The Non-toxic Couch Chronicles: the Feather-backed Couch

If you have been following Anna’s Hyssop for any length of time, it might seem that I am kinda obsessed with my couch. Sorry, this post about my couch again. In my  war against polyurethane foam and IQ lowering chemical flame-retardants, the couch has always been of the utmost priority in my total healthy-home makeover. I’ve tried many different options, in my quest to avoid the expensive $6,000 options that are out there in retail. Really, I want folks to know that comfortable, affordable, and completely natural couch options exist if you are willing to do a minimal amount of DIY.

Since my last post I’ve come up with a completely affordable couch back option that is not latex. I have nothing against natural latex except it was bulky and with kids around, it kept shifting around too much. I came up with a really simple, really durable feather cushion back. It is lightweight, being made of standard sized feather pillows, so it doesn’t shift or flop out of position. And it is super comfortable too!

Feather-Back Cushion Directions

I went to the fabric store and bought 2 1/2 yards of tight weave cotton canvas fabric that was 60″ wide. After pre-washing the fabric, working on a large open floor, lay the material right-side up. Next, I folded the material length-wise and overlapped the selvages by 3 inches to form a long tube. Position the overlap so it is in the middle of the tube, i.e. half way between the two long side folds. Pin the two short ends of the tube closed.   Then I stitched the two short ends of the tube closed.  Now turn the tube right-side-out. Next line up your feather pillows across the back of your sofa to see how many you will need. I found 5 standard feather pillows fit across the back of my sofa, standing upright (i.e. short side down). Take the long canvas tube, measure its length and divide by the number of pillows you will need. This tells you how far apart the seams separating the pillow pockets need to be. Since I needed 5 pillow pockets, I had to draw 4 equally spaced lines. Now simply draw these lines, parallel to the short side edges of the tube.  A yardstick works great for drawing these lines in pencil nice and straight prior to sewing. Topstitch over these lines, making sure to backstitch over the selvage overlap to reinforce the seam. Now you have a long canvas pillow case with pockets for holding multiple feather pillows. I added a few ties where the pillow pocket stitches crossed the selvages inorder to tie the cushion to my wooden couch frame. Insert the feather pillows into the pockets, and that is it!  A standard feather pillow with a cotton case is typically $10, and the canvas was $8 dollars a yard, so the total outlay for this project is less than $80. If you have extra pillows laying around to use like I did, then the project is even cheaper.

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