March 22, 2012

Ballard Designs Tufted Ottoman Hack

 I am 100% certain that I'm more stoked about this project than anyone else could be! See, Z and I are ottoman people. Some people are ottoman people. Others are coffee tables peeps. In theory I wish I could be the coffee table type- sporting an old railway cart as the centerpiece to my room. But it isn't practicle for the way we live, especially while we're living in a small space.
So- we're ottoman fans cause we like to lounge on our couch and you really need an ottoman for that.
When I sold our couches last June-ish I kept the ottoman. Then it sat in the middle of our room in all it's corduroy and tapestry glory. I am super excited to have  something we use every day look like it belongs in my room!

I kept it because it was the right height for the new couch, it was fairly expensive, and I had plans for this baby! The ottoman I was crushing on was from Ballard Designs- with a nubby oatmeal fabric it would fun me $495- which, I think, is how much we paid for our ottoman in the first place. All the more reason to reuse mine.

 It was pretty easy for me to get from this before pic to my after. I put this project off- forever- because of the sewing issue. See, I can't, and I knew I would need to sew the bottom portion to make this look like something I would buy- not something I made.
I used a drop cloth to make this after happen AND with minimal sewing- if you can sew a button, you can do this project!!

1] To start- flip your ottoman over and use some pliers to pull out the staples, so you can take the fabric off. Don't worry about keeping the original fabric in tact- this can easily be done without it as a template.

2] Once you ottoman is naked- you'll need this stuff to get'er done. If your foam and batting are in good shape, then you can reuse them. I reused mine. I had everything on hand except the button kits, peg board, and upholstery needles- so it was a cheap makeover.

 3] Purchase a drop cloth that is long enough to be wrapped around the entire base of the ottoman. This is a crappy pic- but if you follow the arrow, I wrapped the fabric around the base so it would meet up in one place. Also- make sure the cloth is wrapped inside out!

4] Pin it where the fabric meets up. You should try to pin it in as straight a line as possible. When I got to this point I decided to make it a skirted ottoman, instead of following the inspiration pic 100%. So it is more like a combo of Ballard's slipcovered ottoman and their tufted one.

If you're making one like mine, then make sure you use the finished edge of the drop cloth as the edge that touches the floor- less sewing, you know.

I somewhat followed this tutorial to do the tufting- it is very comprehensive, with lots of photos- so pop over if you need things clarified.
5] Cut the pegboard the same size as cushion. Use the grid to plan out the button spacing.
6] Wrap your foam in batting, then cut holes in the foam where the buttons/tufting will go. I kinda skipped this cutting step- but you should totally do it! ;-)
7] Make your buttons using the directions that come with your kit.

8] Thread your needle with the twine and create the tufting. Make sure the buttons are seated down as far as they will go.
9] Don't forget to manipulate with the fabric to create pretty tufts before you secure the button in place with your staple gun. Here's mine, pre-ironing.
Now- for my Achilles heel- sewing. I know I CAN sew, if I could just LEARN how to!! lol
I spent 2 days playing around with this beast that was given to me 2 weeks ago.
All I ever got was a tangled mess- no sewing. The thread would just bunch in a knot. Is the machine broken? Maybe it's the user!!  Hmmph!
10] Remember how I said if you can sew a button, then you can make this ottoman? Yeah, so I hand sewed it. You'd think it would take a long time- but not compared to the 2 days I spent on the sewing machine! I made sure my pins were straight, marked a straight line with a pen and that kept my stitched straight.

 On the left is my hand sewed seam- then on the right, my drop cloth came with a big fat seam down the middle of it. So I lined that one up the opposite side and opposite corner as my hand sewn one.

11] Make sure you iron the tufting- and well, the whole drop cloth for that matter. But ironing the tufting will just help it stay the way you want it to- and it will look pretty!

If you didn't want a skirted ottoman you could easily wrap the fabric {like a present} under the frame and staple it in place. Then it would look more like the original inspiration. I may do that at some point? Who knows? Z had a strong opinion that is looks better skirted- so this will work.

This makeover cost me maybe 20 bucks. The drop cloth cost me $11 {I bought a 6x9} and I used coupons when I bought all the supplies- this really kept costs down.

Even though I had an ottoman- you could easily do this with a thrifted one or something you found on Craigslist. Funky outta date ottomans are always floating around out there!
What about you? Sewn anything lately? Anybody have any advice for that machine of mine? Has you reused an out of date item, making it new again?


  1. You did a great job. I have been to scared to attempt anything tufted. Great idea to use the peg board.

  2. Terrific work! It's a great new look, and the price can't be beat!

  3. You ROCK!!! That is totally, totally awesome!!!
    I'm 5'2'', so I'm totally an ottoman type person. I think every chair needs an ottoman, since my feet can't touch the floor in many of them! lol


  4. Is there no end to your talent? It looks amazing and great tutorial too! :)

  5. Oh my goodness, you are the goddess of not-really-sewing, this looks amazing. How can you go wrong with tufting?


  6. You did a beautiful job! I want to try tufting on a headboard and I'm so inspired by your ottoman. It's great! If you have a minute, could you link it up to my party I just posted? That would be awesome!

  7. Double wow Becca! This is so fantastic. I want to tuft something now, ha.


  8. Looks great! Thanks for the tutorial :)


  9. You could definitely be a sewer if you wanted. I have a feeling the machine was threaded wrong..or the bobbin was in wrong. Your ottoman looks fantastic. I love that your cat loves it!

  10. you have quickly become one of my favorite blogs to read!!
    i can't wait for the next installment!!

  11. Is there anything you can't do?? Seriously girl, every time I stop by, I am in complete awe at your amazing talent. Please come redecorate my entire home. :) I absolutely love this, obviously. :)

  12. THAT is INCREDIBLE! For someone who claims not to be a sewer, that is one amazingly professional looking ottoman. I am super impressed, and very inspired. I too am on' team ottoman' and will take your advice and try to find something cheap to play around with. Thanks for the inspiration and I'm so glad that I found you!

  13. Great transformation! You have inspired me! I took a look around your blog and saw some wonderful ideas that I might be able to incorporate into my home! I had to blow-up the picture of your sewing machine to see if you had a fancy one:) To my surprise, you have a Sears Kenmore. I have a Kenmore too! It sits in the basement. Maybe I'll bring it out and make a few things. Love your wall art too!

    I'm a new follower. I can see why your list is growing.


  14. haha...I have almost the same machine! Did you make sure it has been oiled lately? Tension and threading could be wrong. Was the bobbin loaded correctly? Was it the correct bobbin? Spend the money and take it in (especially if you don't know the last time it was run) and have it tuned up quick (I've seen anywhere from $30-$100 depending on what needs to be done)...There could be something out of place somewhere and you may never be able to find it but a tech can...These are great old machines (I have a new(er) one as well, but still use my old Sears Kenmore one for some projects!) and I hope you can get yours to work so you can enjoy it!

  15. Great job, I love your tufted version! I have a similar ottoman I've been wanting to do. Maybe I am being dense but how did you attach the tufted top back onto the bottom/ leg portion so it would stay?
    Any help would be appreciated!
    Laura Lee

  16. Wow!!! You are REALLY tempting me to take apart my old ottman that is sitting here staring at me. Really. Hmmmm. I love your blog and the ottoman looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!


  17. Great work on the Ottoman Becca! And don't give up with the sewing machine!! I agree, it could just need rethreaded and if not - get it serviced and you'll soon start finding lots of uses for it I'm sure!!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  18. an amazing creation! hats off to you! so glad you and kari shared!!! : ) hugs from your newest follower...

  19. What a transformation! You did an amazing job with the tufting! It looks great!

  20. This is an amazing furniture makeover and yes, you can sew!

  21. This looks fantastic Becca. I love the tufting on top, and the idea of using a dropcloth? Genius! Unfortunately dropclothes are so much more expensive in Australia that I think it would be cheaper for me to just buy canvas - but this project is definately tempting! xx

    Anna (My Design Ethos)

  22. Wow this looks great and especially with the rest of your living room! Love the color choice, very neutral, but matches perfectly:) I'm going to pin this for the future!

  23. You did such an amazing job! It looks fabulous! An Ottoman is still on my to-do list. Looking at Good Will to find one to re do. I'm a new follower! Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. I fought with my machine for 2 days as well! I am 54 and have never sewn. So just figured the machine was a lot smarter than me. I got on line and did a little research. The trick I learned: take your bobbin out and with the spool inside the metal part, hold the string and let go of the bobbin. The string should slide thru easily, not to fast and it definitley shouldn't just stop. There is a small screw on the metal part of the bobbin that will adjust the tension. At least that is what worked for me!
    The ottoman looks fantastic!

  26. I'm so glad you shared this. I picked up an ottoman on a curb awhile ago and plan to redo it,this will be helpful! Just joined your blog, would love it if you would come visit mine.

  27. Just saw that Knock Off Decor featured this project, so second time I saw it. Still amazing. Congrats!

  28. Awe. some. I'm an ottoman girl too! Thanks for sharing with air your laundry Friday! Featuring. :)

  29. I think I have the same ottoman and I was searching for an oval table curved legs to make it a tufted ottoman,,I didnt know I can reuse the same just inspired me ..eventhough I didnt understand how you made the skirt since im zero at sewing and also sewing to understand a pattern but I will try to figure it out...I just hate the color of my Mushroom ottoman it looks so heavy in my colorfull space...I just pinned your ottoman I got 61 re-pins :)))

  30. ohhh I got it I got it...I didnt see the base in the picture now I understood how you made it :)))

  31. Hello there! Just found you via Knock off Decor, and I absolutely love what you've done!

    Cindy Sue

  32. Just found your post on Pinterest! My ottoman has been fabric-free since my son used it as a car (and fist) -park 2 years ago! I have found the fabric I want (I have a big chair that matches) and you have given me a plan to get it done! Thanks a mil!

  33. your ottoman tured out great!! i need to do this to our ottoman but have been putting it off too! .. maybe this will be the motivatio i need :) .. thanks!

  34. Just love the transformation. Although I am a "wish-I-had-any-kind-of-furniture" kind of girl.

  35. I just love this- the pegboard is genius! I've been wanting to make a round ottoman that would be tufted, but wasn't sure how- you have rescued me! Your sewing machine is a really good one, but you should get it tuned up and make sure the tech shows you how to thread it and the bobbin. Considering all the cool things I've seen you do, sewing will be a cake walk! I promise!

  36. Becca that is totally awesome!! You did such a fantastic job and I'm so impressed. :-) Thanks so much for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday!

    P.S. We are ottoman folks at our house too!

  37. Yessssss!

    You did such an awesome job!

    I love it because we did a very similar thing with a coffee table a while back, and it's still one of my favorite projects (guess that makes us ottoman folks too! : ).

    And I would LOVE it if you would share this at my Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL!

    Hope to see you soon!

    P.S. New follower


  38. Peg board?!? Brilliant!!

  39. Your ottoman is awesome. I love it. You are brave to take this project on when you don't like to sew. You could never tell. Spectacular job.

  40. i do love a tufted ottoman!

    hope you'll visit soon--a great giveaway hapenning:



  41. The Ottoman is super beautiful & e3xcellently done. I have only a chair to re-do, Im going to do it. Watch out you'll be getting Booked on re-do's

  42. I love this! The fabric looks great on it. You did a fab job.

  43. I knew I had missed something on your blog and just saw this.. You did a great job! I love the fabric and how you did the top! I would so buy this ottoman, and Cloey son could come as a free-be..

  44. Absolutely gorgeous! I am definitely an ottoman person as well. I think I should try something like this.:)

  45. Featuring you on Feature Friday FREE-F0R-ALL. You knocked it out of the park, girl!

  46. Hi Becca,

    Great tutorial. First times visitor but will definately visit again. You are very creative and have a good eye for what is fashionable and goes in your home.

    Yes, you can figure out the sewing machine. Yes, get it serviced as you don't know how long it has been since it was serviced. It can make a huge difference in the performance of the machine and your enjoyment of the craft.

    The servicer should be able to walk you through threading and general use of the machine. Pay special attention to the threading as you must apply thread tension as you are threading the machine or the tension will never be right. There is also a tension dial on the front left of your machine. Please never adjust the bobbin case as someone else suggested, as this was a a big thing several years ago and almost everyone had to buy new bobbin cases because they could not get them adjusted correctly again.

    I have been sewing many years and have always enjoyed it. I know once you have the principles, you will master the craft. You already have the creative edge God gave you.

    You go girl!

  47. Your ottoman turned out beautifully! Second the advice to have your sewing machine serviced. Many places that sell sewing machine will also service them. One more thing you can try at home is to change the needle. When needles become dull or bent they can ball the thread into a knot! Check your thread too. It should be a good quality thread -- not something from the 5 for a dollar bin (which is what I would be tempted to use! Being frugal and all!)

  48. Very nice work! It looks professional!

  49. Nice! Now maybe I'll do my 2nd ottoman your way. The peg board is genius and I wouldn't cut the foam holes either.

  50. Gorgeous! What a fantastic makeover of the old ottoman. :)

  51. Wow you did a great job! This proves there is hope for those of us that don't sew ;)

    We'd love to see this project at our Beautify It Monday link party which opens tonight at 5pm!

    -Four Sisters

  52. This is just amazing! Looks beautiful! Thanks for being a part of our "Strut Your Stuff Saturday." Hope to see you again real soon!! -The Sisters

  53. That looks great. Thanks for coming and sharing this with us at The Sunday Round Up.

  54. Your ottoman looks wonderful!I am amazed that you sewed it by hand. As for your machine it sounds like it may need to be serviced. I love sewing... it seems to be what I do in a lot of spare time... You will be able to teach yourself how. There are so many great tutorials out there.
    Thanks for sharing at our Sunday Round Up! Can't wait to see what you have for us next weekend. Have a GREAT week!

  55. Thank you so much for linking up your ottoman! I've featured your post, so head on over and grab a brag button!

  56. Hi, what an awesome tutorial! I want to do this to an old hand me down ottoman I have. I have one question, how do you re attach the top of the ottoman to the bottom?

  57. Hey I just love your tut It was so helpful and gave me the courage to try it. Also I have the exact same machine actually 2. Seems like everytime I see one at an estate sale I have to have it. lol I also have a new one which I hate. I only sew on this one. I think your issue is the threading. I added a link hope this helps. Keep up the good work.

  58. Thanks for sharing. I love footstools and my favourite types are storage footstools. This is because they provide everything a normal footstool does as well as extra storage space.

  59. Becca, you are amazing. I can't believe I know someone with such talent!!! Keep up the good work. You sure do make it look easy. Love to you and Zack. xo

    1. Thank you, Aunt Babs! That's such a generous compliment! Thank you for checking out my little blog- it's my favorite hobby and I love it with all my heart. Love you, too!


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