It all started when my son Greg transferred to the University of North Texas and arranged to room with some friends. They found a great old home which, I am sure, has housed endless gaggles of college students over a period of decades. It’s full of character and possible fire hazards but hey, if it hasn’t burned down in all these years it probably isn’t going to, right?
My favorite feature in the whole house is a window seat in the oversized dining room. I’ve always loved window seats, and when I saw this one I promptly offered to make a cushion for it. Last Sunday Brent and I went up there to visit, and found the guys had painted their dining room a warm, cheerful yellow. Greg reminded me about the cushion for the window seat, so I got myself to the fabric store on Monday. Since the room already has a striped sofa, I decided to avoid stripes. I had dreams of a bold print incorporating green, dark red and just a touch of sunny yellow, but I didn’t want to use floral. Not for a bunch of guys. No stripes, no florals. After two hours I ended up with a length of solid dark green twill, pretty much the color of canned spinach, to cover the 6½-foot chunk of high-density foam that I found on sale for 50% off. (A good thing, too. Judging from the regular price I can only guess that foam has recently made the endangered species list).
For your future reference, most fabrics WILL NOT SLIDE over foam rubber. So I used an old sheet for an inner cover. I pinned it into place first, scratching my fingers multiple times as the foam resisted and boinged the pins right back at me. Then I tried to use the sewing machine to stitch close to the edge of the foam. I didn’t get very far before the machine jammed, I strained my wrist trying to turn the hand wheel, and the needle snapped in two. I ended up sewing the blasted sheet BY HAND directly onto the foam. Now the pins were in hiding, ripping off bits of fingers when I got too close. I quit worrying about blood on the liner after the first few spots; after all, it was going to be covered up. The giant foam twisted and fought, knocking loose items off the table in its fury, but I finally had it encased in easy-care cotton blend percale.
Then came the twill outer cover. The fabric was creased, so I got the iron out of the cabinet above the washing machine. In the process, I knocked a plastic spray bottle into the washer, somehow breaking both the bottle and the agitator. I had a few near-misses while setting up the ironing board, and one minor steam burn, which added to my stress. Finally the fabric was nice and smooth. Ready to sew!
The thing about a cushion cover is that the fabric must be taut, or it will wrinkle, shift around and look stupid. For this project, I just folded the fabric lengthwise and sewed it into a long tube, slightly smaller around than the perimeter of the cushion. Ah, I thought when I had accomplished this with no further injuries, now for the simple matter of easing the covered foam into its spinach-green tube.
Yeah. Simple as putting pantyhose on a shark. Perhaps the outer cover could have been another quarter inch bigger around. (Note to self: Next time don’t bother ironing the fabric.) I pulled and bunched, squeezed and tugged until the twill had swallowed the cushion whole, then sat down panting to figure out how to fasten the ends. A few folds, some almost-invisible hand stitching, and voilà! A downright respectable-looking window seat cushion.If I were not a complete chump, I would have sat there thinking how Greg owes me big-time for this monumental effort, plus Bactine and damages. But as Shakespeare sort of almost said, “Chumphood, thy name is Mom!” And so instead, I just smiled and thought of how pleased and surprised he would be when he saw it, and what a nice touch it would add to the sunny yellow dining room.
Thanks for reading!