Monday, April 2, 2012

Dinette Cushions Part 2

In the previous post I said that re-covering the dinette cushions was quoted at more than a thousand dollars.  So I decided to remove 64 tufting buttons, which would allow me to remove and thoroughly wash the covers.

The cushions ended up being a little more of a challenge than planned.  There is also a hard-earned lesson here.

I had hoped to re-install the same buttons, but it turns out that the staining on the 32 top-side buttons was rust coming from the metal core of the buttons.  They were ruined.  Furthermore, I think some of the staining on the cushions was this rust rubbing off onto the other fabric.
So I made new fabric covered buttons.  
In this picture you see the worst button next to a new one:

I used cover button kits similar to the one in this picture - instructions are on the package.

Here's a good video on how to sew the tufting buttons on to a cushion:
...and a photo of the tools I needed for the job:

Here's a completed cushion, finished with two coats of Scotch Guard:

Why did the buttons rust?
I think it happened after steam cleaning the upholstery. The upholstery did not dry fast enough.  A motorhome is a small enclosed space with less opportunity for humidity to dissipate. I must have failed to allow adequate ventilation, and then prolonged dampness caused the buttons to rust from the inside out. Unfortunately there are some more rusted buttons on the captain's chairs, but now I have the fabric, tools and  skills to repair the rest.

The lesson: 
After steam-cleaning tufted upholstery, provide lots of ventilation, perhaps a circulating fan and possibly even some heat.  In future, I might even consider using a blow dryer on the buttons to eliminate any chance of rust.  


Jim and Sandie said...

The cushion looks really great. Good info about the rusting buttons.

Karen and Tony said...

Wow , you really got it clean! Was it hard to get the cushion back into the cover? Did you wash the cover in a machine or hand wash it?

Dean J said...

Thanks! There's a zipper on one end, so that helped with removal. Then I washed twice in a high-efficiency machine on the gentle cycle, with warm (not hot) water to avoid shrinking. Getting the covers back on was a challenge, but not too bad. If you were to shrink the covers that would be very bad!

Karen and Tony said...

Thanks for the reply! I've always wondered if it was possible to wash the covers but I've been too chicken to try it.

Dean J said...

I will say that making those buttons and sewing them on was quite time-consuming.