Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Make a Sofa Slipcover




A couple of years ago we replaced our 18 year old sofas.  I searched online for a style I loved, found a local furniture store which sold the sofas, and then Glenn and I went and picked out the fabric in the store and placed our order.  I couldn’t wait till they were delivered!  The fabric I chose was similar to the slipcovers I had made on our previous sofas; a creamy white damask.  However, the new sofas didn’t come in a slipcovered style. 

For some strange reason, I didn’t think about that as thoroughly as I should have. 

When the new sofas arrived, I was thrilled!  For two whole days!  Until I realized my mistake.  No slipcovers on the sofas!  I wouldn’t be able to whip them off in an emergency and toss them into the washer!  I didn’t relish the idea of making new slipcovers for our brand new sofas.  Fabric is expensive, and slipcovers aren’t a quick thing to make.  I just didn’t have it in me to make them at the time.  So we bought a couple of generic slipcovers with ties on the corners. 

And I really didn’t like them.  The fit wasn’t terrific (they took a lot of straightening out) and they didn’t have the depth or dimension of the damask fabric of my old slipcovers and the new sofa material. 

Here’s a cute picture of Kate, sitting next to our old sofa.  Notice the texture in the fabric?



Since I love white and neutral colors so much, I rely on texture and pattern to keep things from looking too boring.

But at least I could wash them. 


Well, I finally bought some drop cloth, moved over the ottoman and started the new slipcovers last month!  Since I didn’t make the piping this time, and instead opted for simpler seams, it went much faster. 

Making a slipcover is really just a matter of measuring carefully, and then doing one seam at a time.  The first two pieces I start with are the front and back sides of the sofa.

Measure the widest points from left to right, and the top middle of the sofa down to the seat.  Add a generous seam allowance to allow for shifting (and measuring mistakes).  I think I start out with 2-3 extra inches per side, and at least 8 inches extra down under where the seat cushions will be.



Cut out two big rectangles with those dimensions from your fabric, and pin them together along the top of the sofa, following the existing sofa seam.  I usually put one pin in the middle to hold it in place, and then start from one side and work my way over to the other.




After you have placed all the pins and adjusted them evenly, use a pencil to draw a stitching line over and between the pins.




Then stitch your seam, and put it back on the sofa, inside out, to check the fit.

And then follow the same steps, one piece at a time, for the rest of the sofa.  This one took the front and back pieces, 2 for the arm rolls, 2 for the front panels of the arm rests, and then 3 long pieces with extra fabric at the front corners and middle front for the pleats for the skirt.  I joined the seams inside the corner pleats so they wouldn’t be noticeable.

You will end up going back and forth many times from your sewing machine to the sofa, adjusting the fit as you add another piece. 

It isn’t difficult.  Just a little time consuming.   

And we all have plenty of time on our hands, right?


But when it’s finished!  Such a nice feeling of satisfaction you’ll have. 




Although it may not be as beautiful as a damask, drop cloth has a very pleasing nubbyish texture which is embellished by a few wrinkles.  And most importantly to me at this season of our family life, I can wash them!




I did the cushion covers a different day, a couple of months ago, and since I knew I wouldn’t use piping, I tried a flange on the seams to add interest.  It’s just a long 5 inch wide piece of fabric which I folded over so the edges would meet, and then stitched to the boxing panels of the seat cushions.  I didn’t even go all the way around the back side, just the front and sides.  To close the fabric in back without using a zipper, I stitched 2 long pieces of Velcro to the underside of the back panels.  This way the fabric won’t slip and slide.

I don’t have a picture of that – but if you’re interested, please feel free to ask and I can send you more detailed instructions.  It isn’t hard at all.




Now… just one more sofa to go!  Smile


  1. I can't believe I didn't go in there last night! I'll just have to come again and see them in person!! I'll send this to my mom and maybe she can try again with hers.

    1. Maybe I need to make a road trip to Dugger sometime! :)

      I hope your mom is feeling better these days.