We have a second generation porch swing that came with us from our old house when we moved last year. Handed down from our friends (who graciously left it on the porch when we bought the house from them), I admit that I love the idea of having a porch swing more than I love actually using it.
The sad grandpa porch swing was relegated to the random mow strip/concrete pad on the side of the house when we moved because of how tiny our back porch was. But then, this spring, we landscaped the back yard and suddenly the porch swing had a home!
The only problem: the fabric was worn thin from years of use, misuse and unuse. (Is that a word?)
"Have no fear!" I told Eric. "I will reuphoster it and make it look fabulous!" I was well intentioned and truly believed that I could take on this little project with little to no effort required. I can sew! I've made pretty elaborate Halloween costumes. I was on costume crew for a few plays in college. I have made some of my own clothes. The "how to reupholster your porch swing" sites online make it look so easy!
The problems started early on. And remember, this is late April or so... Our probably very cheap porch swing (sorry Clifts!) has an all in one cushion and cover, meaning I couldn't take off the cover and use it as a pattern to create a new one. Oh no. In fact, I actually needed my husband's help to dismantle the ENTIRE swing so that I could remove the pad/cover in order to measure and plan out what I needed.
Pad removed and spread out on the dining room (no doubt tracking in 10 years of hidden dirt and who knows what), I measured and planned. Headed to the fabric store and found some super cute weatherproof fabric, which was more expensive than I expected.
And yes, I got home to discover that my fabric was about 2 inches too narrow! So, back to the store a few days later only to discover... the fabric was gone! No problem, I thought, I'll go all Project Runway and "make it work". I bought the same fabric in the same pattern but in complimentary colors and used it as edging down both sides, widening my fabric enough to do the job.
I get this great idea to use a staple gun to affix the fabric on to the original pad/cover so that I don't have to sit outside in the 90 degree weather handsewing an entire porch swing. It seems like it would work! But after stapling the pad to my dining room floor (hello cheap laminate tile flooring!) and then dragging the whole thing outside, it quickly became apparent that my little quick fix idea was not working.
Did I give up? Never! I doubled the fun by using craft fabric glue spray, spraying the crap out of the back of the fabric, glueing it to the old fabric and THEN stapling it on!
Yeah, my head is hung in shame.
I decided to go with it, despite Eric's incredulous looks, and see if it would hold together. At this point, other than a few visible staples, the cover actually looked pretty good. We even sat on it once.
I haven't mentioned that I live in a windy area. This is important because it only took about a week for my "fancy" porch swing cover job to start coming apart and flapping in the wind. At first it was just the bottom, which didn't actually impede the use of the swing OR show the original cover, so I let it go. Eric wasn't pleased.
By late June - 2 months into my "simple" project - basically the entire cover had come apart and was folded over itself, dangling off the swing, blowing in the breeze. Yes, I somehow made a 10 year old porch swing with an entirely worn and destroyed cover look WORSE than it did when I started. Did I fix it right away? Nope. Instead, I spent the summer pretending that it didn't exist.
I did make a few lame apologies to Eric for my lameness and promised I would fix the porch swing, but my heart wasn't into it.
So finally today, yes it is early September, I took the first steps to rectify my porch swing reupholstery fail. I am giving in and will be hand sewing the cover. Baby steps. Today, I pinned my cover back on to the swing so that this weekend, I can do the sewing. From far away, the porch swing actually looks pretty good. See?
But don't get too close!!!