Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ottoman Empire

While walking past the ottomans in Target, my friend Lynette said something like, "If you had a bunch of these, you'd have an Ottoman Empire."

Like so many of my projects, this ottoman reminds me of different places.  I remember buying the once dirty gold velvet ottoman at a thrift store in San Diego for $8.  I paid way too much for the fabric to recover it.  Even 12 years later it still seems like way too much.  We hauled the ottoman and the fabric across the country in our move to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

When I see this ottoman, I think of a 40-minute drive on narrow country roads that wound through stark wintery farmland.  I think of Delilah who, with her calm and soothing voice, always kept me company during the drive.  I remember Jerry's upholstery shop that was located next to her house on her 120 acres of land.  I remember being so in love with the idea of having her life - at least what I saw of it.

Here's what I learned in upholstery class:
  • A seemingly simple ottoman is full of surprises when you start taking it apart - like a diagonal zipper between the pillow top and the base.
  • It takes approximately a gazillion staples and tacks to attach the different fabrics to the wood frame.
  • Even though Jerry says you shouldn't worry about matching the fabric pattern on the side of the ottoman, you should if you're a Gwin.
  • Industrial upholstery sewing machines can easily sew through like 27 layers of fabric.
  • Lots of piping means there will be lots of sewing.
  • People who teach upholstery classes get a lot of business from the students who can't hack the class. 

Here's a closer view of the ottoman - the unmatched pattern on the sides always drove me crazy.  By the way, I took these photos so I could sell this stuff on craigslist before our move to California.  There was no way this huge furniture was going to fit in our itty bitty living space in California.

Postscript:  Today, January 20th, I was looking through some old Wisconsin pictures and came across a quasi "before" picture of the ottoman.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely impressed with your upholstery skills. And I love the story behind the ottoman!