The Great Bed Transformation…

Evening all (or morning/afternoon depending on what time you’re reading this  😀 )

It’s about time I posted up a few blogs on what I’ve been up to and how I’m progressing with my ‘To Do List’…

Item 1 on ‘The List’ is a Headboard. More specifically, that means transforming a bed for my youngest son.  Love him to bits but he is on the Autistic Spectrum and is a right royal pain in the bum sometimes!

The basic background story is he has the smallest bedroom in the house and is pretty tall so needs a double bed. The gap, to get said double bed in, is rather tight to say the least.  Now given the choice, he would have painted the room entirely black but I managed to persuade him to have red walls with black fittings and black carpet. Then I splattered white, black and yellow paint up the walls, as ya do! As you are about to see my son is a ‘Gooner’.. that’s an Arsenal FC supporter to anyone who doesn’t know English football.  Now when it came to him needing a new bed the only one I could find to fit the limited gap was a metal framed Silver thing. Well you would have thought the world was about to end any second! He wasn’t having any of it! Knowing what he really wanted was one of those swanky leather beds where a TV screen rises up out of the foot end (never gonna happen!) I persuaded him I could make it look cool and fit in to his Black/Red/Yellow Arsenal coloured room… and he fell for it… Phew. The bed arrived and I set to work….

First off I drew out a plan of the bedhead to work out how much material I would need. Then I used two double layers of wadding to pad out the metal. The first double layer was wrapped horizontally around and then whip stitched using a curved upholstery needle. The next double layer went on vertically and was again, whip stitched in place. Along the bottom edge I just secured the wadding in a few places. My intention was to then make a cover that would slide down and hide all the metal and wadding and appear, for all intents and purposes, a leather bed 🙂


Right then on to the next stage… at this point the bedhead vanished upstairs so that my son actually had a bed to sleep in whilst I got on with my creation.

I should mention here that, whilst we were out bed shopping I jokingly threatened to buy one of the kiddy beds that had footballs on the headboard. I should also mention that I had purchased a few meters of Black leatherette and a meter of Red leatherette. What I thought I would do is stitch the black leatherette to look like panels and then put in a piped red edging. It didn’t quite work out that way but here is what did happen….

About a week previously I purchased a Sewing magazine that had a free gift of a gold leatherette fat quarter. I don’t use fat quarters at all and generally give them away with the rest of my fabric trimmings to people who like patchwork but I suddenly had a flash of inspiration… I later wondered why I undertook such a project but I did. And it went like this….

Whatever possessed me I do not know but at the time I thought it was an awesome idea. A one of a kind, personalised Arsenal bed head for my little Gooners bedroom.. I must be mental! Trouble was I’d started and he’d seen it so I had to carry it through. It was actually pretty easy. I downloaded an image of the club badge then enlarged it freehand to the size I wanted for the center of the bedhead. Then cut out the paper pattern to use to cut the leatherette. I glued the gold to the red but then realised this was a headboard and I would HAVE to topstitch it in place if it was ever to have any durability at all 😦 but here I have a secret weapon… I give you the device to give your perfect topstitching every time…


TA DAH…  yes I know it’s extremely old, and yes I did keep moving my foot to press on the treadle that doesn’t exist BUT the very fact its hand cranked means you can sew very slowly and accurately around the smallest of details. Ok the stitch length can’t be set to a precise mm but it still works better than any other machine for topstitching just about anything and everything.


Now correct me if I’m wrong but you’re thinking ‘that badge doesn’t look quite right’ aren’t you? I was too… But the thought of topstitching all that lettering that was missing was too much. I tried to cut the letters out too but I couldn’t get that as neat as I wanted either. I left it a few nights and had a think. The main problem was that I used a scalpel to cut out the letters and it was snagging on the knit mesh backing of the leatherette so I tried again this time cutting the letters out carefully with a small pair of embroidery scissors. That worked perfectly but there was still the thought of all that extra topstitching. Eventually I bit the bullet, glued them in place and went for it….

Still not as perfect as I’d like but it was done! And he loved it!! 😀  Several friends tried to order their own but they were sent packing very quickly lol… This is defiantly a ‘one off’ never to be repeated.. Well not by me at least.

So next on to the black ‘panels’. I cut two rectangles the same size as the padded out headboard plus 2 inches on the length and 3 inches on the height (without legs). This gave me space for two 1/4in false seams plus a 1/2in seam allowance around the outer edges. Then I cut a strip long enough to go from the floor, up the leg, across the top and down the other leg to the floor again. Whilst doing so I ensured the seams would be across the two corners. Next I divided my front panel into three equal sections excluding the 1/2in seam allowance from either outer edge. By folding down the two resulting lines, right side of fabric innermost, you can then stitch a line 1/4in from the folded edge which, when folded out flat again, creates the illusion of having 3 leather panels stitched together :D. Before continuing the main construction I centered the Arsenal Badge in the center panel about 2 inches below the top seamline, glued and (because I hadn’t done enough already) topstitched it in place.

Time to complete my headboard. Now I mentioned at the beginning that I intended to insert a line of Red piping around the edge of the headboard. This didn’t quite go according to plan. For some reason my posh new electronic machine couldn’t seem to handle the leatherette and piping cord. I was working late at night and was a bit tired at the time so it was more than likely my fault but it just wasn’t working. I even tried it with the old hand cranked machine but I gave up in the end. My solution was to fold the red strip in half and then insert that in-between the front panel and the top/side panel I had prepared ensuring to match up my seams with the corners of the front panel. Pins and leatherette don’t work well together so I used some amazing little clips to hold all the pieces of fabric together whilst I sewed. The pink ones in the photo were another free gift from a craft magazine and the purple ones I purchased from Hobbycraft. They are pretty inexpensive and I believe are used extensively buy quilters to hold several layers of fabric and wadding in place whilst they work. They are particularly good for holding binding perfectly in place too :D… Oh I’ve just remembered I used Red strong thread for the seams too, just to add a bit more detail as well as strength.

Lastly I added two panels below the main headboard cover on either side. These then wrap around the leg to complete the look.. A-nd here it is all finished and in place.


I was pretty chuffed with the overall result and my lil-man (he’s 21 and 5’10” but still my lil-man lol) loves it… So what do you guys think? Anything you would have done differently?

Untill my next blog.. Happy Sewing 😀


About acraftteacuppa

Vintage kinda gal loves all things 40s 50s and art deco. Loves all kinds of crafts especially sewing. addicted to fabric, antiques and shoes. Have two sons and two Akitas that I adore. Passionate about our armed forces, WW1 family history. Living on WW2 Rations for Charity for a whole year. Would one day like to have a tea shop/haberdashery/sewing rooms to relax chat and teach/share all sorts of craft skills in <3
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