Fabric and Fluff 2

Following on from my post about the new shape of our Aft Cabin cushions (see Fabric and Fluff ) I thought I would share some pictures of my process for making the covers. Sticking the foam together to create the new shapes was a tedious job as It was only possible to glue one piece at a time. It proved to be vital to push the foam edges firmly together for the whole 5 minute initial drying time and then leave them for half an hour or so before moving on to the next piece.

This shows my attempt to hold several pieces together using tables, chairs and our electric outboard motor batteries.
Inaccurate glue spraying led to this “Werewolf effect” which lasted several days 😉

When the pieces were finally glued together I used them to create pattern pieces for the top and bottom of each cushion. We knew they were a good fit so that part made cutting out the fabric much easier. I followed the instructions from Canvas for Cruisers and cut the top exactly with no seam allowance, but I used a half inch allowance on all the side pieces. For the base pieces I added 4 cm as the zip is 2 cm each side. It is much easier to cut the fabric in half after you have sewn the zip seam. Then if the zip is the same width as the seam allowance it is relatively easy to attach the zip. I would say the result is serviceable rather than professional 😉

I was pleased to find the corners easier this time although I basted several to check they were at the correct angle. Where two sides are both sloping and they meet it can be tricky!

I was very happy with the results installed in our cabin, especially because the stripes lined up to make the bed look a more standard shape as I had intended.

Having slept in the cabin now for several days we can vouch for the increased comfort. Fewer cushions means no gaps and it is a lot easier to make the bed when it is not 7 feet wide! The seat/step works really well and I appreciate not having to jump up onto the bed after a day of boat work 🙂 See Aft cabin step and chainplate progress

Fabric and Fluff

Well here I am looking at the aft cabin cushions again, wondering where to start on re-configuring them for our new cabin arrangement (see Aft Cabin new bed is usable). The original cushions were the first cushions and covers I had ever made, with a new scarily industrial sewing machine (from Sailrite). I checked and re-checked everything with Sailrite videos and my adviser (Canvas for Cruisers by Julie Gifford). When Dave and I finally wrestled them onto the foam (covered with wadding and stockingette as in The Book), it seemed a minor miracle that they looked respectable. They turned out to be very comfortable so I was glad I’d heeded all the advice. But now we need to change them and it seems even more dauting than starting fresh. I have since discovered that rectangular cushions are not easier to cover than weirdly shaped ones, which doesn’t fill me with confidence.

‘When in doubt think about it’ is my motto so I started by leaving them for a while with the new fabric spread out and turned over to check if it had a nap. One of the irritating things about the original fabric was that I had no idea I would need so much so one section was oriented differently leaving a strange line across the cushion due to the unexpected nap. Also the bases had to be a different fabric altogether as both pieces were remnants. The new cushions will be a step up because we have lots of lovely new fabric 🙂 I have industrial remnants this time (available from Emmaus South Manchester) so we have 10 metres and it is very hardwearing as well as fire resistant which is good for piece of mind.

Next I took off the covers and stockingette which was easy, leaving fluffy foam. It took several days of measuring and agonising over the position of a straight edge to take the plunge and cut off a straight line where our new seat will be.

Cushions after left side cut off

Unfortunately we had used spray glue to wrap the foam with wadding for these first cushions, whereas later I realised I could just wrap and stitch it to hold it in place. Ungluing the wadding was mostly ok, except for a few well stuck places where it tried to pull the foam with it so I had to cut it away. The foam sticks together very easily but needs to be free from fluff. We are changing the locker lids under the cushions so we decided to go with two nearly rectangular cushions for more comfortable sleeping. I have now cut small pieces off both large cushions and they are ready to glue together in the new shape. I am pleased that the left over foam should be enough to make a very comfortable cushion for the base of the seat.

Preparation work done – now I need to set up the machine and cut the fabric! I will re-use the zippers as the cushions are still the same length. I think I will fit them across the base this time, rather than along the edge as it was so hard to get the foam into the cover before. It’s not as if they are reversible as the edges slope to fit the cabin walls.