How to Re-Cover an Ottoman #DIY

We’ve had this cube ottoman in our family room for um-teen years now…a fake leather thing with a massive hole in the top and much wear and tear. It’s seen better days.

BUT, before I even get started telling you how I re-covered it..I’m curious, what do YOU call this thing that sits in front of a chair that you put your feet on? A footstool? An ottoman? A footrest? A hassock? I’ll be honest…none of these names really work for me as I grew up in Newfoundland and where I’m from…this thing’s called a HUMPTY!

However for the sake of argument (and google SEO), we’ll go with ottoman!

Anyway, since I was ripping the house to shreds and doing a few fun projects, I thought I’d whip out the old sewing machine and see if I could turn this old thing into something fabulous. My thought was that if all hell broke loose, the ottoman would simply find its way to the curb and I wouldn’t really be out much (except for a bit of time).

And then…I DID IT! I totally sewed a cover that not only fit, but looks fantastic!

Here’s what I did.

Step 1 – Gather Supplies

To start, I gathered the items I needed including scissors, straight pins, bobbins, thread, staple gun and screwdriver. I found a piece of curtain panel on clearance at a decorating shop that I thought would work great with the new colours in the room. Then, I headed to the storage room to move multiple things around until finally (after a bit of frustration) I found the sewing machine somewhere between 1998 and 2002…packed just below the box of Thomas the Tank Engine toys and just above the massive box of scrapbook supplies.

The best part…the foot pedal was still attached to the machine so my search was officially over!

Step 2 – Remove Feet and Fabric

After I had my supplies all ready, I removed the feet from the old piece and began removing the fabric.

In hindsight, I should have left the fabric exactly where it was as removing it, exposed the foam underneath that was all but disintegrating in front of me as I quickly grabbed some packing tape to wrap around the piece to “ish” hold it together. Two things here…while the entire wooden form of the ottoman was in good shape, I had ZERO interest in re-wrapping the it with new batting and foam and also, leaving the old material would have allowed me to easily slip the new fabric on and off. Oh well…live and learn!

ALSO…what’s with the dog hair on the bottom of the ottoman?

Step 3 – Pin Fabric

With the fabric removed and the foam underneath taped together (sorry, no pic but trust me, it looks ridiculous)…I draped the new fabric over the ottoman and began pinning.

As luck would have it, the curtain panel I purchased fit PERFECTLY from one side to the other so all I needed to do was pull the fabric to the four corners and pin from the top of the corner to the bottom…making sure to keep the material as tight and as even as I could.

NOTE: I didn’t care about lining the fabric up for the pattern to match…and if I did, I probably would have used a much smarter method that would have involved measurements and math…but instead, I decided to “wing it” and hope for the best!

Step 4 – CUT

Once pinned in all four corners, I cut off the excess fabric!

Side Note – Remind me to tell you sometime about the nanny we had who stole a whole bunch of things from our house…including my really expensive and awesome sewing scissors.

Step 5 – Sew

AND surprise of all surprises, I remembered how to thread my sewing machine AND it worked perfectly…and apparently, I was so excited about the entire process, that I completely forgot to photograph it but imagine the material running through my ancient sewing machine without a single hitch!

Honestly, all I did was sew a straight line following the pins that I’d put in place!

Step 6 – Staple

Once the four seams were sewn, I turned the fabric right side in and slipped it over the stool QUITE SURPRISED that it actually fit! The tough part was pulling it down over the taped and falling apart foam and I remarked for the 17th time how much easier it would have been if I hadn’t removed the old fabric.

With the new material in place, I began to staple the bottom of the stool starting with the four corners…making sure the seams lined up lovely.

ALSO…I’m told that some DIY bloggers totally match their manicures to their DIY projects so when you have this kind of a hand shot…you look all pretty and fancy! I need to up my game!!!

Once the corners were stapled, I ran staples along both edges pulling the fabric super tight (Note: I had my brother help me with this part as despite being a mom…I still only have two hands AND, I’m a little scared of the staple gun.)

ALSO…if someone would like to explain to me why my stapler seems to only want to staple out wonky staples…it would be much appreciated!

Step 7 – Finish the Bottom like a Pro!

Once the fabric was all stapled onto the piece and it was all looking rather fantastic, I decided I needed to put a piece of black cloth on the bottom of the stool to “professionally” finish things off (ie: hide all the staple mess, extra fabric and foam from falling out.) HOWEVER, I hadn’t really thought of that before and therefore, it never occurred to me to buy a piece of black material.

AND THEN, I remembered the black fabric I saw when looking for my sewing machine in the storage closet which turned out to be several grad gowns that my son and his friends had left here after they celebrated the ending of grade 12 last year!

WHAT? I ripped up a grad gown?? OK…in fairness, there was a time when schools invested in owning beautiful polyester grad gowns that they dry-cleaned and kept year after year but now…high school grad gowns are these interesting disposable cloths made from recycled garbage bags! JUST PERFECT for the material you’d place on the bottom of a footstool!

With the fabric in place and stapled neatly to the bottom of the ottoman, I added back the legs and THERE YOU HAVE IT!

A re-covered ottoman made from curtains and grad gowns and an old vinyl cube…just perfect in my brand new living room!

That from this point forward, I’ll call a HUMPTY!

One Reply to “How to Re-Cover an Ottoman #DIY”

  1. Love it! You have inspired me to cover my own aged “humpty”. Thanks for the great tutorial!