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Going to the Dogs!
Plumbs Furniture Covers
Member Name: SueMagee
Plumbs Furniture Covers
Date: 04/07/02, updated on 04/07/02 (3240 review reads)
Advantages: See text
Disadvantages: See text
They're only allowed on two pieces of furniture - the dog sofas as they're known - everything else is out-of-bounds. The sofas, one at each end of the long living area have suffered though. One Ridgeback nicely fills a two-seater sofa and the three-seater doesn't have much room for a human occupant when you get both of them in residence. They sprawl when they come in from the fields. They drool when they think of dinner. Well, I hope that's what they're thinking about.
So, the old non-washable covers were looking decidedly the worse for wear. As well as being grubby they'd suffered from generations of puppies (and their friends) wondering if the piping around the edge of the cushions tasted as good as it looked. I used to throw fleeces over the sofas, but the dogs ate them. There was nothing for it. New covers were required.
Normally, I'd have done this sort of thing myself, but since an operation on my hand last year I've had problems handling large pieces of material. Even dish cloths and dusters cause me problems, but that has nothing to do with my hand. I was beginning to think that I would have to bite the bullet and do it, though, when I saw an advert for 'Plumbs Made-to-Measure Furniture Covers' in one of the Sunday supplements.
There was a suite in the picture. It was cream and pristine. The covers fit so well that I would swear that it was upholstered rather than having covers. All the cushions were artistically placed and there was not a dog in sight. "Why renew your furniture" it said "when you can give it a new lease of life..." Why indeed? I could request a visit from a consultant. Now that everybody is a consultant, what do we call Consulta
Arranging a consultation is easy. There's a web-site at www.plumbscovers.co.uk and it's always worth checking this first as I was offered a discount if I requested the consultation online. You can telephone on 01772 90 15 15 and the line's open 24 hours a day. A freephone number would have been nice, but at least there's a Freepost address if you prefer that course. It's Plumbs Classic Covers, FREEPOST, Old Lancaster Lane, Preston, PR1 7BR. You'll then receive a pack containing some advertising bumph, a video (more advertising bumph) and a promise that a consultant will telephone you to arrange an appointment.
Linda was lovely. She always made her appointments for within a two hour slot, a bit like Tesco home deliveries, but unlike them she was always there right at the beginning of the slot. I knew pretty well what I wanted. The covers would have to be cotton because both our dogs have skin allergies and I have to be very careful what material they spend any length of time on. It had to be washable, for obvious reasons, and one sofa had to be Wedgwood blue and the other forest green. The choice was not large and it's probably fortunate that I was happy with the one of each that was there.
The fabric used is mid-quality upholstery fabric. The range isn't extensive and seems to have been chosen on the basis of 'wouldn't offend anyone' rather than looking to being at all innovative. If you're wanting something a bit unusual I doubt you'll find it within the Plumb's range. Once you've chosen your fabric you have to decide on the style of cover that you want and whether you want piping and valances. Don't worry if this all sounds a bit complicated - I found Linda knowledgeable and helpful.
Next came the price. On the adverts you'll see figures quoted such as 'We can measure, make and fit suite covers for only £199'. Now this is for the ch
eapest material, in the simplest style and for the smallest suite imaginable, with them all being done in the same fabric. A three-seater sofa and a large two-seater sofa in two different fabrics but done in a very basic style came to £509 even after I took advantage of the discount for arranging the consultation online. I'd already estimated that the fabric and other materials to do the covers would cost in the region of £300, so I was paying £200 or so for someone to make the covers for me. It didn't seem too bad a deal considering the amount of work involved.
A deposit of about a third was paid, and I was told that I could expect delivery in about six weeks, although the consultant said that recently the covers had been coming through in about four weeks.
The final part of the ordering process is the measuring of the furniture. Be warned, this entails the sofa (or whatever) being stripped as far as possible, so you might want to vacuum it out first yourself. I hadn't thought about this and I was somewhat relieved that we only found a dog toy that had been lost for quite a while, a chocolate biscuit that one of my grandsons swore the other had eaten, and most of the garden. It could have been so much worse! The measuring took about an hour and photographs were taken to help the people making up the covers.
It was not four, not six, but eight weeks later that I got a phone call from Linda to say that the covers were ready. Now when they arrived they had been packed in a box for some time, so were rather creased, but this dropped out within a matter of days. The zips on the covers were good quality and all matched their fabrics. That might sound rather obvious, but you'd be surprised at how many manufacturers use a general-purpose colour, such as beige, for all their fabrics. There were one or two things, though, that I was less happy about.
It would appear that there is no quality control before the c
overs leave the factory. The advertising states that the consultant will fit the covers personally 'and check that everything's perfect'. It wasn't. One seam had been so badly sewn that there was a gaping hole six inches long in it. If possible I would recommend being with the consultant as the covers are fitted and keeping a very close eye to see if there are any problems. I negotiated a £20 discount on the overall price. This was a bargain for me as it's no problem for me to restitch a seam.
The other problem arises from the fact that the covers are creased when they are first fitted. It's actually very difficult to see what is simple creasing and what is poor fitting. I had one area (and, in fairness, only one area) where the cover simply did not fit. I took this apart and remade it myself so that it does fit, but had I not been able to do this it would have meant the covers going back to Plumbs for alteration with no guarantee that they would be any better.
One cushion cover has had to be washed after it encountered a cut ear. If there is any shrinkage it isn't noticeable and there has been no marked fading of the colour. After ironing it was back in place within a matter of hours.
Overall I am reasonably satisfied with the covers, but what I wanted was two covers to smarten up a couple of shabby old sofas which the dogs would continue to use. Well, I'm not big enough to stop them! I'm also capable of putting right the odd problem. Had I wanted smart covers and not been able to put problems right myself I doubt that I would be quite so pleased. I'd be happy to recommend them to a friend with these provisos.
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