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Settee – The Big Finish

Settee – The Big Finish

Are you ready for it? If you’ve followed me on my journey to refinish & reupholster my $20 garage sale settee, you know this project has taken me some time to complete.

To remind you, here’s the before:


If you saw my last installment, you know that I used a drop cloth for the upholstery, but I took things a step further and drew/painted a map onto the fabric. I made the map an ancestral map of our family by writing in our ancestors names in the location where they were born, along with the year of their birth.

Without further ado, here’s the final settee.


I won’t attempt to show you the entire reupholstering project. If you want to tackle a project like this, I suggest looking to your local library for some upholstery books with good pictures to guide you.

Here are some steps I did.

I added some padding to the settee. It wasn’t very cushy so I bought a foam mattress pad at the dollar store and cut it to fit.


It was not long enough for the top section so I pieced it together.


For the seat back, I used a thin layer of bonded cotton I had on hand to cover the foam.


On the bottom, I reused the cotton batting that was originally on the settee. I put the batting over the foam.


I also sewed a row of piping at the bottom edge of the seat back piece. This was done on the original upholstery and I was tempted to skip this step. I’m glad I didn’t. The pink ruffle piece tucks between the seat and back and gets stapled from behind. The pleats in it help ease it around the curves.


The row of piping finishes the piece off nicely and helped ease the fabric around the corners. If you want to learn how to make piping, Miss Mustard Seed has a great tutorial. I watched her video before making mine and it helped a lot.


My apologies to California.  You lost a bit of land in this process. When I originally pinned the fabric together before drawing the map, I knew that the potential was very high for things not lining up when I put it all together. I’m happy I was able to match up the states as well as I did.


I had a few panic moments. The pressure on the staple gun was set too high and the first few staples tore through the fabric. I think my heart stopped beating for several seconds. I made the necessary adjustments, pulled the fabric tighter and restapled. Save!

Because of where the staples had to go and where the edge of the wood was, the gimp that I bought to cover the staples was too narrow. Another moment of panic set in. I realized I was going to need to make some double-welt cord to finish it off.

I found a great tutorial at Centsational Girl that saved the day. Three packages of cord later and a Friday night spent sewing had me in business.

I believe that double-welt cord is the repentance of upholstering. We all have made mistakes. We have areas and blemishes in our lives.


Then we repent and our lives are beautiful once more. Double-welt cording covers ALL our upholstering sins. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. As is true repentance.


Overall, I’m very happy with how the settee turned out. I do wish I had put my map symbols closer to the maps. I ended up having to cover a part of them with welting, and it bugs me a little bit because I love these emblems.




I also ended up have to put a pleat above each leg in the back. If I had pulled the fabric tighter and eliminated the tuck, I would have lost even more of the emblems.


Can you spot the napping doggy?


I also made a new bumper for the back.

Here’s what the old bumper looked like:

back center before

  It was an epic battle to remove that stupid little piece. I eventually conquered it, but I almost chucked the whole piece of furniture in the trash because this piece would. NOT. come. off!


Oh hey, look. You can see my great-great-great-great-grandfather’s name. He was a Chippewa Indian. Kah Ge Gay Oh De Mo Quay. His daughter, Mary O-taun-tug (O-Don-Duck) married Daniel Rohrer, a white clerk at a nearby Army outpost. They had great-great-grandmother, Clara Rohrer or Mo-ko-maun-e-quay which means Little Knife. Clara later migrated to Hawaii and now I am a part of the Mossman Ohana (Ohana means family) from Hawaii.

I couldn’t be more pleased with the settee. Did I say that already? I’m going to say it again. I love this settee!

It’s unique to our family and I’m happy with the look. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t fast. It was a labor of love, but I’m okay with doing projects like that from time to time. I think those pieces have value, too.


One final note. A friend asked me how I was protecting the piece. In truth, I hadn’t even thought about that. I will need to go back and add some Scotch Guard to the seat and back of the couch. If you’re going to attempt a similar project, I recommend Scotch Guarding the fabric prior to upholstering.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Garage Sale Settee – $20.00
  • De-Upholstering and Reinforcing – $49.33
  • Stripping & Refinishing – $15.39
  • Painted Fabric – $23.98
  • Foam Mattress Pad – $12.00
  • 3 Packages Cotton Cord – $6.77 (I had two 40% off coupons and one 50% off coupon!)
  • Bonded Cotton/Sheet – Stash on Hand

Total Project Cost – $127.47


If you missed the other posts in the series, here they are:

  1. Settee – The Big Finish

I’m linking up:


Thank you for reading Frou-FruGal. For more projects, please click to my site,


  1. WOW! This has got to be one of the coolest pieces of furniture I have EVER seen. You should be VERY VERY proud of yourself!

  2. this is AMAZING its looks great xxx

  3. Laura and Michael [Beauty and the Beard] :

    Oh my goodness, I cannot even begin to say how much I love this project!!! So so perfect. Inspires me to take on a big project. Love your blog, following it now!


  4. Oh my goodness this came out so great. I LOVE the personal touch of writing where your ancestors are from. It is absolutely beautiful!!
    Karah @ thespacebetweenblog

  5. Just stopped over from POWW. I’m having fun visiting posts I didn’t get to see before. Love this!

  6. I love it!!! Bravo!! You did a fantastic job and I love the map idea…wow!!

  7. wow, this is better than anything I could find in a store. I love the neutral colors. I can not believe you found the couch for $20. That is amazing.
    Just “wow”!!!!
    following you

  8. OHMYGOSHAREYOUFREAKINGKIDDINGME!??!?! That’s got to be one of the most amazing projects i have ever seen submitted! just…it’s SO COOL! there are no words, but i’ll keep trying anyway, i am proud of you and don’t even know you! Bravo girl! Way to make an awesome, memorable piece that will hopefully be kept with love for generations to come.

  9. Wow. Impressive does not even begin to describe how amazing this is. I love the concept, and your execution is superb! Fabulous job. Totally pinning it now 😉

  10. You are freaking amazing!

  11. This is like an art piece! I would be so scared to ever sit on it. You did a fantastic job!

  12. What a great job you did! You transformed that settee. I’m a history/genealogy buff and such a special idea. I found your tutorial on painting on the canvas….loved that, too


  13. Jessica @ My World - Made By Hand :

    I was impressed with the great buy alone. This is awesome.

    Your newest follower {from Better After}, Jessica

  14. WOW, you have so much talent and guts! I am so impressed with the final outcome. I bet you were nervous taking out that paint! I found you off of Inspire Me Heather (my wall art map was also featured)

  15. Awesome SAUCE…unreal….

  16. Inspire Me Heather :

    Incredible job with the settee! I linked it to my globes and maps post too, just lovely!

  17. Questo lavoro è stupendo!!!!

  18. Dear Suesan, I saw your little sofa and it was love at first sight!
    I adore it and couldn’t resist showing it in my new post.
    Hope you’ll enjoy it.
    I made because your work is wonderful.

  19. I saw this project at Miss Mustard Seed and I loved it!!! It is so amazing! Thank you for linking up to my party.

  20. What a joy and a treasure for you and your family.

  21. Just Love it.. I just did a post on my sette.
    I Have to say LOVE yours more.. Great Find…and Great work..

  22. That looks amazing!!! You really did a super job and detailed explination! xo Thanks for sharing – This is inspiring!

    😀 Lynda

  23. WOW! That is so impressive. I think your skill level is advanced.

  24. I love how your settee turned out! I love it even more that you created the fabric yourself!! I will be featuring you today 😀 Have a great day!

  25. Wow. That is probably the most amazing project I’ve seen in a while. I’m so impressed.

    I have to share this on Facebook.

  26. OMJealous. Thats all there is to it. Suesan you are extremely talented. I am so dang impressed right now.

    Thanks for linking up!

    Love your guts

  27. Im SPEECHLESS! WOW! The detail…Love it!
    Thank you for linking this up to WHASSUP WEDNESDAY!

    When you get a chance I wuld love it if you would grab my Whassup Wednesday Button for a linkback:)
    Hope to see you next Wednesday:)


  28. This is upholstery of the year project. Oh my gosh! I just had to leave a note to say how fabulous it is, but you already know that 🙂

    Seriously, congrats to you on such an amazing piece!

  29. I love that you were able to adjust your ideas as problems arose. A double welt- genius!

  30. What a truly incredible and amazing transformation! It will be a family treasure for generations to come!

  31. This is absolutely amazing! Maybe one day I’ll be skilled enough to do something similar. It looks fantastic and I love how you’ve honored your ancestors.


    Best furniture redo I have ever seen on a blog !!

    You won the best piece prize !!!!!!!!!!!

    It is just fabulous and you should pat yourself on the back several times


  33. seriously this is like the best thing ever!

  34. Hi Suesan! Thanks again for linking this up to my party last week. I wanted to let you know you made it in to this weeks featured projects! Please stop by and grab a button =)

  35. This piece is by far the most unique makeover I’ve come across. I’m so glad to have found the feature on Gail’s site. What a true treasure this is for your family to have. BEAUTIFUL!

  36. I don’t think I have ever had so much respect for a piece of work on blogland!! This piece is truly amazing and so creative! What a labor of love. Great job!!

  37. Wow, this is amazing! Nice work! I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at

  38. OH that is SO COOL!! I just took an upholstery class and just finished my chair I can’t imagine doing a settee and then having the bravery to paint it!! That is amazing!! And $20? You are amazing.

  39. It looks fabulous! Great job!

  40. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage :

    Absolutely fantastic piece! Love how this came out- it is incredible!What a great idea~ Would love if you would come share this at Feathered Nest Friday sometime- well done!! Now following along! 🙂

  41. Such a unique and personal idea! I can tell that this was a complete labor of love! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Hey Suesan!
    This is my first visit to your blog ( found you thru the parties) and you’ve blown my mind! What a way to hook me in, I’m following! This transformed settee ranks in my top 5 favorite projects I’ve seen since I started blogging. Truly. Amazing. And what a great way to share your families history!

  43. I am visiting from the Shabby Chic Cottage and am completely speechless.
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  44. This is so awesome! I love the finished product – what room is this going to go in? It would look good anywhere, but how awesome for a study/ formal office!

    Please consider checking out my blog, I’m just getting started. 🙂

  45. Your settee is gorgeous. A work of art!

    Looking forward to perusing more of your blog.

    Elizabeth Ann

  46. Oh my goodness I’m in love! I totally love maps. This rocks my socks off!

  47. Fabulous transformation! I am in love with this settee.

  48. I’m so glad you stopped by and linked up this awesome post to my Swing into Spring party.

  49. How cool! That turned out beautiful!
    Jessica Lauren @

  50. Just lovely – what a work of art!

  51. You’ve got to be kidding me… I could live my entire life and never even think about doing such an amazing thing, much less actually get out there and DO IT! Loved every word and every picture… AWESOME!!! jules from bles-id

  52. amazing! Great tips- I remember reading Centsational Girl’s post on double welting, but you made the benefits crystal clear here- thank you! Really great piece- this will be the wow in the room! found you through Sassy Sites!

  53. Wow! This is amazing! You did a wonderful job – it looks super fabulous!! You go, girl!! 🙂

  54. It turned out beautifully!!As an amateur genealogist think is of particular interest to me!! I would love it if you would link this up to my Marvelous Mess party. Each party I pick one project to feature on my sidebar for a week!! Here is the link:

  55. It is eighty-eight kinds of awesome!

  56. Mrs. Brittany, wing-back chairs are a harder upholstery project because of all the seams and shapes. It’s even harder if you have a pattern that needs to be matched. This settee is fairly straight-forward as there are no arms to do.

    If you’re going to attempt upholstery, a piece like the settee, even though it’s bigger, will be easier to do in my opinion.

  57. I’ve reupholstered a wing back chair but never had the gull to do a couch because I assume it is too expensive and hard. I hate…HATE the seams in doing a re-uphostering project. But, you make it look easy! Maybe I will try!!! Thank you for the inspiration! -Brittany

  58. What an amazing heirloom you have created! I love this!

  59. What a neat idea! Such a unique piece, you did an amazing job.

  60. Wow. Just wow. I think I would have liked the settee with just the drop cloth but the family touch really makes it special.

  61. AMAZING ! ! ! a labor of love indeed. You should be extremely proud

  62. Okay, I do upholstery. And I paint, so I am a good judge of this kind of product. And I deem you the winner. This is not only a great job in craftsmanship, it has quality written all over it. Also, your creative process and end result speaks volumes on your talent. Here’s your ribbon! You’ve won first prize.

  63. Wow – that’s amazing! Excellent job. I’m dropping by from Masterpiece Monday at Boogieboard Cottage.

    Have a lovely week.

  64. You are amazing! I love it! So unique and special!

  65. I am totally gobsmacked! No 1 — I would never have thought of this, and No. 2 — I could never have done it. Wonderful piece.

  66. Cozy Home Scenes :

    Looks like a ton of work, and not something I would tackle. You’re a braver and way more patient person than me! However, I love the end result, especially since there is so much family hisotry in your work!

  67. Suesan, WOW!. Absolutely, beautifully wonderful! What an incredible find, professional restoration, and creative, meaningful idea. I’m so glad I saw your link-up at “The DIY Show-Off”! This is one of the best DIY projects I’ve seen all year!
    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  68. You guys humble me! Thank you so much for the features and the bloggy love! You make me feel so special!

  69. What a jaw dropping job you did! Soooo original and creative……your family will love you for it down through the years. Just absolutely amazing!

  70. WOW it’s absolutely georgous. Have been doing family research for some time so might just have to try this on a smaller scale

  71. You are truly marvelous! This is just amazing and you did all of this! You drew the map and all? Oh, you’re good. Your upholstery work is just wonderful. What a great way to showcase your family heritage! A most wonderful job.
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia 😉

  72. I’ve got to go and pick my jaw up off the floor now! That is really an amazing, amazing piece. You did an incredible job. I love the idea of putting your family heritage on a piece of furniture and it looks so GREAT! Wow.


  73. wow! how awesome that turned out! You both did a fabulous job! Love the painted fabric and the adding of the family members! so cool!
    featuring this post @ccc this week.


  74. I just stumbled onto your blog and now that I’ve picked myself up off the floor I have to! That is truly an awesome piece of work!

  75. Absolutely breathtaking! This has got to be one of the best and unique makeovers I have ever seen!

  76. Jessica @ O. Alouette :

    WOW this is amazing! Thanks for sharing!!

  77. WOW! What a unique idea! I would never have thought of it. I love how you put the names of your ancestors on the map:)

  78. It’s also a great place to pitch my socks when I come back from the gym.

  79. Wow! What a unique and beautiful idea. I love how it turned out! I have to say, I wouldn’t have been as visionary as you were. I love it, though. Great job!

  80. That is so amazing.

  81. Blown away! I hope we can see close ups of the states to see if we are related! The most singular upholstered piece in blogdom in 2011. My families, both my husband’s and mine never made it past Iowa, so I can make a love seat. Lucky you to have found some Native American relatives. I am still looking for some of those. Ann

  82. This is just too smart for words! Fabulous!

    Please stop by for a Giveaway!

  83. This is just too smart for words! Fabulous!

    Please stop by for a Giveaway!

  84. … that’s the sound of my jaw hitting the floor! This is amazing!

  85. Oh my gosh… I’m rather speechless here. This isn’t a slipcover, it’s ART. Amazing and done with a true pro touch. MMS will be proud of you!

    I’ve shared this as an SNS #73 highlight on FJI Facebook. 🙂


  86. All I can say is WOW! And so extra special that there is family history on there! Laurel

  87. Your attention to detail is truly stunning, Suesan. This is more than a reupholstery project as you have wrapped up history and your own personal artwork into the piece–I’m pretty sure California will forgive you ;). Hugs, Kim

  88. Thanks for linking up! Can’t wait to see what you have to share next week =)

  89. Abby, I have a post called “Painting on a Drop Cloth – On Purpose” that describes how I did the fabric.

    Short story, the map is drawn on with a brown, fine point Sharpie Marker, while the names are written on with a brown, ultra fine point Sharpie.

  90. Wow, excellent job! Really beautiful and I can see it is a labor of love. Thanks for sharing.

  91. Amazing!!!!! You did a beautiful job!

  92. did you use a fine-point brown Sharpie?

  93. WOW what an amazing tribute to your founding mothers and fathers! Truly an heirloom to pass down for many generations. I might attempt that, start with a pillow first for my favorite Aunt’s 80th bday. Thanks for the post! Beautiful work.

  94. That is unbelievable. Jaw-dropping! Fantastic work!

  95. This might be the single coolest thing I’ve ever seen in blogdom thus far. You should be so proud of yourself. Absolutely amazing!

  96. I’m… I’m… wow. I’m speechless. That doesn’t happen very often. I better pick my jaw up off the keyboard before I drool all over it! You are so talented and this is BRILLIANT! A family heirloom for years to come. I’d love for you to link up to my VIP party today @

  97. That is beautiful…$20 you rock. And what you did with it is amazing!

  98. Wow! I am completely speachless! You are a very talented lady! Just beautiful! You did an amazing job! {i want to put every awesome adjective into this comment…but just can’t think of anymore ;)}

  99. WOW WOW WOW – I am in love with your piece! Fabulous concept! Thanks for sharing!

  100. this is the most awesome settee i ever seen! it’s gorgeous! i have a weekly party that goes from Tues – Thurs, i would love it you shared this.

  101. This is amazing! I love the map and how you made the piece meaningful for you and your family. This will definitely become a family heirloom. Congrats on the great job!

    I’m your newest follower and can’t wait to see more!

  102. What gorgeous material. really love it. You did a fantastic job.

  103. Beeeeaaauuutttiful!!! Love the map!

  104. i.adore.this…what a wonderful redo! the map is just whimsical enough to keep an antique settee from looking stuffy and formal…brilliant…would love for you to share this on fridays unfolded @


    stuff and nonsense

  105. I started following your blog last week just to make sure I get to see your big finish! This is so beautiful, love it! 🙂

  106. Wow love your new couch just found your blog I am in Ohio also Tuscarawas county!!! Not sure how far we are apart but would love to go thrifting with you!!!

  107. What a beautiful & unique family heirloom you have created! Amazing idea, & extremely well executed. I can see future generations arguing over your will!

  108. That is gorgeous! You did an amazing job! You are so brave to tackle that project, and you made it look very easy! Great work!

  109. amazing. I bow to you. This is so beautiful and meaningful! I love it.


  110. How incredibly awesome! You have an incredible amount of talent and patience. Impressive!
    I found you at Blue Cricket. Come visit me at

  111. The settee turned out excellent!

  112. You did an amazing job! Love the map, the faded out colors of it, and the familial significance. That is a piece that you’ll always look at and cherish. Thanks for sharing the journey.

    I’m hosting a Throwback Thursdays Party, and would love it if you swung by and linked up something you made/bought/did from before blogging. I know you’ve been blogging for a long time, but there are always those before blogging projects that have never gotten their moment in the limelight. I can’t wait to see what you bring.

  113. tale of many cities :

    hat is off to you for all of that HARD WORK!! great job girlie!

  114. Amazing- I will be sharing this one on FB- it is just that fabulous.

  115. That turned out great! Very impressed and love the ancestral history attached to the piece. I can’t believe you drew and then painted on the fabric. Amazing.

  116. Paulette, I’m glad I was able to redeem myself. I originally planned to do an illustration from the Ugly Duckling. I wanted a very botanical looking picture with the duck looking into the lake and seeing the swan. I couldn’t find any good examples of what I wanted and I’m not enough of an artist to come up with it on my own.

    After weeks of frustrating myself, I ended up switching gears and going with the map. I’m glad I did because I like this so much better.

    Thanks for the love, ladies. I’m glad you like it!

  117. Unbelievable! That is crazy good. Thanks for sharing! I love the world map on the back.

  118. I have never, EVER seen anything so fabulous! This is amazing! Truly visionary. Did I already say amazing? Wow.

  119. Okay, originally when I saw what you had planned for this settee, I shook my head, and thought,”why would she ruin such a beautiful piece of furniture buy putting a map on it?” Now that I see it finished, I have to repent, and say it looks fabulous! You obviously had the vision needed to finish up the project. I just finished a slipcover with a pleated skirt on a wing chair, and was thinking of doing the same for the other wing chair. But, I love your double welting, and may just have to work that in instead. I also loved the references to repentance, and the fact that this piece brings your family history to life!
    Great job.

  120. Okay, originally when I saw what you had planned for this settee, I shook my head, and thought,”why would she ruin such a beautiful piece of furniture buy putting a map on it?” Now that I see it finished, I have to repent, and say it looks fabulous! You obviously had the vision needed to finish up the project. I just finished a slipcover with a pleated skirt on a wing chair, and was thinking of doing the same for the other wing chair. But, I love your double welting, and may just have to work that in instead. I also loved the references to repentance, and the fact that this piece brings your family history to life!
    Great job.

  121. Thank you, Sister. I know you appreciate all the effort this one took. Thanks for being my moral support and letting me bounce ideas off of you.

    I love you!

  122. Wow Suesan! It turned out fantastic! Thank you so much for tackling such a big project and one that truly honors your heritage and blesses your family.

    You are AWESOME!