Jan
25
2010

  Skirt the Ottoman?

I reached a stage of upholstering that requires a pause, and a consideration of how to proceed.

I started on the ottoman (although I got fabric for both the ottoman and a rocking chair) since it is by far the simpler project. I got an old ottoman frame way back when I was buying stuff at auction to furnish this house. Our home was really bare when we first moved in since a lot of our apartment furniture went right to the next apartment we bought, and we only brought the nice stuff down here to Virginia. I think we had a rug, an armchair, and a sofa (once I got it back from Cate's house where I was storing it while we were in NYC). Maybe a lamp. Definitely a card table and folding chairs, which were in the dining room for six months before I found a dining set I liked.

Since I had to furnish an entire house from scratch, and we didn't want the place to look all matchy-matchy like a model home, I decided to shop at auctions. It certainly helped the budget as well. Most of the stuff I got was ready to go (or just needed some TLC and wood conditioner), but sometimes there were oddball things thrown in with different lots. I think I either picked up this ottoman frame as a freebie with some old chairs, or it was one of those items that no one bid on and so the auctioneer started at a dollar and I claimed it.

I originally wanted to cover it in white terrycloth and use it in the master bath next to the tub. We wound up using just as uncovered wood in the bathroom for six years, until we had to move it out to make room for the baby's changing table. We relocated it to the upstairs lounge, where we have a very comfortable sofa, but nowhere to put our feet up.

So I have this frame ready to finish, and also some foam leftover from when we got some for the baby's crib.

I looked around the sewing room to see if I had any muslin, but since I didn't, I just used the remainder of an old sheet that was in my personal fabric recycle bin. This initial covering fabric was necessary since the foam was split, and I needed it all held together before I started the "real" upholstery. Plus you could feel where the two pieces joined until I added a layer of batting atop the foam, between layers of the flannel. But once I got this step done, it felt good.

Here's the project after the good fabric was attached all around. It still just looks like I tossed the fabric over the frame, but it really is attached securely.

After one "test" corner which I had to re-do later, I figured out a decent way to finish the corners.

But it still didn't look quite like I wanted, and the pleats would have been too lose even after I sewed them down. So I pinned the pleats shorter so there is a "pouf" at the top where the foam is. The legs don't look like they are meant to show, and I figure this is probably because the proportions of the ottoman will look best with a skirt.

But I didn't originally imagine this with a skirt (I thought I could get away with a large ribbon trim on the lower half), so I need time to consider my options before proceeding.

I moved the item into the lounge tonight, so I could see it in its intended setting. Sometimes seeing a thing in place makes a decorating idea come to mind. But now that it's here, I think I might need to put up the drapery around the movie screen before I make up my mind about the ottoman. It might also help to straighten the room up a bit. There are boxes and things all around the perimeter, so I can't get a good feel for how the ottoman fits into the room space-wise. If it needs to have a larger visual presence, I'll probably opt for a full gathered skirt, but if it just needs to blend in I'll go with a simple box-pleated skirt.