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Cutsey Curtains & Cushions II

April 27, 2011

Finally, they’re finished!!  Well, the ones for the foreberth are, anyway.  And jeepers, it’s about time too.  You would not believe how many times I had to get the guy to alter the damn things!

man outside upholstery shop

Hussein is our new upholstery guy!

First, I had to go and get the foam cut myself – but I already told you that, didn’t I?  (Curtains Part One!) Well, never mind, it was an adventure driving into the desert in a dust storm – I so wish I’d taken a photo.

But the upholstery guy was tricksy, I can tell you.  He was very nice, I have to say, but tricksy.  See, we had the lounge reupholstered a few years ago, after Walmesley ate his way through some of it.  (To be fair, it was old and needed doing anyway, so not all his fault ).  And it cost KD10 ($36) per seat.  That included the settee itself, and the cushions for the back and the bum.  Anyway, we liked the fabric so much that we decided to buy the entire roll, knowing that ten years down the road we would be reupholstering the boat too.  Did I mention the kids were here too?  They came to the city with us, and it was like this grand day out choosing styles, debating colours and stuff.  (Incidentally, we know it’s not marine grade, but it is water resistant –  the sort that repels kid stains and all that, so we thought we’d go for it.  After all, the cushions from the beach loungers are only covered in normal fabric, and they’ve lasted for years being trampled on and drenched in salt water in their years on the deck.)

Blue lounge furniture

We liked the nautical feel....

So when this guy asked for KD10 per cushion, I thought he was trying to rip me off.  In the end, he made all three pieces for KD20, so that’s KD7 per piece. And the foam and cutting cost KD28 ($101).  That’s a total of KD48 just for the foreberth.  I can’t remember the cost of the fabric, it was so long ago…

Anyway, now he says he wants KD8 per piece when we do the straight cushions. Well, I’ll offer him KD5 a piece, and if he doesn’t like it, I’ll got to the place two doors down!

Initially, we argued about the velcro.  Hussein wanted me to use zips, which I suppose is what he is used to working with.  But zips break, so I was determined to have velcro.

old v berth cushion

Stripes can work for you... Or not.

We had to take the zips out of our old cushions, and replace it with velcro, and of course there was none of the original fabric, so the boat guy promised to replace it with something that matched well.  Ha. My idea of a nice match would have been maybe a plain cream, or navy, or even white.  But no.  Ali went for bright blue and yellow stripes.  I was horrified.  Marc did say to relax, the awful bits were hidden….  But… I mean!!!

So, velrco it had to be.  And there the hassles began.  I don’t think these guys had ever worked with velcro before.

Badly aligned velcro on cushion side

Top workmanship, what?

The workmanship was shoddy – I had to make him redo work at least three times.  On the first cushion we collected, the velcro didn’t match up in order for the cushion to close.  Then when they corrected it, some velcro was sewn in so badly that the patch came right off.  And they didn’t even bother to hide some of it. And the seams were terrible.  First, the flaps stuck out, so we had an extra centimetre of fabric at the sides.  Then when I asked hin to trim them he left the velcro on show.  I had assumed that the guy would have an idea of what was acceptable, since he works in the industry – he makes cushion and upholstery for a living!

Did I mention that they didn’t even measure the cushions correctly?  The small one didn’t match up with the medium one.  I was horrified, and thought I’d made a mistake with cutting the foam.

misaligned cushions

See that step? It's huge?

But once on the boat, it looked so wrong, I double checked the measurements.  They had actually made the cover four coentimeters smaller than the cushion.  That was when I took them all back to the shop and started ranting.  It’s like they just didn’t give a shit about the quality of their work.

You know when you just give up?  Well, that was me.  And that’s when they bucked up and started working properly!  And do you know, I’m quite pleased with the end result.  Admittedly, I haven’t taken them to the boat yet for the final fitting, I’m waiting for the pontoons to cool down for Daafsha’s paws…  But now I can see that the edges are straight, and I covered them with cushions yesterday to see what the finished product will look like anyway:

Blue cushions in foreberth

Well, they might not be marine grade, but they're pretty!

Edit, 1st May:  Now they do fit.  And I’m happy with the overall quality of the cushions.  I’ll leave it a few weeks and make sure they last, and if they’re still OK, I’ll return to Hussein to make the next lot.  He was a lot of work for the first batch, but they were the trickiest after all, and the probably just aren’t used to making anything other than bog standard diwaniya furnitur!  We now need new cushions for the main cabin and quarter berth.  The berths in the main cabin have also grown.  Whilst the quarterberth cushion is actually fine, I’ll replace it anyway to increase the resale value of the boat… just in case we decide to trade up!

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