A Christmas Present: An Ottoman Cover

I was trying to figure out when I had made my in-law's first cover for their ottoman. I think it was probably in December 2002 or January 2003 when I first met them. It was pretty simple and barely fit the ottoman, as they had exactly one yard of fabric. I recall I was able to make the cover with only 2 cuts to the fabric (which was good as it was a close fit). Over the last 10 years it has gotten worn a bit (because I'm pretty sure it's was all of their cat's very favorite place to sit as well as additional seating for the house we lovely referred to as grand central station whenever there was a gathering.

So it was really time for a new cover. 

My in-laws have two matching love seats in their living room. They are very nice pieces of furniture, but have a very busy floral pattern on them. This fabric features fall tones of oranges, greens, and burgundy as well as several other less noticeable colors, so the first order of business was to find a simple fabric that would look good with it. I actually got pretty lucky in this search as I had been given the arm chair covers from the love seats ages ago (to use if I wanted, but I hadn't had a project come up yet) so I was able to take along one to the fabric store with me. I was really nervous after I visited the first store and came up absolutely empty handed - not a single fabric there was plain enough or had the absolute correct color in all of the upholstery areas, so I was a bit terrified when I went to my second stop. Lucky for me they had three I thought might work and bonus, all the upholstery fabric was on sale. Then I spotted the most fabulous of fabrics right there on the sales rack! This fabric has a minimal pattern (mostly texture) in a burnt orange fabric with subtle burgundy stripes. Also, bonus this was on sale as well as the discount for the sales area and I had a 15% off my total purchase coupon so I was able to get 3 yards for under $26. Yay!

I know what you're thinking. Three yards for an ottoman! Yes that would be A LOT of fabric or a huge ottoman, but my sister-in-law wanted to make them matching pillows with the fabric as well so everything would be updated and look great together. I wanted to be absolutely sure I had enough fabric for the ottoman and 4 pillows.

I started by making piping out of the arm rest covers I had. (This is the back of the fabric, but you can see it has quite a few colors going on). This is the same way I made all other piping (using twine for the pipe, and a very tight presser foot). I made the strips 2 inches wide as I didn't want to have any issues with holding onto this stuff because all the fabrics are relatively thick.

After that was all created, I cut the top piece of the cover. and sewed the piping to it. (If I were doing this again, I would have sewed the piping to the sides on the top and bottom as I had two sets of piping and it would have been easier, but this worked fine). Once the top was measured, cut and sewed I had my hubby cut open the ottoman's top and re-stuff a portion which had gotten a bit flat over the course of years. With the old cover this would look lumpy, but with this thick/heavy fabric, it makes for a nice flat top. 

Following that, I measured the remaining distance from the top to the floor and then determined where I wanted the second set of piping to fall (as well as the box pleat to start). I like nice length box pleats on furniture, but didn't want it to be all the way to the floor. I made the box pleat skirt the full length from the second piping edge to the floor though as I needed to do a hem on the bottom (and the extra material would be handy for that). 

Box pleats are fairly easy to make. You start by measuring the fabric and determining how wide the box will be. I did one inch inside the pleat, and 3 inch boxes so I used my 3 inch wide quilter's ruler to fold the fabric under for my pinning. Once pinned I ran the whole thing through the sewing machine to set the pleats, then sewed the finished one to the edge of the ottoman cover (so they will definitely not fall out and are even). This also allowed me to make sure the edges of ottoman fall within the box portion of the pleat).

Then I did a standard hem, but trimming the excess fabric (as it lined up with the floor) and turning up the hem all the way around. As it sits on the ottoman the boxes will start to lay a bit more flat (but I did iron them as well to ensure they stay relatively box-y).

I'm hoping my in-laws will love it as much as I do. I think it turned out great!

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