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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Camper Cushions

I have spent quite a bit of my "free time" in the house working on new cushions for our camper.

Not only had this camper been used for family vacations, but a bachelor had lived in it a year while building his house and the last family used it as a hunting camper. The 40 year old cushions covers that came with the camper had broken zippers, shredding fabric, outdated colors, and were just plain nasty. Because of this, the covers went straight to the garbage. I didn't even want to save them to use them as patterns.

After we sprayed off the cushions and sanitized them twice (leaving them smelling just like new), I started on the cushion covers.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the covers, but I wanted them nice. I got some cheap used sheets from a 2nd hand store for the first cover. I then measured the cushions, cut the fabric to size, sewed them up, and worked the cushion inside. These first covers are going to be permanent, so I finished them off by stitching the end closed by hand.

Next came the removable covers. I used some surprisingly heavy $1/ yard promotional fabric from Wal-Mart. I was really happy with this since it is similar to upholstery weight but so much cheaper! I adjusted my measurements just a bit to get a really snug fit, and then I sewed these covers up.

I wasn't quite sure how to finish them off to make them removable though. I could have used zippers, but I would have spent quite a bit of money and time on them. Buttons were another option, but also would have added up with money and time. Velcro wouldn't hold for sure since the fit was so snug, and snaps might have popped too. I didn't want to whip stitch the ends, since I wanted them to be easy to remove and wash. So I just ended up getting a box of quilter's safety pins and pinned the ends shut. These ends will be pushed against the wall anyway so they won't be seen. I did leave enough fabric, however, that if I ever wanted to add snaps or buttons I could.

We hope to pull the camper to the farm soon. We should be able to have electricity next week. So this week I am busy working on lined curtains - all 16 of them! It will take some time, but thankfully I found some more $1/yard promotional fabric that will work and have some leftover old sheets for the lining.

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Tools of My Trade
Shock Wave was the chemical that the mold remediation service referred us to when we were battling mold in the house we were living in. We were told it is what is used to clean hospital rooms that have had hazardous organisms, and that is is EPA safe. This is what we used to clean our camper and cushions, and we were very pleased with the fresh smell of the previously musty smelling camper.


Tim said...

Oh Farmer's Wife, you are SOOOO crafty!!! (It takes me back to those yummy strawberry rhubarb pies we used to make)

Emer said...

Hi farmer's wife. Was enjoying reading your blog. I too have a campervan with my husband and now have the task of making the cushion covers. I was hoping to use velcro to keep them fastened. Now I am not so sure. Is it lotsa of work to sew them also?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for coming by. I would say that sewing them was the easiest part. It was the cutting them to size and fitting them that was the most time consuming and difficult parts of the project, but again, I didn't have the old fabric for a pattern . . . Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi farmer's wife, your blog was just what I was looking for. Our cushion covers in our camper are just like yours, 40 years old, and just plain nasty. I was thinking of buying king pillow cases or body pillow cases for a quick fix. I like how you did a first cover that is permanent and then a second cover that can be removed and washed. What about the backrest part? did you re cover them also? I am at a standstill on those! I think i gotta get my staple gun out for those.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I'm glad this helps a bit. I did the do the backrests too -just like the cushions. They are all the same type of cushion though, just different sizes. Hope you have a great summer camping!

Kristine said...

how did you sanitize the cushions?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Kristine -
We had mold issues in our old house so we had some Shock Wave on hand. It is a EPA certified cleaner that is strong enough to disinfect contaminated hospital rooms. I got it through a professional remediation company. I don't know if anyone can get it but he sold it to me since it was for a church owned building. (We were living in a parsonage at the time.)

I'm not sure what other options there are. I would stay away from bleach and other strong chemicals like that - they may deteriorate the foam.

One option is to mix 1/2 and 1/2 vinegar and water with borax dissolved in it. It might not take out discoloration, if there is any, but it is a disinfectant and can take out odor. You might be able to do a search to find other homemade disinfectants.

Tressa said...

Ok I have read your blog and it sounds similar to what I am about to own here. We came into a very old, very nasty camper. The kind that fit on top of a truck bed? I didnt think they existed anymore? lol anyway, it stinks so badly inside, i mean just reaks. What am i to do with that carpet? And what about just throwing away the cushions and buying some from somewhere? Husband has visions of me cleaning and sewing? It all looks just too much for me? Any suggestions?

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

Our camper was pretty stinky and nasty too. If you clicked on the link in this post you can read a little bit more about it on my husband's blog.

We considered buying new cushions, but when we priced foam, that was ruled out right away. You can read about what we used in my comment above. I also used the shock wave to spray the entire camper.

As for the carpet - it was all ripped out. Carpet in a camper is nasty. Camping is dirty and the campers don't stay cooled when they are not in use. Perfect for mold and mildew to grow in carpet. We got stick down tile squares from Menards and used those for flooring. They worked well.

All other fabrics (besides the actual foam of the cushions) were thrown out and I sewed new covers and curtains.

Old moldy bed boards were replaced and leaks were fixed to prevent more moldy boards.

It was a big job, but now the camper is a lot nicer and doesn't smell musty at all - and it is 30-40 years old.

Hope you can get yours fixed up!

Leigh said...

I am also re-doing the inside of our camper. I decided to take out the entire pull-out style couch, I replaced it with a wooden futon that I bought at an auction. This made the living room area nice looking for a lot less money than having to replace the cushions. I also replaced the cushions at the kitchen table with patio furniture cushions, this will help with the littles ones coming inside with their wet bathing suits...I hope!!

Angela Bain said...

We just bought a used 1998 Class C and only someone above knows what these people used on the cushions. They smell like a mixture of old-lady perfume and funk. After researching the best way to approach this and realizing how expensive foam is (!!) I am down to try anything. I am going to clean one of them by placing in the bathtub with oxi-clean, vinegar, water, baking soda - something - not sure what yet and walking on them until the water rinses clean...then air drying outdoors for a few days.

I love the idea of the permanent covers - just seems a lot nicer to look at instead of the old foam.

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