Adventures in Dumpster Diving

27 Jul

Okay, I’ve never been a huge dumpster-diver before.  However, this year when the students packed up their apartments and threw out all their furniture, I felt differently.  Maybe it was because I was, for the first time, not pregnant and gagging at the thought of college dude furniture.  Not entirely sure, but this year my hub and I had a blast grabbing all sorts of junk that we have cleaned, spruced and now put to good use.  This is the first, a swivel rocker chair that is now, thanks to a new cushion and a couple of screws, very comfy and cozy!

Here’s the only before shot I took because I didn’t bring the nasty cushion into the house until I was ready to rip it up.  (Also- pardon the floors, our house is being ripped up in the room all these shots are taken! )


In case you feel the need to replace nasty college dude cushions in your house…

(if you have them, please do!)

(And if you are a college dude, consider vacuuming your couch and all other cushions.  Once a year would be acceptable, but 2-3 times a year would be greatly appreciated!

thanks- your neighborhood dumpster diver)

… here’s what I did:

First I cut open cushion cover to determine that the actual cushion truly was heinous.

Then I purchased a new 2 inch (or thicker) foam cushion from my  local craft supply store.  Be sure to use one of their coupons found on website, newspaper, or in their store- look for the sale ad.  The large cushion I bought was not very cheap, but with coupon it was about $20.  While you’re there, purchase the fabric to cover it if you don’t already have that. For this chair I needed two yards.

Next, bring it home and unroll ‘er!  Place it on the chair for fitting and cutting.  Like this:

Then, I literally took a knife to the foam to cut it to the curve of the chair on the top and bottom edges.  Use scissors to soften the new cut edges as needed.

After your cushion has been cut to the appropriate shape, simply lay it on top of your fabric which is folded in half.   (This way when you cut it you will have two, a front and back)

Trace with a fabric marker.

Then you need to determine how much farther out to draw your cut line.  First measure how thick your cushion is and divide the number in half and subtract 1/4 in.  (My cushion was 2 inches, so half of that is 1 inch, minus 1/4 inch is 3/4 inch.)  Add that number to however much inseam you like (I like 1/2 inch, but a lot of people use a 5/8 inch inseam), and your total number should be added to your trace line and that becomes your cut line.  So – my cut line, with 3/4 inch for cushion and 1/2 inch for inseam, meant I measured out 1.25 inches from my traced line.

*Note- I subtract that 1/4 inch from the cushion measurement so that the cover fits snugly, and not loosey-goosey… consequently, it is tricky to get the cushion in, but definitely worth it!  Your fabric will stretch over time too, so it’s pretty important for it to be super snug.*

Now you’re ready to Upholster!

Cut your fabric and sew it to the inseam measurement you chose.  I did not put a zipper in this cover (because I’m lazy) but that would be a good idea and you’ll want to add that before you sew it all up (here’s a basic tutorial on that).  Or you can do it like me and sew it up leaving a hole to slip-stitch shut after it’s turned right-side-out.

Don’t forget to clip your seams on the curves and corners, and press for smooth seams.

Flip right-side-out and stuff cushion into cover.  Slip-stitch shut if you didn’t add a zipper.

Boom.  You’re done.

Here’s my finished chair in a cozy corner under our stairs…

(don’t be distracted by gross floors! That chair is cute! And super comfy to boot!)

And here’s a close up of my totally imperfect sewing job – just so no one gets too uptight over here!  jk.

So, let’s hear it!  Anyone else a dumpster-diver?  Anyone have some re-upholstery jobs they’ve been sitting on?


4 Responses to “Adventures in Dumpster Diving”

  1. grace July 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    Nice job Bethany!


  1. Cup-O-Joe for your Monday morning! « Clothed in Scarlet - August 2, 2010

    […] going to go in the little nook under my stairs where I have the swivel rocker I showed you over in this post, and I’m sure when all that happens I’ll be blogging away the […]

  2. Adventures in Dumpster Diving: take two « Clothed in Scarlet - August 27, 2010

    […] 27 Aug While this here shelf may not be a bona-fide “dumpster dive,” it was free off of Craigslist, so I figure it still qualifies.  And in case you missed out on the fun last time, you can read the first adventure in dumpster diving right here. […]

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    […] before that I plan on having the hubs build me a mini-parsons desk for the nook in which the swivel rocker presently resides.  It’s all true, and now that we have cable internet installed and the […]

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