How to Make a Slipcover for a Sectional

*This post has been pinned so often since it was first published in May of 2010, I wanted to add an updated photo of the sectional–after two years of wear with three boys and a husband the white slipcovers have held up better than I expected.  I opted for a fitted yet relaxed style of slipcover and it’s perfect for our informal family.*

now on to your regularly scheduled “how to make a slipcover for a sectional post”

1. Invite 10 willing participants to your home, supply 30 yards of white fabric {I found mine at Mary Jo’s for 6.99/yd} look poor Lily is on the FLOOR in a dress!

2. ask them to bring their sewing machines and if you are lucky a serger

3. marvel at the fact that they are willing to get on the floor to cut your fabric

4. provide lunch because you know you won’t feel like cooking.

handmade recess

5. realize that about half the people you invited are somehow professional sewers who could or do make a living sewing–allow them to be smart and make all the decisions for you

6. Make sure you have a fearless leader {I choose Pink, the slipcover whisperer}.  I like that she is extremely easy going and has lots of experience making slipcovers.  It’s important to have a leader who can lead but knows how to let other people do their thang.  Pink is the perfect example.  She and I both are not afraid of a little imperfection.  Find someone who has the same standard of perfection as you.  That will make your life easier.

7. Wonder when they are going to realize that they came all this way just to work on your sofa, worry that they are smiling way too much to know the truth

8. Think about whether or not you swept the kitchen floor

9. Make sure you hug and kiss everyone so they know how thrilled you are that they came

10. Try not to be jealous of the sewing knowledge of a certain person

11. Chit and chat and don’t even get your sewing machine out because you are too busy laughing and hiding and acting like a crazy woman.

I am forever indebted to these wonderful women~
Ellen, Lily, Kim, Jennifer, Alisan, TraceyTracy, Pink, Carrie and my dear friend Tiny Twig who had to leave before we took this photo

Here’s a little video of Pink showing us the right side of the fabric and that leads to a group decision about cutting on the bias…

Here’s a great tutorial on bias cutting–my sewing muse wrote it up a few months ago.  We didn’t use a bias cut for the body or cushions of the slipcover but we did for the cording fabric cover.  I have no idea what the legal name is for that stuff.

When we slip covered my chair a few months ago, there was no bias cutting whatsover and it has been fine.  But, apparently, it can make the sewing easier and can lead to a prettier end product.  I’m not picky or that observant and I hardly sewed a stitch so I can’t really say I can tell a difference.  I would guess that it doesn’t make or break the end result.  Don’t NOT make slipcover because you think it’s vital to cut every piece on the bias. Or biasly or however one would say that.

What’s amazing is that each one of these cushions was made by a different person.  Or at least many of them were–some of the show offs made two or three.

Drape info coming soon…

One of the questions I get asked the most is what to do with an old raggety sofa.  I cannot emphasize enough how doable a slipcover is.  Alisan, one of the slippers who came told me about how she and a few girlfriends get together every week? month? I can’t remember.  But, they take turns going to one of their homes and working on a project.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  Slipcovering a sofa is such a great way to get a fresh, new, custom looking sofa for a fraction of the price of a new one.  And remember, you can use any kind of fabric, it doesn’t have to be white.

The 10 girls I invited over worked from about 10ish until about 4:30 or 5.  I think and that includes a break for lunch and talking and stuff and Twiggy and Carrie had to run out and buy some more supplies.  So if you have 3 friends over on a Saturday, you could knock out a slipcover for a sofa in a day {unless you have a huge sectional like mine}.  People, this is life changing!

Not only that, if you have never slipcovered anything before and need some guidance, Pink from Pink and Polka Dot has an ebook available–The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Custom Slipcovers.  It’s $10 and will basically save you from needing to buy a new sofa.

We no longer have ANY excuse to settle for a sofa that we don’t like or looks like it went through the shredder–slip covering is the new retail!  And I’m addicted!

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  1. Oh my, what a job, gorgeous!! I love it!
    Have a wonderful day!

  2. That looks amazing! It looks like you had a wonderful day together and the result is stunning. Can you all come to my house? :)

  3. WOW, it looks fabulous! How sweet of everyone to come and help out. is that the ol’ red toile sofa you slipped?

  4. Wow. What a cool looking brand new sofa you have.

    And what a cool looking group of friends you have.

    It looks to me as if y’all had a great time while you were working. And that’s a winner.

    We need to band together to do things more often! What’s the matter with us, that we don’t get into one another’s homes often enough??

    You are paving the way for us to be more like our foremothers were. They knew that they could get a lot done if they did it together–and have fun while they were doing it. You’ve re-created the quilting bee–in style! Good for you.

    I just wish I could have been there. I think we all do!

  5. What a great day & a wonderful group of supportive friends. The sofa is beautiful but right now I’m drooling over those drapes. Love them! Can’t wait to hear more.

  6. oh NOW you tell me! LOL i’ve been working on my slipcover for my sectional, all on my own! to add to the difficulty.. my sectional is not symmetrical.. so it’s taking a bit more work than i had anticipated. just not something i considered before i got started.. so had to adjust in mid game. but.. it’s coming along.. not in a huge hurry, so frustration is at minimal. thanks for your post! :)

    • tracie,
      i don’t know of a sectional that is symmetrical…just keep plugging away at it. it will be totally worth the work. promise! i messed up a coupla times because of the sectional, but we tweaked and added fabric where necessary. No one is going to get on all fours to examine the hem of your sofa. send me a pic when you’re done! i would LOVE to see it!

  7. The Candle Keeper says

    Very cool! One day I’ll get the couch covered in white!!! LOL!!!

    Blessings to you!
    The Candle Keeper

  8. It’s like a barn raising! How cool is that! Wish I could find 10 peeps to come raise a barn with me. Or paint, or sew, or whatever! I love the curtains!!

  9. I heart it all. Nothing like The Slipcover Sisterhood!

  10. Fantastic post! I so wish I could have a group of friends help me sew up some slipcovers! Thanks for the link to the tutorial and download!!! Beth

  11. It looks absolutely beautiful, Nester. And Those curtains are to die for. Girl, you got it!!!!!!!!! :)
    Have a great week, Nester.

  12. I love it. I love all those women who helped you. I love the space – the curtains are amazing, the sofa is gorgeous, and I think I will be quite happy with that as my room when I move in :)

  13. I’m simply dying over here. It’s beautiful beyond words. As for the drapes, gorgeous!

  14. Jessica says

    i love the curtains. Cont wait for that post :)

    • Julie Rose says

      Yup, I agree with Jessica, those curtains are too die for…when do we get the deets? Such talented women!

  15. I am going to adopt all of your friends and you of course, sweet Nester, to come down to SC and do one for me!!! Love this!! When I get a minute (ha!!) I plan on reading each of the gals’ blogs!! It looks mah-vel-us!

  16. What a fun day!!! I’d totally be up to buying lunch and treats for anyone who wants to come slipcover my couch. ;) ;) I love the idea of forming a little sewing group to work on fun projects!

  17. Drape Info NOW (please)!

  18. Looks like you had fun!

  19. girl, those drapes look great. your room is very coastal chic. love it and you! thanks for the props and for a great weekend. everyone was truly wonderful!

  20. Great job! What a fun way to make a slipcover. Your newly covered sofa looks wonderful.

  21. Thanks so much for having us, I had a blast! Love, love, love the new drapes… they really look great all horizontal.

  22. wow! that’s one of the best slipcovers i’ve seen. that looks like a bunch of fun too!

  23. YAY! Horizontal stripes rule!! So beautiful! I love that not even 2 days later, the drapes are done and look incredible!

  24. So great to have the encouragement to try and slipcover…but how do you feel about slicovering leather? I have a couch and loveseat that are showing a bit of wear from my dog chewing bones on them (another slipcover concern – do you treat the fabric or anything to keep it clean or just wash frequently?) and i would love to be able to make them look new again by slipcovering. I’d love your thoughts!
    love your blog and all of your ideas!

  25. It looks like you girls had a blast! Looks great!


  26. I had such a wonderful time! So very jealous of a certain person’s sewing knowledge. Good thing she’s patient because I asked her a bajillion questions.

    I love the addition of the drapes, but my favorite part is the robot/transformer thingy on the coffee table. And, you took a picture of my bag? And sent everyone to my blog? Totally blushing.

  27. I love it! This is my dream day but none of these ladies live nearby! ha ha

  28. Jennifer says

    Just found your blog and I love it! I have to know…where did you get the black chairs with the buffalo check cushions? Love them!

  29. Alisa D says

    I am drooling. Seriously. drooling. It’s almost embarrassing! :) Your sectional (and room) look great! Those curtains (mistreatments, I am sure) look awesome. I am off to continue trying to convince my husband we should have a white slipcovered sofa. He has some crazy theory that he is too dirty for white… not to mention our 9 month old child and puppy. Ah well. I will keep up the good fight. Enjoy your room!!

  30. Dwell is looking good…..

    Psalm 27:4

  31. It looks great. The best I’ve ever done is cover dining room chairs where you staple underneath. I did them once with piping (that’s the name of that cording stuff) and never again. That stuff has to be in just the right place. Now I just do fabric. I’d want an expert with me to try something as big as a sofa. I’m not brave. And I don’t know any experts around these parts right now.

    I love the white. Everyone should do white. I don’t care if they have kids. It washes. Or flips. Or just buy extra fabric because you know you’ll need it eventually. Those are my multiple mottos.

  32. Boy, you’re one lucky lady!!!

    Anybody know if you can successfully slipcover a leather sofa?

  33. I am cracking up reading this! great job & great friends = the perfect slipcover!

  34. So I have kind of a silly question. I have had 20 yards of white cotton duck fabric for well over a year fully intending to make a slip cover for my sofa….but everything says to wash your fabric before you begin…how in the heck do you wash 20 yards of uncut stiff fabric?? I don’t want to ‘rough’ cut out pieces and wash those because I’m afraid it will shrink a lot and/or I’ll cut too large & not have enough fabric…..sooooo I guess I’m asking: how did you wash your fabric before cutting into it? :)

    • It’s pretty common to cut in 7-8 yds. Nester had a roll of 30 yds the we cut in fourths. Much more manageable to wash. I would cut your’s in half and wash it OR in 7, 7 & 6 yds. Don’t be afraid to cut it in half. Your only concern is making sure you have a piece that’s long enough to stretch lengthwise down the back of your sofa. We actually did nester’s sectional in 3 pieces. good luck! can’t wait to see it!

  35. Oh my! LOVE the drapes! I had such a great time with all of you amazing gals. Glad I could help.
    And again, the drapes! They add so much drama!

  36. What a fun weekend. I love you girl, I knew I would. I hope we get to do it all over again in a few years!

  37. Okay, so I want to know about your super cute brown and white stripped curtains. Did you make those or buy? If you bought them, where did you find them? I love ’em.

  38. Company makes the job a joy! Looks like a fun time with an excellent result! Just think, every time you sit on it you’ll think of everyone who helped. Janell

  39. I saw the “leather couch” comment on here three times, and I have the same question. I have a couch that’s only 6 months old, but my cats. They killed it. It would be a shame to kick it to the curb though. Does anyone know if there are different techniques for covering leather?

  40. …and what does bias mean…

  41. Looks like you had a blast! The slip cover turned out beautifully!

  42. Love. Love. Love. mmmm, there is nothing like a custom slip cover! It is gorgeous! Bet you are happy!

  43. SoMozSal says

    Though your project turned out great (I think I want to slipcover my sofa now), I think it’s even greater getting all the women together. There’s nothing like girl time and doing stuff together!

  44. Your slipcover is gorgeous and you are so blessed to have so many talented friends! Good for you, though.

  45. Wow! That is just fantastic! And how fun!

  46. hi nester. this is a SUPER post with the huge information available to everyone. THANK YOU!! i have slipped several pieces, but love any/all tips. and to have made it a party is the best tidbit. you rock! many thanks again! i’m inspired to create, and have my friends with me! jkj

  47. Yes, I totally want to do this! I won’t, but I totally want to!

  48. Hey! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! I feel the same way. I wish that others could meet you and see how unassuming you are. You have a gift, my friend, and you share it with such humility.

  49. Nester, it looks fabulous!! I wish I could have been there! Congrats and I bet your really enjoying the new creation! I can’t wait to hear about the drapes- they’re perfect!

  50. O my this is sooooo good! Everything, the slipcover, the friends, the lunch…I wanna come next time! o I can’t sew. You won’t even notice. I’d be so quiet and just soak up all the talent in that room. All kidding aside..wonderful , beautiful, lovely And the curtains ….stop I can’t take it! The room looks to die for! Great job <3

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