because I like the way they look.

For every cushion, this is the order of steps:
  • cut the longest side piece in half lengthwise
  • baste back together with a 1/2 in seam allowance
  • press the seam open, and press the zipper flat
  • sew both sides of the zipper into the seam by machine
  • handsew both ends of the zipper to the seam, use a whipstitch to make the zipper the right length
  • trim the zippers to fit
  • rip open the middle seam so you can access the zipper

This took most of the day. I started around lunch and kept going until about 10 or 11.

After I had all the zippers in place, I sewed the side pieces (gussets) together to get a head start for the third day. I ended up completing one of the cushions because I couldn't wait to see them. :P

Day Three

Pinning and sewing day. I hate pinning. Hate hate hate pinning. I spent about two hours pinning. :P

It was much quicker sewing than pinning. Even though the corners were a bit rough to sew at first, I got the hang of it pretty quick.

It took about four hours to do seven cushions, which is not bad at all!

So there you go! I'm pretty proud of myself. I think I've officially progressed to the level of advanced sewer. :D



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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you!

    I finally gave this up as my primary couch this year - it makes me a little sad, but I stalled on my progress as far as restoring it. :P

    If you live anywhere near Louisville, you can have this one. Or hey, anyone else looking for one? It's just sitting in my basement now and seems pretty lonely.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Fabrics stores sell a webbing used to replace the straps that you have. The webbing is made out of a burlap like material. It's inexpensive and easy to use.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! I just did that with my two old armchairs. Beats trashing those old things:-) Fun project and so much satisfaction when it's done!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice way to revive a classic mid-century piece! I love Amy Butler fabric.

    Doctor What

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice! I love how you went with different fabrics instead of one solid color. It seemed to catch a vintage feel, while not looking outdated. Be careful. I'm going to steal your couch.

    1 reply

    Thank you. That's what I was going for. :D And you better watch out... Marcello will get you if you try to steal my couch. He's my guard kitty!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    That is super cute, I love your choice of fabrics! For the straps, I personally would try using nylon webbing (sometimes called nylon strapping). It's the stuff you get for backpack straps. It comes in several widths, 2" is probably good for this. I haven't used it for sofa straps so I can't say for sure it would be the best material, but I've used it lots for other things and it wears very well, and doesn't have significant stretch over time.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the suggestion! I think that will work pretty well. Plus, I could get that In a color close to that of the wood - right now, those red straps look very odd peeking out from under the cushions. :P