How to Make Slipcovers

hate me, why didn’t I straighten out the slipcover first?

I made this beautiful white slipcover last weekend.  And by “I” I mean, my friend in real life, Kristi, the slipcover whisperer from Pink and Polka Dot. She is a self taught slip cover queen. And also, the title of this post is a lie.  I am not going to be telling you how to make the slipcovers, but I can tell you where to find out how to make them.  It’s easier than you might think.

Here we all are Tiny Twig (Hayley), The Nester, Kristi and Edie.  And our victims, an office chair and my $12 thrifty wing back chair.  I know it’s hard to tell because of my mad photo shopping skilz but Edie wasn’t actually able to make it for the weekend.  So I just snuck in a photo of her to make it look like she was here.  We so missed her.

I used about $50 worth of white canvas or duck or something like that.  I just asked my fabriteer what people use for white slipcovers.  They can also tell you how many yards to get for your item.  Then you need to wash it in hot water and dry it so it shrinks before you sew it.  Did you hear that?  It’s pretty much the MOST important step. For the love of slipcovers, PREWASH YOUR FABRIC OR ELSE.

Kristi commented on the fact that I should have found a curvier chair for my first slipcover.  I think she was being sarcastic.

I am not even going to try to tell you what we are doing in every photo.  Not because it’s hard or impossible to remember but because Kristi has already done the hard work of creating an ebook so the world can know her secrets.

Basically we cut pieces of fabric the shape of the chair and pinned it all together, I couldn’t believe how easy it was once we got the hang of it.

Doesn’t it look like something out of the Curious Sofa’s Halloween Extravaganza?

We basted everything with black thread.  Basted is fancy talk for let’s pretend we are in the 1800’s and get out a needle and thread and do really big stitches around where we pinned everything so that it will help hold all these pieces together.  Then we all started sewing.  Including Edie.

Here’s Twiggy’s slipcoverd chair~she is so adorable.

Because I am Nellie Olsen, I decided it was imperative to have the most elaborate, labor intensive, persnickety skirt possible for my slipcover.  Much to my surprise, Kristi was all for it and knew just how to attack making the little knife pleats all around the bottom.  She’s almost like a slipcover mistreater, she knows all the cheats  to make slipcovering easy and not intimidating but also is smart enough to know how to make it so it won’t fall apart when you wash it.

Here’s Kristi, slaving away.  In my defense, I actually did sew the entire body of the slipcover all by myself.  But she did all the real work.

It took the four of us from 10ish in the morning until 5ish at night to do the two chairs.  Edie was no help whatsoever though and Hayley left at 2ish when her chair was done.  I think it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time.  Not that raising boys and stuff isn’t rewarding but there is something about seeing immediate results that is so invigorating.

The chair has claimed it’s rightful place as my most adorable piece of furniture I’ve ever owned.  I am in love.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  And I feel totally confident that I could recover another chair all by myself.

If you love white slipcover but think you can’t have them because you have kids and animals, read about Pink’s experince with white slipcovers. She’s had them for years.  However, it is a commitment to wash them from time to time.  Here are a few comments from the post I did the other day when I asked if you like white slipcovers.

If you are ready to take the next step and want to know how to make your own slipcovers you will want to invest in a little $10 ebook that Kristi from Pink and Polka Dot wrote.

*

Lastly, before you need to go trim your 5 inch long fingernails, shave your wool legs and meet your new grandchildren for the first time, after reading this post, would anyone out there be interested in coming to my house sometime in the future to learn how to do slipcovers with me and Kristi and hopefully Hayley and Edie?  We could um…practice on my sofa.  It would be like a sweat shop fun hangout time for you to learn how to make slipcovers while I watch everyone sew serve up iced coffees and entertain you.  You would need to be able to get here to the Charlotte area, know how to sew {just VERY basic sewing nothing at all fancy} and bring a sewing machine.

**Updated:: we did it!  I was so happy with the chair that I had a group of friends come over and we slipped our sectional sofa in ONE DAY  you can do it too read all about it here.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Painters cloth is inexpensive too.

  2. Sewing Suite says:

    In addressing the idea of things having to be “perfect” , I agree a person who spends their life pursuing perfection isn’t enjoying the journey. That being said, I think anyone that has been led to this blog with the belief that they may be enlightened on how to make a slip cover will be sadly disappointed. The group effort on your sectional was a success, but that chair is a small, barely noticable , step above throwing a sheet over it! The knife pleat edge which turned out ok, looks like a woman throwing on a beaded head band to make her bad hair day look better! Please don’t think I’m being “snarky”, girl, I’m just keepin’ it real! I’m attempting to slip cover a sofa and loveseat at the moment, but I will muddle thru rather than follow instructions that will lead to that disaster. It’s been two years? Maybe time for another slip cover party?

  3. White bull denim is the best fabric to use. It’s easy to work with and most of the time you can get it prewashed. My upholsterer did 8 pieces of furniture for me including a sofa with the bull denim and it was great. Of course I made him line everything because that’s what designers do but you don’t have to line.

  4. Hi, I’m making a sofa slipcover and it is turning out nicely. However, I could not for the life of me get puckering out of the edges of the cushions. I sewed the piping onto the flat pieces, then sewed those onto the boxing. Not only were they puckered all to heck, but they were different lengths at the end of the seam and that all had to be adjusted in the side seam.
    I tried everything – spent a week on it – adjusting tensions, needle size, thread type, sewing piping from bottom or top, attaching the last piece from bottom or top. I got improvements, but never a nice flat seam. How can I fix this puckering – there must be an easy way because every slipcover I see has a nice flat seam.
    Maybe there is a zipper foot/walking foot combo – that would be nice.

    Cindy

    • Hi Cindy, so sorry! I’m not a sewing expert at all, I sewed some of the piping onto my chair and even with my horrid skills I didn’t have a big puckering problem, so I’m thinking there’s an easy fix, maybe email Kristi, the slipcover girl? Here’s her site: http://www.pinkandpolkadot.net/ good luck!!

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  8. My oh my, some people certainly get their slip-covers in a twist about puckers & threads & narky comments! Would I be happy with a slipcover like that in my own house? Probably not. But I am a very skilled seamstress, & being a perfectionist about my sewing is not only my job, but it doesn’t stress me out; which I think is the point Nester is trying to make. Do I feel the need to criticise the effort? No! In what universe is that helpful?

    Good on you, Nester, for doing what you can to love the house you live in, & for creating space for people to relax & do the same to their own homes.

  9. Kelly Conroy says:

    Love your book “the nesting place” just purchased the slip cover book!!! Thank you!!

  10. What fabric is this that you used? It’s beautiful.

  11. This is a great post! Now – where can I find that kind of fabric? I’ve been looking at JoAnn Fabrics for years and they never seem to have anything thick enough to take the constant washing. When shopping on line I find it difficult to judge the thickness of the fabrics. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!

  12. I’m so glad I came across your blog. I would love to make some slip covers, They are so expensive to buy. I have tried to cover. a chair once but there were parts I didn’t know where to tuck it in. I enjoyed my visit here and will be sure to stop buy again. I just started a blog myself. Have a happy Spring.

  13. White slip covers are really easy to care for. I use bleached cotton drop clothes for mine. We have a big dog and five cats. Trust me, they work out great!

  14. April Jackson says:

    Hi! I am not good at sewing nor do I have the desire to try to make a slipcover, but would love to get a slipcover for my couch. Do you have any suggestions of companies who make slipcovers without charging an “arm and a leg”?

    Thanks for any help!

  15. Great !
    Thanks for sharing it

  16. Brandi Herrera says:

    I read a comment above and I totally agree! What a disappointment, you should be ashamed of yourself, this was a waste of my time. The ole bait n switch….you bait us in with the thought of a post to help us and its nothing more then your friends and you fooling around with no true good useable result.Try to not try so hard to be witty, hurts just to skim it. You used us for clicks to make money – Shame ON YOU.

  17. wow :) thanks for post

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