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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good Source for Temporary Slipcovers: Making Do with

While I am mulling over the definitions of making do and frugality proferred by my readers, I will give you a good source for the kind of making do (in the definite second best sense) necessary for many: slipcovers.

I am the proud owner of two vintage Henredon armchairs of pleasing shape, whose upholstery seems to have been used as scratching posts by millions of cats (of previous owner).* I am also the owner of a very shabby sofa that I got for free. Not exactly free: I bought a sofa, only to see the upholstery fabric disintegrate in less than a year. The seller (cursed be his name: Wes) said that the damage had been done by my cats. Only I didn't have any cats. I girded my frugal loins and called the company; after an investigations, they replaced the sofa and told me just to keep the old one. Thanks!

Now all three reside in my study/guest room/former room of Frugal Son. They are dispiriting to behold. Eventually, I will have slipcovers made for the chairs (at least $250 each, including fabric). Trouble is: I'm not sure where these treasures will end up and the sofa will be history pretty soon, but is useful for the nonce.

Those loosefit slipcovers which are sold everywhere are sooooooo hideous. And frugal me hates spending money on something hideous, not to mention temporary. By chance, I came upon the aptly named site: Ugly Sofa. They sell seconds from Pottery Barn: dropcloth slipcovers, and, even cheaper, the kind with separate pillows.

I bought the dropcloth because they are huge squares of fabric, which means that I can eventually use them as fabric for my "real slipcovers."

Warning: the shipping is very expensive.

Good thing: this seems to be a small family biz. One of their other offerings is Christmas stockings that came with wacky monograms. They cut the tops off and made new cuffs. Ingenious! Frugal!

Verdict: I got yards and yards of nice cotton twill that can be re-used. It doesn't look great (because I am uncoordinated and can't arrange fabric well), but it looks better than what is underneath.

I'm very happy to be making do--in this instance.

And, since I mentioned millions of cats, let me direct you to this children's book, which was a favorite of both Mr FS and his mother, Virginia. It was reprinted when our kids were little and we bought millions of copies to give as gifts.


Duchesse said...

Sounds like you plan to keep and enjoy the armchairs, but maybe not the sofa? But if it is structurally in good shape, new upholstery could transform it. If your children get their own digs, a gift of a sofa is usually welcome; new ones cost the earth.

If you choose fairly neutral upholstery or slips, it would fit with whatever they get.

I've never used loose slipcovers, but they can be a sensible solution if you're not sure about the sofa's future.

Shelley said...

When I moved from Oklahoma to Utah, I had to make a decision about my Grandmother's broken down old furniture. It wasn't worth shipping in the state it was in. My Aunt Rita and I spent a day looking in upmarket furniture stores (including Drexel Heritage, where Grandmother had bought hers in the 1930s) and antique stores. It seemed that I could buy roughly similar pieces for the same price I would pay to have them re-upholstered. So it didn't seem an altogether stupid thing to spend a few thousand to have them fixed, given I would love them far more than any replacement. Twenty years later I'm still enjoying that same upholstery. There was one Queen Anne chair that for some reason I didn't have done; ran out of money I'm guessing. It has lived under my Uncle Bernard's cream coloured woven bedspread all these years. I had loads of help from Rita chosing fabrics...wish I still had her to help me decide about that chair!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--The old pieces are so much better made--well worth recovering. You are lucky to have them.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--The sofa is not of good enough quality to recover--alas--one of my few mistakes in purchasing, in spite of my research.