I spent a recent afternoon measuring, marking, stitching, measuring again, cursing, tying, threading and cursing.
A couple of years ago I found 3 matching pale blue leather “skins” on etsy and happily imported them. And put them in a zip up bag with pictures of ice creams on it and ignored them.
About THIRTEEN years ago, I bought a fat quarter of Liberty’s fabulous Ianthe fabric from a shop that has since been closed down and demolished.
I have a coffee table in a fairly offensively orangey stained pine and I decided about a month ago to make a leather button tufted cushion with Ianthe buttons for it, to turn it into one of those wanky footstool ottoman things you can still rest a tray on…
So with all of my tufting experience (that is, zero), I gathered the fruits of my undisturbed stash of delights, bought some foam and some coverable buttons, did a billion drawings, watched a couple of tutorial videos on YouTube and got to it.
You’ll also need, foam, strong leather working thread, a variety of needles, coverable buttons, normal buttons, beeswax, thread, leather, a sewing machine wash tape, scissors, lining fabric, lovely fabric, a world of patience and no problem with the sight of your own blood or the sensation of stabbing yourself repeatedly. You will also need an elaborate, dramatic and extensive collection of swearwords. Here’s the guide….
STEP 1 – Scrawl incorrect measurements onto a piece of pre cut foam. Swear. Scrawl correct measurements onto piece of pre cut foam.
STEP 2 – Join two skins together with washi tape, sew them together and scrawl some measurements onto them. (2cm bigger both ways than the squares on the foam)
STEP 3 – Cover buttons with beautiful yet sadly delicate fabric. This is Ianthe by Liberty and it looks great on blue.
STEP 4 – Do complicated knotty thing copied from YouTube video. Puff up with some pride at impressive nature of sudden expertise.
STEP 5 – Do this bit. Try not to weep too excessively when leather tears and breaks in your fat fingers of ineptitude. Honestly I thought this would be the most fun bit – It really wasn’t.
STEP 6 – Nor was this. Attempt to add sharp folds into the leather so that it looks nice. I used a lolly stick. It meant I had to eat a lolly for practical reasons.
STEP 8 – Add buttons. Consider not adding a base, not adding all of the buttons and spend a long time watching iPlayer and drinking tea instead of working on it at all.
The fact I have a Chesterfield sofa in the same room puts it to some shame, but the fact that I have a designer’s head, one that says, “ruin one skin, you’ll never find another in the right colour to match” and “could you just measure that again, idiot?” means that I now have a serviceably pretty thing.
I regret not waiting for a wooden base. I got impatient and thought tying it all up together taut at the back would do (no)… But other than that, I am very happy. VERY. All it needs now is a bit more stitching, a proper fabric base and some more cursing and I’m done….there will be evidence.
Keep your stashes. Trust them and the part of your brain that required them. The bits you love may find a way to be useful eventually…