The Bed Sofa Begins

2019-02-13 22:39 - Making

I've got nice high ceilings in my apartment. And at one end a raised sleeping loft. There's only three or four feet up there, but it's plenty of room to lie down in. Except the bed is actually just a mattress on the "floor". I've made it work so far.

My bed, in my sleeping loft.

But, technically, it's just a mattress on the floor. There isn't the height for a "real" bed. I've got a chair next to the bed, but I don't end up using it much. I'd rather sit up in bed. I thought about it for a while, and I had an idea.

The design for the bed sofa.

It's not at all unusual to take a sofa, add a mattress, and call it a sofa bed. So why can't I take a mattress, add a sofa (back) and call it a bed sofa? I can build in a couple cushions at a gentle recline, a shelf to hold an alarm clock and a few books, and sit up comfortably in bed! Read a book, under the covers, then just lie down when I'm ready to sleep. This would make me happy. And it's a nice project with some opportunity for design (done), carpentry (I can handle that), and upholstery (oooh, new skill to learn!).

The design for the bed sofa, seen from the back.

The construction is primarily two-by-fours. The seat backs might be plywood, but might be zig zag springs. Which are normally used for seats, but I wonder if I'd like that bit of give to the back. Some plywood or wide solid boards will make the shelves, and the whole surface (except the shelves, I think) will be covered in upholstery fabric. Then I make some custom cushions, with the same fabric over foam. Voila!

It's the cushions that are the exciting bit. I can sew. I think. This will be a special new challenge. I want the edges to have piping like real upholstery, so I need to figure out how to do that. Time for experimentation!

Raw materials for my first attempt at piping. Result of my first attempt at piping.

My bed sheets and cover are dark blue. I was looking for some fabric that would go well. Expecting a solid color (because the sewing would be easier, with no pattern to worry about lining up). And clearly from the design I was thinking grey might go well, but I found this blue fabric with a geometric pattern that really appealed to me. So I got several yards of it. Plus some "welt cord". The idea is to sew a tight loop of fabric around the cord, then you've got a matching "pipe" shape to sew into the corner seams, and it looks nice. So I gave it a shot. This was a quick and dirty first attempt, which turned out quite well except for not getting a very straight seam.

One test piped upholstery seam.

Then I sewed that up into a seam. I got one of the pieces inside out, but for this simple test that's fine! This is sub-optimal in a few small ways, and I think I know how to improve it. Can't ask for much more! Hung over the edge of the table to roughly approximate the real shape, it's even serviceably straight, despite putting almost no effort in there at all. A couple more practice runs and I should be ready to try my hand on a real cushion. If that goes well, it's time to buy foam and two by fours!

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