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the great cover-up
make a fuzzy fleece pillow cover 
by Yee-Fan Sun
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The problem with free stuff is that it's rarely exactly right for your needs. When we moved into our new apartment a few weeks ago, we inherited a few basic items of furnishing. This might seem like a good thing, when the only possessions you currently have are 20 cardboard boxes full of clothing, books and kitchenware, a couple of computers, and nothing in the way of actual furniture. And truthfully, we were probably lucky. The stuff that happened to come along with this apartment wasn't too bad: the dining table was real wood, the coffee table a cool antique map chest. And the sofa was a real, honest-to-goodness sofa -- only a few years old, solidly constructed, perfect for lounging around on. The only problem? The stodgy, faded mauve, Laura Ashley upholstery, complete with plaid pink and yellow throw pillows, looked just a tad too middle-aged, middle-class, English country quaint. It would have looked fine in, say, your friend's mom's house. But the boy and I took one look at it and knew: something had to be done.

Having survived one sofa slipcovering, I contemplated giving our whole couch a new outfit, despite the fact that I'd be working sans sewing machine this time around. But after scouring every fabric store I could reasonably walk to in Edinburgh, I soon discovered that fabric is much, much pricier than it is back home in the States. Moreover, the curvy arms of this sofa seemed kind of complicated to deal with; my last slipcovered sofa had featured nice, simple straight lines, and even that job had stretched the limits of my meager sewing skills and involved much cursing. I tried to convince myself that maybe, just maybe, I could learn to like pink-and-yellow plaid. I realized that yeah, maybe, if I were blind.

On a whim one day, I yanked off all the pillows and took a good hard look at what I was working with. And what I found was that minus all that plaid, my sofa was already a heap more tolerable. After grabbing two of my beloved furry white pillows from the bedroom, and tossing those on the stripped-down sofa, the country-cuteness was gone, despite the fact that the white didn't quite work. The next day, I moseyed back on down to the fabric store in search of new covers for all my pillows. Covering the whole sofa might not be possible, but redoing pillows? Now there was something I could easily tackle.

I knew I wanted warmer, deeper colors for the sofa, something less pastel-blah and more fun. After dismissing the crushed velvet as too kitshch and the velvet as too posh, I was about to give up when I turned the corner, and found myself staring at a rainbow of gorgeously bright, downy-soft fabric -- fleece, that stuff I'd formerly only associated with camping-wear. With a meter each of tomato red, bing cherry red, and burnt orange fleece tucked into my backpack, I trucked on home. And by bedtime that night, my sofa had a brand new look.

Bored with your own sofa? Give your living room a quickie makeover with some fleece pillow covers of your own. 

skedaddle this way kids


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