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. Please include directions on to do a ruffle or the knife pleats online please!

  2. Would love to know how to do the knife pleats also! And would love to come and joing you for a day of slipcovering!!! Let us know. I am on the coast of NC.

  3. i love your chair. i’m new to your blog and excited about maybe trying a slipcover myself.

  4. I just stumbled upon your website and have found it to be very inspiring. I have a white slipcover on my sofa and have been searching for the perfect blue/grey color to paint my living room walls. You have great taste and I’d be forever grateful if you would please share the name of the paint you used?

  5. test

    • Shirline says

      I love the slipcover, now I know what I need to do to cover my chaise. Thank you

    • Hi! I came across this website and it is wonderful! I am looking to buy a zebra print slipcover for my wingchair. Do you have any suggestions or do you know who would make one for me? I can send measurements and pictures of the chair.

      Thank you!

    • Anonymous says

      I am so happy to find your design on slip covers I have been trying to find a instruction
      That I could understand

    • Cute, you’re very bold for choosing white though! LOL.

    • Hi I bought the e book but it doesn’t download on my device

  6. Hi, I make slipcovers professionally. Your white slipcover is beautiful. It has that unique rumply charm. There is lots of practical info on my site, or send me questions- I would be happy to answer them!

    • I have started making a slipcover for my sofa with the help of a friend. she cut and fitted it and then left. i did make two loose cushion covers that turned out great, i like things to look good, but i am now having a hard time getting back to it and finishing, so i am looking for someone who will finish for me. i also have a love seat cover to make. help, i have started and now can’t finish. thanks for any and all help.

  7. For those who think WHITE slipcovers are impractical – think again! Since 1980 I have always had a white slipcover on my sofa and it’s the easiest thing to clean – throw the whole thing in the washer with bleach and VOILA! What’s easier than that? Just don’t dry it completely. Put a slipcover back on when it is damp. This is not a case of form over function, but form AND function. Besides, the original quote is always taken out of context. It was not intended to choose one or the other. Good design is form AND function – always. If you have to choose one, than it’s not good design.

    My only criticism is that the slipcover doesn’t fit well…but a very nice attempt.

    • I think your “criticisim” “they don’t fit well, but nice attempt” was rude and snarky. She did a great job on that slipcover, it fits fine. She said in her post she forgot to straighten it. I think it looks awesome. I wish I could do something like that.

      • I thought the slip cover was very nice, and with this new info, I just may try the white slipcover in the near future.

    • I agree. I’m no expert. Made slipcovers for my sofa and a wing chair a few years ago. I would be embarrased to show this slipcovered chair to anyone, iThe fit is terrible!

      • Sewing Susuie says

        Girl, that thing is a hot mess. Ok, for a first attempt, but I certainly wouldn’t purchase a tutorial on how to do it!

  8. Just want to tell you I have made 2 sets of slipcovers for my couch and chair. First set cost me a about $200.00. The second set cost me nothing but the price of cording. $5.00. I took my bedspred and 2 sets of drapes all white and made slipcovers for my couch and chair. You are right white is the only way to go.I am living in Mesa AZ. and found a outlet store and plan to make slipcovers for 2 chairs we got for for $10.00 each at a yard sell. they really a great bargain. But I have a question . the chairs are high backs with a custion attach and I do not know how to attach the back to the cushions. Hope someone can give me some help on this. Thanks for your pictures of the chair. Donna

  9. Gorgeous slipcover, great idea, and what great savings!

  10. Wish your friend could come to my house and cover my green wing chair. No matter how easy they say it is, I am hopelessly all thumbs in even the semi-sewing dept. :)

  11. My current dog is 7 years old, and my previous dogs lived for 14 and 15 years respectively. My dogs are big, and all have been allowed on the furniture. My own opinion, which I can support with hard-won experience, is that any print is better than any solid when you have animals, for the simple reason that the print hides dirt and stains. Leather would be the only exception, as it has shadings and some things can be wiped up which would sink into fabric. As for white, you can bleach it, but it shows dirt between washings, so it ends up depending on how long you want to wait and your tolerance for living with imperfection.

  12. Your slipcovers look great!! Here’s something that’s confusing me, though. You cut and pinned the material together, then basted it. I get that part…but they would be inside out. So, after you sewed them on the machine, did you turn them inside out?

  13. I stumbled upon this webpage – you make me laugh!
    The visuals help a lot. I’ve got small ones so I’ll have to find the time but I really want to take on this project but might take me several days…..
    I’m going to try and transform a Victorian sofa into something a little more modern and updated. Emphasis on simple
    I’ve got a dear friend who lives in Charlotte, great city!

  14. I adore the fact that you have friends who love to sew together, do projects together, and not mind if they’re photoshopped in. How fantastic!!! I may just have to donate to your Dollar Store spree, because this looks like all sorts of fun and I most definitely need guidance when taking on the slipcovers. I have many thrifty finds to pick up after the move across the country, sure to need coverings…thanks for sharing! Cheers!
    PS. Did I mention that I absolutely adore you, too? I love this little kingdom of your in the vast Land of Internets, it’s rather delightful…

  15. Nice slip cover. I have been looking at The Empty Nest –Janet Metzger teaching Slip covers also..Seeing yours and hers I do need to try these. So I bought a nice $40 club chair for my Den.

  16. I have bought the ebook and am getting up the confidence to do this. What I need help with is the amount of fabric to buy. According to “Pink’s” blog, the chart she posted, I need 10 yards for a wingback chair. Is that right?

    • hmm, I know it’s like months later but that seems like a lot to me?

    • I got inspired after seeing this today, so I ran by a chain fabric store in town, and they have little cheat sheets giving the approximate amount of fabric for different styles of chairs, couches and ottomans. My basic living room chair was 7 yards. I don’t know if this is inflated somewhat, or not, but it’s probably what I’ll go with.

  17. LOVE this post! funny, too. Timing couldn’t be more perfect seein’ as how I just scored some lovely…ahem, curvy … wingback chairs myself. I’ve read other posts on slipcovers and they always make it seem so complicated. The tip about basting is key. Thank you!!! What a great blog : )

  18. Your slipcovers look very nice and absolutely love the relaxed charm. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and am looking forward to slipcovering my wingback and sofa. Your article is a fun read, and I enjoyed it. I love Charlotte and would drive there (it’s 4 hrs for me) to sew and make slipcovers…can I bring my sofa for us to practice on?

  19. This was so helpful.. I am going to start covering a chair and ottoman I bought at a thrift store for $20. Can’t wait to post before and after pics.

  20. To the makers of this horrible slipcover: It really bothers me that anyone could have the nerve to publish, and with a commercial intention this terrible job. There are so many puckers, creases, bad sewing etc in this job. You ladies really have a lot of nerve to call this a slipcover. It is also a shame that people out there think this is acceptable at all. In order to succeed in life, you have to LEARN how to do things RIGHT…This slipcover is an OFFENSE. LEARN FIRST, then attempt to be successful.

    • Wow. Dear, I invite you to read more here at Nesting Place, the purpose of this slipcover is to make the chair better, not perfect. If my goal is to my interiors perfect my family, budget and sanity would suffer. I believe there is a time and place for perfection and making a slipcover is not one of them. I am the first to admit these are in no way perfect hence the name of her ebook “the lazy girl’s guide to slipcover” it’s for real women who know the art of balance and think it’s better to have a good enough $60 chair than a perfect $600 chair. We all make choices, this is ours, and clearly we know what yours is, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a perfect chair. I am just sad that in your insistence on perfection you fail to see the beauty in this project.

      Embracing imperfection does not mean that one has given up or settled for less. Maybe accepting imperfection is a sign of maturity, balance and contentment. I’m a normal, average woman who loves to be surrounded by meaningful beauty, and it has been so freeing to drop that burden of perfection.

      Maybe one day you’ll find that as well.

      • Nester…IMHO…you hit the nail on the head. I don’t care about perfection. I prefer the balance in life. If I was so worriedvabout being perfect nothing would get done. I, unlike some others on here, am NOT perfect. I would rather know that something is a little off and be ok with that than. I don’t live in a perfect world…

    • Jose, that was extremely rude. Alot of people like the relaxed look of loose-fit slipcovers, it is very popular if you haven’t noticed. Maybe you should try it – the “relaxed” part. Like YOU need to relax. Seriously, take it easy before you give yourself a heart attack.

    • Wow nasty much?

    • rhonda Curtis Doughty says

      Wow talk about rude,I do a lot of easy inexpensive sewing and i thought this was just a wonderful article,If people have so much that they think making something that looks great on a shoestring budget is not a good enough ,they need a crash course in having less.These women do a great job in showing what you can do for a little verses going to extreme.I think you owe them a apology

  21. So happy I came cross your blog. I was looking for white covers for a sofa and loveseat that I have at home. I think I will create my own. I have two kids,but they are not toddlers so I know it will be okay. I might even go for a soft pink. My hubby won’t mind…lol But most of all thank you for the tutorial. I know what to do now and can’t wait to see my sofa and loveseat look all new again. :-) Have an awesome weekend.

  22. I couldn’t tell by the pictures but does cotton duck or twill completely cover the pattern on the chair? I have two floral wing chairs that I have been wanting to slipcover and am worried I would be able to see the floral design throught the slipcover. A friend told me to actually PAINT the floral fabric with white latex paint before covering since I don’t want the floral ever again. I didn’t read all (any) of the comments from others so I don’t know if this question has already been answered.

    • it covered mine completely, no showing through!

    • Sewing Suite says

      Do NOT paint your fabric! (are you sure the person advising this is your friend!?) Remove the old cushion covers, if possible. The rest of it you can cheaply line with drapery lining or old white sheets. Pros make practice liners first, out of either of these fabrics, then disassemble to use for patterns. These can be used to line. Depending on how worn out your interior cushions are: you can fold a piece of quilt batting around the pillow before inserting it into the new slipcover to have it provide extra loft and fit better.

  23. Beautiful slipcover. Just spent all day yesterday constructing one to cover “the big chair”…an oversized chair that has seen better days. Wish I’d had some buds to help me with it! Love the white…sort of wish I’d gone with that. It will wash well even if you do have dogs and boys (I also have dogs and boys…thus the reason for a slipcover). Thanks for the inspiration…now I feel like working on it again!

  24. Blumyrose says

    Thanks for this tutorial! It’s very useful and I have to try it… definitely!!

  25. well, I tried to email you but it looks like you are not taking emails. So, I just wanted to tell you the slipcover ebook for $10 is really quite useless, no suggestions of fabric weight or that cording size for piping or even what to ask for to make piping. I did email the writer about 2 weeks ago, but I haven’t heard from her.
    All the information I needed, I got from your blog cause I know how to sew just enough for this. In fact, I got more from your blog postings on this than the book. $10 isn’t a lot of money but it’s more than I want to waste. I certainly don’t wish to be critical and unkind but I wouldn’t recommend this if I were you.

    • Hey Nancy, I apologize for your trouble. I just sent an email to Kristi the author to see if your questions were addressed in the ebook. If they aren’t I asked her if she could update it because yes, the answer to those questions should be addressed. Also, you should be receiving a refund. I searched my email but couldn’t find anything from you, I’m so sorry!

      • Thank you, I didn’t email you cause I didn’t see an email and you said how busy you were. I cannot imagine how on earth some of you bloggers do it with a family and all the writing and photos and constant new ideas.
        I appreciate you helping us to communicate. And she did refund my money, thank you again.

  26. White slip covers are simple but elegant, that one belongs to it. Just as it’s hard to wash since it’s sensitive to dirt you would really have to do extra maintenance with that slipcover. I might too need some help from my peers since I’m not good at sewing crafts.

  27. So I’m just now finding this post (thanks to Pinterest) and enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to slip cover a couple of chairs for FOREVER but only got as far as making a pattern for one of them and then not being sure if it’s a great pattern.

    Anyway I may have to attempt it again sometime soon. It would look so much better to have a slip cover than to have to stare at the sheet I keep throwing over it. I do live near Charlotte…you don’t make house calls do you?!!! :)

  28. I pinned this the other day and it’s been repeatedly coming back to me, this idea. Tonight I’ve been so frustrated not being able to find a bed for my Emma girl, my two and a half year old Labradoodle. Her nephew is going to be coming to live with us as soon as he’s old enough and well end up with two large dogs in the house and I don’t know yet what we will do for beds for them! We use to get the 42″ round cedar beds at Costo, really nice ones for only $19 (for about the last 17 years we got them there) and now they’re discontinued and they say their not brining them back. I am seriously bummed. BUT!! Ah HA! Oh Me Oh MY!! I was thinking I can find or cut a nice piece of thick foam and make a cover for it!! I’m finding this slipcover idea of yours is GREAT for a growing list of ideas, I do believe!! Thanks for this!!

  29. Hi there thanks for sharing. I need to know if you have to use a stretchable white fabric? I am going to make my own but before I go and find a fabric does it have to be cotton and stretchable? I am worried that once I start tracing and using pins it might be hard to take it out and also once it’s done it might be hard to put it on if the fabric is not stretchable. Also if my fabric is not stretchable do I put a zip somewhere in the side of the slipcover so it’s easier to put it on the couch? Thanks and I hope you can answer my questions.

  30. Yaiks that does not look good

  31. Wow, Umm, There are some seriously not-nice folks who comment for you. You’re braver than me; I cry when I get a not-nice post.
    Okay, on to the slipcover. I think it’s cute as pie. I have recovered a couch – disaster;; slipcovered a couch – okay…your chair looks better lol – and am now having one that needs fixing. So you’ve inspired me to try the slipcover thing once more. I did not know the pin it-baste it-sew it trick before I made my first slipcover so I’ll be trying it with this one.
    Anyway, I found you through your dad, and I have so enjoyed flipping through your blog this evening! I’m subscribing to you now but I just wanted to drop you a little encouraging line.
    Cassie in Jackson, Georgia

    • You know, people assume everything must be perfect. Why? For whom? In the past year (two years after I made these slips, so image how much they’ve taken a beating and how much worse they look!) two separate issues of Better Homes and Garden’s Special interest magazines have come to my house and both photographed the chair and sofa. It’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for them. I don’t think Jesus cares how perfectly I sewed so I’m good!

      If you want to take the time to sew yours more perfectly, go for it!

      This issue will be out in October 2013

      out on news stands now: Spring issue of Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself Magazine.

      • Hey there

        So I made a slip cover. It’s not great but better than I had and for a first attempt I’m mighty glad your previous commenters weren’t around to critique.
        I can’t tell you how much I love that better homes and gardens have photographed your slip covered furniture. Best comeback EVER! Congrats on the slip covers, thanks for pointing out the book and awesomeness on the magazine feature.

  32. I’m really inspired together with your writing abilities as well as with the layout on your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you customize it your self? Anyway stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to
    see a nice weblog like this one these days..


  1. […] Anyone out there with low to average sewing skilz {ok, we’ll let you good sewers come too} who wants to learn from the QUEEN of slips {not me but PINK from Pink and Polka Dot} and doesn’t mind spending a pretty Saturday sewing is welcome to come to my house and help me {and my me I mean Pink} make slipcovers for my poor, tired sectional. […]

  2. […] we slip covered my chair a few months ago, there was no bias cutting whatsover and it has been fine.  But, apparently, it […]

  3. […] {tables/dressers/book cases} that I can paint, and sturdy, cleanish uposltered pieces that I can slipcover. I’m always in the market for kid’s toys that could be gifts, housewares that I fall in […]

  4. […] with some new homemade cleaner recipes. Make this wreath for our soon-to-be gray bedroom. Make slipcovers for every single ugly piece of  furniture in my house. Too ambitious? Yes. Create some cheap […]

  5. […] came down to my house and taught me how to make a slipcover.  It was easy, and completly transfored this thrifted chair. I was a believer in the power of […]

  6. […] the reason my love seat is now covered in white. The Nester, and several other bloggers SWEAR by white slipcovers, even with children, and I was actually ready to set out to make my own slipcovers, when I went to […]

  7. Up Chairs says:

    […] husband’s $20 chair and my $12 slipcovered chair.  At first they annoyed me when they were near each other.  And even though I just pushed them […]

  8. […] How to Make Slipcovers – from The Nester  (She slipcovered her sectional sofa too.) […]

  9. […] From top left: Craigslist Dining Chairs at So Haute; Slipcovered Side Chair by Adventures in Creating; my Velvet Thrift Store Chair; Nester’s Slipcovered Wingback. […]

  10. […] I’m a slipcover evangelist here to testify to the life changing effects of white slips.  The original chair is hideous but was only $12. Oh, and right here’s my $15 thrifted coffee table […]

  11. […] espy.d on: […]

  12. […] TheNester GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", […]

  13. […] via Krista on […]

  14. […] I read posts on slipcovering from The Nesting Place and Pink and Polka Dot and now I’ve been inspired to create a slipcover for my own $25 […]

  15. […] bad for a $12 thrift store chair that we slipcovered and used for two years.  Last year I begged my husband to put some vintage casters on the chair, […]

  16. […] Now things got more complicated. Around the time I bought the chair, I saw a slipcover tutorial on a blog called Pink and Polka Dot (the post I read is no longer available, but it seems she’s made the content into an e-book). The basic gist is that you drape your fabric – wrong-side-out – over the piece of furniture, trace, add seam allowances, cut, put pieces (wrong-side-out still) back on the chair, pin, and finally sew. (You can get an idea of the process here.) […]

  17. […] via Laura on […]

  18. […] is the current situation. Thrifted slipcovered white chair with stacked books for a leg across from the black velvet twins.  Not the most photogenic but the […]

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