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. What about that PURSE!! I want one!

  2. Wow. What a transformation. It looks beautiful. And think of the fond memories of a fun day you’ll have every time you sit down. I need to practice my sewing skills!

  3. WOW! Just WOW! Is that piping I see?? Amazing.

  4. Love it! Think they’d travel to AZ?

  5. Courtney says

    Here’s a great DIY clock that you might like, it made me think of you…

  6. How beautiful! It was so fun to see your new curtains, I gasped like you just got engaged and I saw your wedding ring for the first time! I’m very excited for you, it’s looking simply beautiful.

    We didn’t slip at our house, but I have been rearranging. Posted pics on my blog today.

  7. oh my gosh! this looks amazing!

  8. This intimidates me. I can sew but I hate it. But my couch needs a slip cover. I’m actually looking at them online…well, I thought I’d saved the link but I guess not. Poo.

  9. Wow! Nester, you hung up your drapes!!!! They look amazing. I absolutely love them behind the couch with that beautiful slipcover. Thank you again for having me over to your lovely home for the party. It was an incredible learning experience. I am getting ready to slipcover a chaise lounge that I have hear at home. Will keep ou posted on the results. Thanks again! Kim

    • SOOOOO fun to hang out with you girl, you and Lily are like a cute, traveling show~the life of the party!

  10. Nester,
    I haven’t read every single reply, so someone else may have already suggested this. But, have you thought of having matching arm covers made for your sofa? I’d have some made while I still had the fabric and the sewers! Matching arm covers, they’re a good thing.

  11. So jealous that you have all those lovely ladies willing to come over and help you out! You are a lucky girl!

  12. Girl, I am sooo jealous! It came out fabulous! I have a couch and chair that I would love to have slip-covered in white. I’m just too scared to attempt it myself. Maybe you can convince your friends to head up to K-Vegas (kernersville) and slip cover mine! I’ll provide lots of munchies! He he! Anyway, it looks great and looks like everyone had fun together! Great memories! Have a fab day!

    MomTog Diaries

  13. Oh Nester, these are true-dyed-in-the-wool F-r-i-e-n-d-s!
    Wow, you gals can cook! (You know I mean sew;))
    Y’all are what God describes as, ‘a true friend’!
    Every one of us aspires to be just that ~ true.
    You are perfectly described in Proverbs 31 ~ Beautiful job, ‘Rubies’!

  14. I absolutely love that you have white couches! I have had them for 2 years and I have a 3 year old boy and another boy on the way and I LOVE THEM! Everyone thinks I’m insane but they look amazing even 2 years later! We actually had my in laws over last month and they thought we got new furniture because they are that good. With decorators ADD I love that I just have to change the pillows and I get a whole new look!!! Now you’ve inspired me to recover some ugly chairs I have myself! Thanks!

  15. Awesome drapes…
    Did you sew two pices of fabric together to get that look?
    I’ve seen fabric like that, but the stripe ran vertical not horizontal. I’ve thought about sewing two pieces together to get the length, but didn’t know if a seam going across the middle would look ok. If you say you did that and it looks fine, I’ll go ahead and order the fabric. It would be so perfect for my room.

  16. So sorry, I just re read the whole post and realized you said drape info coming soon…

  17. Ooh–I LOVE your ruffled shirt. That would disguise my nursing mom boobs. Okay, they’re always big, so I need to camouflage them all the time. Because you SO wanted to know.

    And I wonder how much those ten women want to make a road trip to Utah to make me some nicer slipcovers for my little Ikea couch. Mine has been washed so many times, my couch is wearing floods. Doesn’t look good on people or couches and let’s hope I never want my couch floating in the middle of room because the back is worse than the front and Mr. Couch would be all embarrassed that his behind is showing.

  18. I forgot to mention I like the new drapes too–the horizontal stripes don’t de-complement their figure either.

  19. wow – i LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! can’t believe you covered your beautiful red toile sofa, but it does look wonderful in white!!!!! you are amazing. I wish I had 10 friends who sew!!

  20. I love this! I have been really thinking of recovering my sofas in white. I, like Joni, wish I had 10 friends who sewed too :) Still don’t know if I would attempt it though-I might just buy some- but they won’t look this nice! I think it looks so great- beautiful- and the entire room is lovely. Love your blog- thanks for sharing!

  21. That is just so amazing that you had all that help! The slipcover is amazing and it gives me hope to someday make a slipcover for mine. I wish I had a friends who knew how to work a sewing machine.

  22. Hola – neat feed 1ts not only entertaining, but as well as straightforward 2 make use of compared with lots that I have viewed! #:-) 12dietboost users @ Albany >weekly coffee come togethers of Melissa!

  23. It’s beautiful – just amazig. What type of fabric did you use?

  24. I was so impressed with your work, that I went and bought some flour sack towels. I have 6 ladder back chairs that I wanted to cover. I made cute little covers for the chairs with a seam and buttons that run down the back. They look so cute! It took me about a hour for each chair. Thanks for the inspiration. Oh, by the way each chair cover cost me about $2.00 each.

  25. Hi Nester! I have a slipcover fabric question….is there a difference in how you recieve the fabric at the store….a seamstress I’m thinking of hiring to slipcover my sectional is telling me that it’s best to get one ongoing roll of fabric vs. the smaller bulks that can be purchased at Joann’s Fabric (which is the store you bought your slipcover fabric for your sectional) What are you thoughts on that?….would you be able to give me more detailed information as far as the material needed for the slipcover. My local Joann’s store this week has white demin 50% off which makes it $6.49 yard. That seems like a steal so if you can help me out here I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks.

  26. I absolutely adore your couch. After seeing a pin with your couch on it I set out on a mission to find one similar. Unfortunately I haven’t found one and I do not know how to sew. We have a couch that is very comfortable but it needs a new life to it. Thanks to your page I know what it needs and now I just have to find it. lol Love the curtains also.

  27. Thank you so much for your guide. This will help me alot, because I really need to change the slipcover of my sectional sofa.

  28. Could you make me a sectional pattern, I can not get the arms to match or the sofa ends. Will pay please help. or a website that I can buy a pattern


  29. Could you make me a sectional pattern, I can not get the arms to match or the sofa ends.


  30. Wow Wow Wow,….I provide excellent lunch and companionship. Me next,….

  31. You might want to update your link to the book so you still get credit; it appears to have changed

  32. so not really a how to guide for making a slipcover?

  33. You are skillful. I really like the way you do it, it’s very beautiful. I appreciate your workmanship.

  34. Wonderful website. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious.

  35. Woah, thanks a lot, I wish it were a guide since I banged my cover. I’m going wild ever since I have started playing

  36. Thanks a lot, really needed to make a slip cover, every since I banged my previous one from playing that kick the buddy game.

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  39. I can’t stop reading your posts, all or your links are working because I’ve been on your site forever. I’ve learned so much, thanks!

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