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How hard is it to make slipcovers?

Sojeaner | Posted in General Discussion on

Has anyone followed the Threads article for that? I’m thinking with the stretching, etc that I’m probably better off doing that.


  1. stitchmd | | #1

    I haven't, but know someone who has. She used to be a theater costumer, so is experienced with large yardages and sturdy projects. She said it was hard and she'd never do it again, much better to pay someone to do it for you. She was pretty poor at the time, so wasn't being flippant about the expense.

    1. LindaG | | #2

      Hi Sojeaner and Pasdenom,

      I was in the mood for a big project and made a slipcover for a family room couch.  I didn't have very high expectations but through a combination of reading the Threads article, measuring, making a muslin, and lots of ripping out, I ended up with something that looks OK.  It's certainly better than the grayish, dirty beige polyester it was before.  I chose a cotton print (on sale) that was forgiving of wavy seams  and kind of figured it out as I went along. 

       I then tried to recover an armchair with a heavier fabric -- more of a tapestry -- and don't like the results as much so I may try again with some thing easier to work with.  

      It IS a lot of work but you'll be really impressed with yourself at the end.

      Have fun,


      1. mariadelicia | | #6

        Conratulations for your slip cover! I have just finish cutting mines for two loveseats I have and I hope they will look as great as yours

        1. edgy | | #7

          Can you please explain "panel the body"?Thanks,

          1. mariadelicia | | #8

            I didnt write to you about panels but I think panels are the different parts or pieces that together form the complete pattern of the slipcover

    2. Catherine2 | | #10

      I tried the slip covers featured  in Threads some years ago. Basically a sheet of fabric to cover the lounge then a top piece of a feature fabric running from the base of the lounge at the back over to the front and out over the arms. The whole thing is then held in place with your choice of ties or buttons or whatever. Very simple to sew and the look is effective. I have since made a set for winter and a set for summer. Nice to have a change all with the added bonus of being easy to wash!

      Have fun, Cathy2

      1. carolfresia | | #11

        That was called the "Sofa Wrap," and I made one too. It's a pretty clever design, and depending on the fabric you choose, can look like just about anything.


        1. RITAE1 | | #12


  2. Teaf | | #3

    If you aren't adding piping, making slipcovers can be easier than making a garment! The scariest part is calculating yardage and cutting into decorator fabric, but I've solved that problem by using blank newsprint and masking tape to make patterns for each piece, then laying them out on a cutting board that's as wide as the fabric I want to use. I often buy an extra yard of fabric just in case; I can use it for a coordinating pillow if I don't need it for the cover.

    With the real fabric, I use 1" seam allowances, drape the generously-cut rough pieces inside out over the chair/sofa, and pin the precise seamlines there before stitching them. If the fabric is expensive, I'll do a test run with an old sheet or muslin so that I'm not surprised by odd corners or fitting challenges and then leave it on as a kind of interlining for the decorator fabric. I slipcovered a sofa in beautiful sage chenille for $19.00, and I'm slipcovering an easy chair for $12.00 right now-- so it's definitely worth it for me!

    1. dayflower | | #4

      I have sewn for years but got my nerve up to make a slip cover for a new "white" couch that I had bought....grand kids were coming to visit....so was self defense...anyway I did it the same was as another had suggested...by trial and error, putting a piece of muslin over each section of the couch and drawing where the seam should be then cutting the piece leaving a 3/4" seam allowance and marking each piece, by the time I finished I had a finished cover made of muslin, stitched with a basting stitch so I could rip it out and use it for my pattern....knowing my couch wouldn't gain weight...(like me) so now I have a pattern to use whenever I want and have made several covers for different seasons.

  3. PLittel | | #5

    I have made slipcovers professionally for about twenty years. An older tailor taught me just out of college. It has been a tremendous boon for me, as I love working with fabric, and reupholstery is not always necessary.

    Slipcovering is not a daunting task if you take it step by step. I ALWAYS measure and fit my cushions first. This is especially important if you are doing a waterfall match of the pattern. The best way to gage the yardage for a cushion is to simply double the length of the pillow (that is for single width  under 27" wide). Most cushions take 1 1/2 yards. This includes welting and boxing yardage.

    An average sofa takes 18 yards of fabric; loose pillow back will need 21 yards.

    Single chair usually requires 7 yards, loose pillow back chair will require 10-11.

    I always self-line my skirts; this adds body and weight to the slipcover. Try to cut the seams of the slipcover as close to the upholstery seams as possible. These seams are usually identified as the best place to "panel" the body.

    Although slipcovers are beautiful, and can add fresh character to a room, I would not advise making them with a non-commercial machine. It would take hours longer, especially if you are fabricating the welting.

    REMEMBER: if you plan to wash the slipcovers, always pre-wash the fabric you are using. Cording is made out of cotton, and will shrink during washing, even if you line dry, or place the slicovers on the furniture slightly damp. After all the work making them, this step will really protect your creation.

    If you have scraps, make large arm sleeves and a throw for over the cushions. It matches beautifully, and will add years to your covers.

    1. suesew | | #9

      Would you mind telling us what you charge someone to make a slipcover? I have been following the "so much per yard used" with a rate that varies acordinjg to the match of the fabric and whether or not I am using and /or making cording. Thanks, sue

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