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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  1. You are so cute! Love the drawn in image of your friend…and that chair! $12?! Great job…reminds me of fashion school, draping of the form, but this time a chair. Very cool! Janell

  2. LOVE LOVE your chair and the slipcover is OH SO PRETTY!! I am really really going to try and make a (white??) slipcover for my own chair after my vacation. Heck for my cat Pinky, lol she is just sweet and if she messes up (or moi) the washing machine is my best friend lol. Going to check to how to and tips now.

    Hugs from Marian

  3. I wish! I purchased a slip cover a few months ago, only to return it because it looked terrible on my sofa! I have such a comfy sofa, but the color just isn’t my thing anymore, and would really love to lighten (and brighten) my living room! Wish I were closer, cause I’m even learning how to sew right now!

  4. I would do a slipcover party! I’m in Charlotte so I would totally be there!! I’m a sewer (if being able to make a pillowcase counts as being a sewer) but I have wanted to tackle this project FOR YEARS but I’ve never had the guts to try. So if you decide to try this sign me up!

  5. I’d be up for helping out! Keep my name handy. One of the other girls probably has one, but if not, I can bring along a serger too to make the seams all legit-like.

    Plus, it’d give me a good idea if I’m brave enough to tackle my own!

  6. Hi! I’m in the Charlotte area too and would love to learn to slipcover! Please let me know if you’re going to do this. I have sewn before to various sucess on the simplest of projects and own a sewing machine so I think that should qualify me??!!!

  7. I would LOVE to come learn how to slipcover my sofa, but 1) I don’t know how to sew beyond a button and 2) I don’t own a sewing machine. Oh well!

    Your chair looks fantastic!

  8. I’d be there for your sofa slipcover project in a heartbeat (!) if it wasn’t for the fact that I live -oh, probably 12 or so hours away.

    The chairs are beautiful! And I can’t wait to see your “new” sofa. I think you’re gonna love having white slipcovers!

  9. That’s it. I’m making my husband pack up and move the kids up to Charlotte with me. Sure, his job is here in FL, our families are in FL, but once I tell him that when we’re in Charlotte I can go to the Nester’s house for slipcover parties, yard sales, swap meets, and other such fabulous gatherings, he’ll completely understand. :)

  10. Nellie Olson? You are too funny!
    Love the slipcovers. They are positively dreamy.

  11. Yes ma’am! I’m a hop, skip and jump away. Count me in.

  12. ohhh, great post! I so need to do this to my love seat, and a huge chair I just inherited from daughter Jamie. I have really been playing it over in my head. However, I’d rather be operating a table saw than a sewing machine. hmmm That won’t work, will it?
    I’m going to check out pink’s site!

  13. I’ve been meaning to ask you – would you post your iced coffee recipe? Pretty please???

    Good for you on the slipcover! I love pleated skirts. Have you seen the latest issue of Country Living? I plan to copy that slipcovered ottoman for my sunroom.


    • OH it is so easy.

      2 shots of chilled espresso, then like 1 1/2 cups of milk?, then creamer to taste.

      I never measure anything.

  14. LOVE your slipcover. It’s so pretty! I really want to slipcover some of my furniture and while these posts are great, I would really like to get together with you gals and see first hand. I live in the Charlotte area and would race for the chance to practice with you! Please let me know if you do it.
    P.S. Edie looks great and I am still in total chair envy over here…. great job!

  15. can i come?

    i’m in love and suddenly want everything in my house to have a white slipcover.

  16. Oh My Word! I would love love love too. I’m about 4 hours away from Charlotte and have friends there. I have a sewing machine and can sew fairly well. But I am intimidated by slipcovers. I’m a fan of white and all that but I just use king size sheets and throw them over the ugly I’m trying to cover. This would be soooo great. Let me know when.

  17. I want to make slip covers so badly! No matter how many great tutorials I read, I’m still chicken. One of these days maybe.

  18. You are too sweet an have given me a big head! I had a blast with you and twiggy! Thank your gracious family for having me! Those pleats make me scream like a little girl! Luv them! Great job!

  19. What impeccable timing!! I was literally sitting down to check out my ‘daily blogs’ before going off to tackle a white slipcover for the chair that’s been sitting in our basement for…oh let’s say…4 years. I’ve googled how to make one but Pink & Polka Dot never came up.
    Seriously. This is providential.

  20. I have chair envy!!!! I have 2 matching craigslist chairs that I bought with intent to slipcover them using Pink’s instructions. Haven’t gotten around to it, but this might have given me the motivation to just do it! I would LOVE to know how to do the little pleats, pretty please, do you think she would tell us how??
    I have a slipcovered chair w/fabric light in color, yes it gets dirty, but I wash it and it feels so good. I wish all of my furniture had slipcovers. I have two small dogs and two small children and I would buy that chair again and again and again.

  21. sweet friend, can we have our husbands drag my couch over, too? and get the sweatshop (i mean…friends) to do mine, too. yours looks great!

  22. That still looks hard to me and I’ve sewn all my life. Maybe It’s that I’m old and lazy! Actually, I might try it if I had Edie here!!

  23. I. LOVE. IT!

    I’ve been contemplating slipcovering our chair and sofa for a long time… but was too chicken.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  24. so glad you featured this. I stumbled upon Pink’s post on how to make a slipcover months ago when I became the owner of 4 wingback chairs for $20. Yes….4 of them for only $20. Two were red and two were a weird brown color from a friend’s family’s restaurant that shut down. I didn’t know what to do since hubs had this idea of using them around our kitchen table even though they totally didn’t go with the decor/look I was going for. Luckily I found her blog and was inspired. I have two young kids ( 10mths and 3yrs) plus 2 cats that continually test the durability and create challenging “let’s see if she can get this clean” stains to the white slipcovers . I must say with Oxiclean and bleach in hand I just have to smile as with in hours it’s clean, stain free and back on. Thank you Pink&PolkaDot and Nester for bring more people over to the White Slipcover Side! Oh and love the extra pleating done on the bottom of yours.
    I hope to do our dining room chairs soon. :)

  25. Oh, I can so tell that Edie has lost weight….and I would love to come to bring the Southern Inspiration, but I am just oh so far away over here in TEXAS; I would love to come and see how the experts do it!!! ;D


  26. Wish I were closer. I’d love to come help and learn how to make my own.

    Anyone ever successfully slipcovered leather furniture? Can it be done (and look nice)?

  27. ummm….YES…in a heartbeat, sign me up!

  28. I would make the drive from Virginia! I sew, own a new Viking and have a small wingback I have been wanting to cover forever!!!!! OK…now you are getting me excited ;-) If I can manage a chair, I would then tackle my Ethan Allen sofa..I’m thinking big!

  29. Oh, that is soo pretty! I have a question though. Can you see through that cotton duck to your below fabric? I have a couch with rather “Tuscan” colors in it (reds, golds, greens) and I am wondering if that white slipcover would look like a lady wearing white jeans with colored panties?

    • hahahahaha! that’s the funniest thing EVER! i didn’t notice any visible panty lines on Nester’s chair. you can’t see through mine either–and i got a lighterweight duck than Nester did.

  30. Love the slipcover AND the Nellie Olsen reference.

    I have off-white slipcovers, two boys and a husband who refuses to keep his snacks in the kitchen. No major catastrophes after a year with them. And like other people have pointed out, it’s so much better to SEE the dirt and take care of it (i.e. wash the slipcover) than to sit on upholstered furniture that “hides” the dirt. I don’t want to lay my head on dirt, albeit “hidden.”

  31. Well, I could ride over with Edie, cause we live in the same town…but have only met via our blogs, LOL! And, I don’t sew, so not sure that would work out. But I’d love to come along just to hang out with you lovely ladies. :) Good luck! Sure wish I could sew!!

  32. Don’t tell Edie, but she is looking kind of rough lately. I feel bad for her. ;)

    SO jealous that you have local friends to help you with stuff like this. I am about ready to offer to pay for Pam’s gas (from Bibbidi Bobbidi Beautiful) so she can drive down to my neck of the woods and help me. I can sew a straight line, but measuring and cutting are beyond my skillset. ;)

    It looks great, and I bet you are pleased with the end result, even if we all call you Nellie.

  33. Ya know, we have white towels and I have no problem buying all 3 of my kids white clothes because that washing machine-with a little Oxyclean or bleach-is a beautiful thang. BUT…I never thought I could do white slipcovers because of kids. Why does my thick noggin insist on thinking inside the box??

    Well, now I’ve seen the light! I’m a believer in white! :)

  34. Love, love, love the slipcover. And if I lived anywhere near you I would definitely come to help with your sofa. And then I’d let you return the favor and help me do mine!

  35. I would love to come! I have a sewing machine and I’m not too shabby of a seamstress. I’m not very far away…came to your yard sale. =) My couch needs a slipcover desperately. It is (are you ready for this??) cream, peach, some pinky color and seafoam green striped. It’s a very well built couch and comfy as can be, but is 40 years old, and yeah, it needs help. It matches nothing and I just kind of ignore it as much as possible and decorate how I like. White would be beautiful but I have three little people and white scares me a little. (I’ve never been a risk taker! I just need to take the plunge!) What about making a slipcover out of drop cloths? It’s quality fabric, cheap and a nice neutral, linen type material. Whatcha think?

    Great job on your chair, it looks fabulous!!

    • Yes, but you can BLEACH white!!!

      Love for you to come girl, if/when I decide I’ll announce!

    • Laine-
      If you prebleach the dropcloths and wash them multiple times, they are a GREAT option. I have used them, not for a slipcover, but for other things, and I bleach them every time I wash them. They have not lightened since the prewashing/bleaching. Such a durable, econimical source for scads of material!!

      • Hhhmmm…never thought of bleaching the dropcloths! How white do they become? I don’t usually use bleach, so how much bleach would I need to use and how many times should I wash them? Such an awesome idea!! I have drop cloth curtains and bleaching them opens up another world of possibilities. So exciting!!

  36. Thanks so much for the inspiration — that chair look GORGEOUS!! :) And if I didn’t live so darn far away — I would soooo be there! ;)

  37. Oh yes, I would be very interested in coming to learn how to do slipcovers. But when you say basic sewing, that’s all I’ve got. I do have a sewing machine my mom bought me that I’ve never used, but…

  38. Angela Statzer says:

    That sounds like so much fun! I would love to come!!

  39. The sweatshop sounds like fun to me! :) I would have to check my schedule because I would be driving down from Raleigh, but I’ve always wanted to be able to do this. Such a fun idea!
    Great job on the chair- especially the pleats! I’m a gigantic sucker for dressmaker details.

  40. Holy schmoley. I would totally drive to all the way to Charlotte to learn from Pink…and hang with you, of course. :)

    I’ve desperately wanted to be able to do my own slipcovers for AGES. I’ve even read Pink’s tutorials. They’re awesome but I’d love to be able to sit next to her and work!

    I’d bring my sewing machine…that I don’t even know how to thread…but I would finally teach myself how to use it before I come! :)

    • !!!!!!!!!!!!

      You can be excused from needing to know how to sew since you are Kimba and I am biased. I’ll teach you what I know and it will take about 4 minutes.

  41. What’s so funny about this is that when I saw your paragraph about how you COULD have them no matter what type of beast you have in your home, I knew I would be in the mix. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! Nester you made my day!!!! And I almost told you I would drive to Charolette, then I realized that all my beasts (read husband/kids/dogs) would probably not like that. So if you take your slipcover show on the road, make a stop in Tulsa and we’ll get busy!

  42. Sign me up! I have wanted to try this for years, and I am a sewer with a machine! And I live in Charlotte!
    By the way, I also totally fall into the don’t-think-they-can-do-white category, because I have four sons nine and under and a toddler girl :-)

  43. I would be delighted to be slave labor…if only to get me out of spring cleaning and painting my family room the most wonderful shade of yellow *EVER*.

    I do love the shade, but have been putting it off for 2 yrs already. What’s one more weekend? ;-)

    Of course, I probably live a good day and a half drive away. And I’d have to stop and visit my grandmother on the way (you are way east of me)…and my parents would want to know why I came all that way and didn’t come visit them, too…

    I’ll tell you what–you come and help me slipcover *my* couch, and then you can go home and tell folks all about the crazie Okies, their cows, the total lack of amazing thrift stores within a 2 hr radius of my home, and other tidbits interesting to absolutely no one except the entirety of PW’s audience.


    The chair looks absolutely GORGEOUS! Love the knife pleats…something I would dealy looooove to do…details, details, details…I will be waiting with bated breath to see the couch redo…

  44. What fun!

  45. Adorable! Love the ruffle! A whole new you! I must admit I am going to miss the plaid and red and everything I have come to love about your style, but I know how it goes. You just want to evolve into a new-to-you look! And they are very adorable and girle and fresh and pretty. So cute.

    Now you have me wanting to write a new post about my white slipcovers so I will. If anyone is thinking about white slipcovers and needs more input, I’ll share my own experiences on a post. I love them, but there are some issues to be aware of. i was gonna write them all here but it would fill up your comments so I’ll spare you!!

    I would love to come to your party with my wingbacks but I bet they would make me buy them their own seat on the plane.

    HEART!!! You and the slipcover!

    • WEll, I will always have color somehow. And I’m still a little on the fence with the slipcovers, now that I have painted my walls I am still deeply in love with my sofa. It’s just really starting to wear, like with holes and such and I can’t buy a new one so a slipcover seems like a good idea.

      PLEASE COME!!!!

  46. Hiya, Nester! Dern foot- I didn’t realize you were serious when you asked me to come down and make your slipcovers!! I wish you lived closer! Any chance you could make the slipcover get together in early June? We’ll be on vacation in Kitty Hawk June 6-19. How far is that from you?

    I meant to chime in the other day when you asked about living with slipcovers. I absolutely love living with mine, especially with little stick-handed people- but I have a secret. I have found a miracle product. It’s called Folex and you can buy a big ol’ bottle of it for around $7 at Bed Bath & Beyond (it’s in the “beyond”). It’s actually a carpet cleaner, like resolve but I’ve been using it on slipcovers and upholstery (and tablecloths and curtains…) the great thing about it is- no rinsing! You just spray a little on the spot, rub it around with your finger a little and the spot just disappears into thin air. I have no idea how it works, but it does- amazingly. I even used it to get magic marker (not the washable kind) off the linen slipcovers in my dining room. That took a little more rubbing, but it did work. As with anything, you probably want to try it in an inconspicuous area first just to make sure it doesn’t affect the color of the fabric, but I haven’t had any problems with it. It’s awesome for when you have some spots on a sofa slipcover but don’t want to go through taking the whole thing off, washing, pressing…

    Your chair looks fabulous! I hope you enjoy it!

  47. OH dear girlfriend, I chuckled the whole way through this post. Then fell onto the floor laughing as I tried to figure out if I was sitting at the table sewing or face down on the table in despair. You probably got way more done without me there. I take frequent coffee and chatting and laughing breaks. Oh it makes me so sad that I didn’t make it this time but I’m so ‘in’ on the sofa! And if you’re Nellie Olsen when it comes to bossy then I’m her mother. But with Ma Ingles personality. So I could help you sweetly boss everyone else around. And I’ll bring my killer machine!

    It’s looks great. Ms. Pink and Polka Dot is amazing and I wish I could have met Twiggy!
    Love you all!

  48. I love the slipcover for your chair. I have two wing-back chairs that I am thinking of making slipcovers for also. How many yards of fabric did it take? You have inspired me, now it’s getting my nerve up to do it.

  49. I have a chair similar to yours that needs slipcovering. I’d love to come and learn how and help with the sofa. I’m not far from Charlotte and have a sewing machine and know how to use it!

  50. I love this! I’ve long been wanting white slip covers, but my non-sewing skills are less than inspiring-her post makes me think I could actually do this. (after I practice making a straight seem with the sewing machine). I think white slip covers would be the best for my three children, one husband, and one hairy dog. :) Putting slip covers in the washing machine is much easier than putting a sofa in the washing machine!

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