Remember that wood stool I showed you how to make in the last post? If you missed it, you can click here…
Well, I upholstered that stool, and now it’s a cute little striped, skirted ottoman.
So let me show you step-by-step how I did it. Just a note here — this really isn’t a project for a beginner. The stripes make it quite a bit more challenging (especially on the welt cord and the edge piece of the top cushion), so if you have zero experience with upholstery, I’d suggest that you start with something a bit easier. But if you’re ready for something a bit more challenging than a basic upholstered ottoman, this is a great project to stretch your upholstery wings a little.
I started by adding foam to the top of the stool. I used one piece of 2-inch foam and one piece of 1/2-inch foam, both attached with spray adhesive, and then trimmed to fit with an electric knife.
Next, I cut the pieces for the top. I cut a strip of dark purple 5.5 inches wide, two strips of light purple 2.5 inches wide, and then two pieces of white to cover the rest.
I sewed these strips together using a 1/2-inch seam, and then pressed the seams open and flat with a steam iron.
With the top sewn together, I cut it so that it was the exact size of the top (mine is 22″ x 17″) plus a 1/2-inch seam allowance on all four sides.
Next, I cut the strips to cover the welt cord. The dark purple and light purple pieces were exactly the same width as those on the top, and then I added white strips to make up for the rest of the perimeter measurement.
The photo above shows one completed piece to cover one welt cord, but I needed two identical cords, so I made another one exactly like that.
In the same way, I cut and pieced together the 5-inch-wide piece to go around the edge of the top cushion.
Then I sewed the welt cord into the two cord covers.
I pinned and sewed one of the covered welt cords around the top…
And after that was completely sewn on, I pinned and sewed the 5-inch edge piece…
With those pieces assembled — the top piece, the top welt cord, and the edge piece — I was ready to place it onto the ottoman. But first, I had to add batting on top of the foam. I always use high-loft polyester batting for upholstery, and I pull it taut enough to pull out any wrinkles or puckers, but not tight enough to stretch it thin or rip it. There’s a fine line, and it just takes practice to get a feel for it.
I secured it with staples just under the top stretcher.
I trimmed, folded and stapled the corners as neatly as possible.
And with the batting attached, stapled in place, and trimmed, this is what it looked like…
And then I was finally ready to place the top assembled pieces onto the ottoman. I got a little ahead of myself and failed to take a picture with just the top pieces attached, so pretend like that bottom welt cord isn’t there in this next photo. 🙂 I stapled the top pieces into place, pulling as evenly as possible all the way around, and measuring from the top welt cord to the bottom of the top stretcher all the way around as I stapled to be sure I was keeping it as even as possible.
After the top pieces were stapled on, then I placed the bottom welt cord around it. Note that this welt cord is completely separate. It’s not sewn to anything. It’s just a covered welt cord, all on its own. This allowed me to move it into place and make fine adjustments, measuring as I stapled it into place.
With those pieces in place, I began assembling the skirt pieces. For the front and back skirt pieces, I sewed together the stripes in the same way I did for the top. And then on the sides and bottom, I pressed in a double one-inch fold. Then I sewed mitered corners on the two bottom corners.
I didn’t go into detail on the mitered corners, because this fantastic video shows how to do mitered corners step-by-step.
With the side folds and mitered corners in place, I cut a piece of lining to fit…
…and just slipped the edges of the lining behind the folds. Then I attached it with iron-on fusible tape.
Then I measured and marked the finished length of the skirt piece (mine is 14.5 inches high)…
…and I folded and ironed that crease into place.
Then I marked two inches from the crease, and trimmed off the excess fabric…
If you’re using fabric that will unravel, you can use a fabric fixative or a zigzag stitch along the top to keep the fabric from unraveling. My fabric is a thick cotton that doesn’t unravel easily, so I didn’t worry about that.
And with the first skirt section finished, I was ready to attach it to the frame. I lined up the top creased edge just under the bottom welt cord, then flipped the skirt up and stapled it into place with just a few staples.
Then I used a cardboard upholstery strip just in the center to keep a crisp edge under the welt cord and stapled it into place.
And here’s how it looked with the first skirt section attached…
I repeated that exact process for the back skirt section.
The two side sections were obviously much easier since I didn’t have to piece together striped fabric. They were just solid white, but other than the stripes, they were made the same way as the front and back pieces — double one-inch folds on sides and bottom, mitered bottom corners, folded and pressed crease at the top.
And I also attached it the same way — top crease lined up just under the bottom welt cord and stapled in place with just a few staples…
I repeated that on both ends. Here’s how the ottoman looked at this point…
The final step was to make the four corner pieces. I made these the exact way that I made the side skirt pieces with one exception. I pressed the top crease into place so that these corner pieces were 1/4 inch shorter than the main skirt pieces. So my main skirt pieces had a finished length of 14.5 inches, but these corner pieces had a finished length of 14.25 inches.
I tucked these corner pieces up under the main skirt pieces.
Once I had all four corner pieces made, I was ready to do the final assembly. I started on one end, and using the cardboard strip, I placed it as closely under the bottom welt cord as possible and stapled it into place, making sure that all of the skirt pieces — main pieces and corners — were pulled taut enough to be wrinkle-free, but not tight enough to stretch the fabric as I stapled them into place.
I stapled the cardboard strip all the way around the ottoman, securing all of the skirt pieces into place.
And with that done, I had a finished ottoman!
Pretty cute, huh? 🙂
Y’all know I love my stripes, so I love how this turned out. And I’ve wanted to do some sort of upholstery project using gradient stripes like this for a while now, and I kept holding out for chairs, but that never seemed to work out.
So when I decided to make a little ottoman, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the gradient stripe design.