DIY Leather Bench and table

This is my first venture into furniture making. It was a three person effort, with my dad, the boyfriend and me, and none of us had worked with leather before!

The initial challenge was getting all the materials. I'd originally wanted to find a second hand table which I could cover in the foam and leather, but that proved difficult as I wasn't able to find a table the right size. Instead I found an upholstery place online called Home Upholsterer which sold foam cut to size, and decorative table legs, among other things. They were also very helpful when I called with questions, and followed up with more emailed questions.   

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Materials if making your own table:

  • 4 x table legs (I bought mine online from an upholstery shop in Sydney) and stained 
  • Foam cut to size (I had 900 x 450)
  • Upholstery nails (same online store)
  • Plywood 900 x 450x 13mm (Bunnings)
  • Leather (My Dad's shed)
  • Wood glue
  • Screws and screw driver
  • Upholstery hammer
  • Staple gun

Apologies if my instructions aren't clear, as I'm going to give a high level description of what we did in case you're wondering. Full disclosure - there are some things I would do differently next time but as a first time attempt I'm super happy with it. 

  1. First you need to make the table. We attached the legs to the plywood with screws and wood glue. The legs already had pre-made holes in them which made this very simple. 
    Note: In hindsight before you make the table, I'd recommend gluing the foam to the plywood, and stretching and attaching the leather at this stage. This will result in smoother edging on the corners, and you can hide any of the corner bunching when you attach the legs. As we didn't do this, I'll continue on. 
  2. We then used wood glue to glue the foam to the top of the plywood before attaching the leather. 
  3. Lay the leather over the foam bench, and measure. Cut away any excess making sure you have enough to stretch over the table and staple the leather underneath. Once stapled you can hammer in your decorative nails. Make your way around the table, leaving the corners until last. We left them last because we weren't sure how to handle them! And you'll see the corners are a little lopsided. 
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The bench doesn't quite match our current living room, especially with the dark blue carpet, but we're moving in a couple months, so I'm sure in our next place we'll find a home for it. We wanted a coffee table which could double as a bench seat and we got it. Now to find a nice metal tray to put on it :)  

Now that I've completed one upholstery project (with much appreciated help from dad), I think I've been convinced to do more. 

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Em xx

Refashioning an illfitting 80s dress

This was one of my favourite thriftformations! I picked up this dress a good 2 or so months ago from Savers on Sydney Rd in Brunswick for $12. The dress fit horribly, I could barely get an arm through the sleeves; I mean how small were women's wrists in the 80s! But the material was stunning, and the pleating was so perfect. I knew it could be made in to something for today's world. My work Christmas party was also coming up and the theme was a touch of blue. Turns out my interpretation of a touch was in fact all blue! But hey, I'm an overachiever :). 

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First off I knew the sleeves had to go, a bit puffy (shoulder pads included) and like I said earlier my arms just didn't fit! So I unpicked each sleeve and decided they would form the belt. Once I sewed up the sleeves together, I had the perfect amount of fabric to use as the belt. Job done. 

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I don't have a picture of the back, but it was attached at the back of the neck by a button, and there was an open circle which went down to the waist. I decided this would be changed into a low V. I went about measuring the V and making the alterations, but as I'm an amateur seamstress who does not know how to work with lining it didn't look very professional. It was  when I tried to hem the armholes one night last week that I realised I had no idea what to do, and had a mini panic while I frantically googled an alterations place which would be able to take my dress and fix it in a few short days!

Lucky I found a place right in the heart of Melbourne, tucked away off Little Collins and Elizabeth, called Circe Alterations and where I had the most delightful experience. I popped in on my lunch break the next day, and met Howard the owner, explained my predicament and he knew exactly what I needed and what to do. The cost was a very reasonable $30 and Howard also took the time to explain how I could have made the V in the back look more professional and how I needed to do the lining. What wonderful advice! I left it in Howard's capable hands and went on a search for shoes! 

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Fast forward a few days later, 4 to be exact, and I went back to Circe Alterations, and Howard had done a splendid job on this dress, and to my pleasant surprise he had even redone the the V in the back and at no extra cost! I couldn't have been more excited. All in all the dress cost me $42, including the alteration cost! I'd say that's a win, and this won't be my last experience with an alternation genius! You'd be surprised how the most simple changes can transform a piece of clothing. 

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Dress: Thrifted from Savers $12
Clutch: Olga Berg - borrowed from my bestie who had thrifted it
Heels: Bought new for the dress from Jo Mercer (I couldn't go past a pair of rose gold heels)

Have any ideas for a thriftformation you'd like to see, I'm taking suggestions?! 

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Em xx