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Jen’s Quill: DIY Cushions

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By Jen Lee

Making sofa cushions for the first time is an undertaking of minuscule proportions. I liken it to learning how to make…a sofa cushion. To learn this skill I went to the holy grail of information—YouTube.

I watched 2.5 videos of people creating cushions or filling cushions with ease and thought, “I can do that too.” I also thought, “Hey, the advice from two people is greater than one because…math,” so I decided to compile the information together in a smorgasbord of nonsense.

I headed out to JoAnn’s and Worth W. Smith with my considerably made-up knowledge. At JoAnn’s, I found what I guessed was upholstery fabric. I deduced this because I asked someone, “Where is your upholstery fabric?” and that’s where I was led.

I purchased the precise amount I needed, which was derived by guessing and adding guessed numbers together, then multiplying that number by 48, which would ensure I had enough.

When I returned home with my fabric, zippers, and thread, I measured out the pieces I needed and discovered that I had guessed just right. I had an enormous waste of fabric left over. This was good because I am poor so I really shouldn’t be spending extra money on too much fabric.

I sewed and sewed and soon it was together, looking like a cushion cover with a few imperfections. I was sure to point out every mess up to anyone I showed my handiwork as if to say, “See? I know exactly what I’m doing because I know this is crap.” This would ensure their amazement as they realized I recognized my inferior abilities instead of thinking I was better than I am. Humility in the form of bragging works every time.

Now came the fun part, if you define fun by sweating profusely and almost throwing your back out of whack while trying to jam pieces of foam that are too large into warbled-shape cushion covers that are too small. Which of course, I do.

Why were the covers so small and the foam so big? One of the videos said to get foam 1 inch larger than the area I wanted to jam it into. Thinking ahead I said to myself  “That sounds wise and exactly what I need to do instead of following the other video’s advice of getting the exact size foam for the covers.”

I added the batting or whatever the heck it’s called and glued it. Gluing batting onto foam is easy, but don’t do it in your bedroom for the love of all that’s holy. A) The adhesive smells, and B) you will overspray because your father taught you that if a spoonful of something is good, than a gallon is better. This causes extra spray to land on your floor and your socks will be sticking to it as you walk on it for months to come.

Once I had the blasted stuff glued to the other stuff, it was time to play God and decide that I can make the impossible happen. I started off positively, thinking okay, this is way too big to fit but I’ll get it in there because I have no extra money and no extra foam, so I have to make it work.

This motivation gave me the will to spend the next 40 minutes turning the cover, the foam, and myself around and around in circles as I inched it closer to it’s destination…hell.

I never gave up and finally I slammed enough of that foam into the tiny space for me to inch that zipper around, which I now realized was way too small for the cushion cover size! Before closing the zipper I noticed several places where the glued batting said “screw you!” and bunched up in clumps here and there under the cushion fabric.

Through a frustrated sigh, I refused to quit, because I knew I’d never get back that time and I wouldn’t be able to humility-brag to my friends and family, which was the main reason for this project to start with. So, I reached down and smoothed it out as best I could, which is akin to how non-bakers “smooth” out fondant…lump city.

After repeating these steps for a second cushion, I discovered they were two different sizes, which I solved by pretending they weren’t and putting a pillow behind the smaller cushion so it sticks out the same distance. And then I bragged away…all humble like.

Jen Lee has been writing since she was in the 3rd grade and won a stuffed animal dog; which still sits on her writing desk as her most prized award. She graduated from Malone University with a degree in Journalism and Theatre. Jen has written for several newspapers as a humor columnist covering everything from dating, cooking, travel, how-to, relationships, and more. She currently lives in Cuba, NY with her family. Jen may be contacted at jen@jensquill.com and welcomes all comments and suggestions for future articles.

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