Several weeks ago, a customer asked me to create a pair of ottomans upholstered with sheepskins, similar to this previous project. She liked the concept, but wanted something taller and narrower that could double as either a footstool or a seat.
The first step was felting enough sheepskin to cover the foam cores. This is not a true sheepskin in that there is no animal slaughter involved. Wool locks are laid over a wool batt. The locks felt to the batt to create something that looks similar to a sheepskin. I chose romney locks over carded romney batts because it makes a solid, durable felt and the romney locks have a beautiful lustre and curl. I laid out my full 8′ x 4′ workbench, but chose to cut it up into pieces to work in sections rather than felt the whole thing as a single piece.
Next I sewed several pieces together to create a slipcover, which I stapled to a piece of plywood in the base.
The last step was covering the staples to create a seamless bottom. A piece of woven upholstery fabric cut to size, spray mounted in place was covered with twill tape and upholstery tacks. This was more time consuming than I expected. Getting the tacks through the layers of fabric and sheepskin was difficult. I bent and broke twice as many tacks as I used.
Some little rubber feet keep the bottom of the ottoman off the floor.
The finished pieces measure 18″ tall and 14″ in diameter. The rigid foam creates a dense core which will not collapse, slump or squish. As with every custom project, I consistently underestimate the time involved, but I learn a lot along the way. I owe my mother an enormous hug for swooping in during the middle of the process; she sewed muslin slipcovers for an inside layer between the foam and the sheepskins to hold the plywood base in place. She also nursed me through the flu and took care of my family while I convalesced.