Happiness is a handmade ottoman

So I made an ottoman! Not on my own, but with a little help from the Ministry of Handmade, which is to say Julie and Maurice Hillier’s handmade/how-to wonderland on Brisbane’s northside. Boy, do I love that place.

I’ve done two workshops there in the last few months. The first was the rag rug workshop that resulted in the quilt* I talked about in my last post, and the second was a couple of weeks ago, when I learnt to cover and assemble a round ottoman.

For the fabric part, I ordered this beautiful canvas – a new part of the Les Fleurs fabric line from Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel – online, and I was so thrilled to unpackage it. Sometimes things you purchase online can disappoint when you see them in the flesh (with either the quality or the colour, or, on a bad day, both), but not this.

The ottoman-making process itself involved far more sewing and far less upholstering than I imagined, so it was interesting to see it all come together. I learnt that the fabric covering an upholstered surface needs to be EXTREMELY taut – tight even – to look good. So that meant a lot of trips back and forth to the sewing machine. I also learnt that air staple guns are kind of fun. And noisy. And I fell in love with this furniture wax we used – it smells like Christmas(!) and made me want to wax all the things. I see more of this in my future.

I feel a little silly because the corner that I envisaged the ottoman going in is kind of too small for the end result (my fault entirely: I should have measured first).  I had to move a double bed to get the photo below, which is less than practical.  And while it would be great to use the ottoman in the loungeroom, instead of my sewing/crafting corner where I had planned, it really needs to be in a different fabric to fit in there. So now I either need to move some furniture around, or recover the ottoman, or live with a combination of colours that makes me unhappy. I’m not sure yet how that will get resolved, but I’m sure there’s a lesson for all of us in there somewhere!


Fabric:  Folk Horse in Coral, part of the Les Fleurs collection by Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel

Thread:  Aurifil 50wt thread in colour 2326

Ottoman frame:  provided as part of the workshop (below)

Instructions:  care of the Ministry of Handmade’s ‘Ottoman’ workshop

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