Friday, May 02, 2014

on slipcover making

When I originally posted about slipcovering my sofa, Lilian, as well as some others, had questions about the process.  I've procrastinated with my answer because I'm not sure I can do a good job of explaining...but I will try.  I am self-taught at slipcover making, and so there are probably better methods and tutorials out there.  It just requires some determination and a lot of can do it, I know, and each slipcover you attempt will seem easier.  The book I learned from is called Simple Upholstery & Slipcovers: Great New Looks For Every Room and is very helpful.  

Here's a brief overview of how I go about it:
1.  First I roughly cut out the pieces of fabric I will need, adding tuck-in allowances where ever the cover will be tucked in, ie. between the inner back and inner arms and 
between the inner back and the deck/platform {the whiter piece of fabric} and between the inner arms and the deck piece.  {Since  my fabric is solid and the sofa symmetrical, I place the fabric wrong side out--pinning right sides together.
2.  I start working from the center of the sofa by first placing and pinning together the outer back, the inner back, the deck, and the front lower edge.  I like to get these pieces all sewn together first, then I refit them back on the sofa.
3.  Now, I fit the outer arms to the outer back {this is where I put my zippers} and also to the inner arms.  The inner arms get pinned to the inner back and the deck.  The arm fronts are added between the outer and inner arms.  
4.  If adding a skirt, that would be done last.
5.  At this point, I undo the pins at each back corner where my zippers will go and carefully remove the whole cover.  This is where it all gets cumbersome as you start sewing these remaining seams.  You can see that for the arm fronts, I used a blue washable pencil to mark my seam lines.  Once I've marked all my seam lines, I remove the pins and replace them perpendicular to the seam lines.
6.  Once I sew all the seams, except for the two zipper seams, I refit the cover and check for any problems.  Many a time I find some, and do some seam ripping, repinning, and resewing!
If all looks good, I repin and mark my zipper seams, then unpin and remove the cover.  I add the zippers and sew up the bottom hem.  

For the seat cushion(s), I just measure the cushion top/bottom and add a 1/2 seam allowance to all four sides.  For the boxing strip, I measure the width x the perimeter of the cushion, adding a seam allowances accordingly.  I add a zipper to the back section of the boxing strip.

This is a simple overview, but I hope it helps a little.

More slipcover posts here:


  1. such talent and the slipcover looks great.

  2. I am about to launch into the exciting world of slip cover making so your post was just what I needed. You did a beautiful job.

  3. Thanks Deb for taking the time to put a tutorial up. I find I always get stuck after doing the pinning of the arms. The last one I did I simply took that lot off after pinning on the sofa and proceeded to sew expecting it to fit back on after I turn it inside out (in theory it should as the sofa is symmetrical) but this is where I got undone, it wouldn't fit back on after!

  4. Very nice explanation. I have never done slipcovers, but I think after following your directions I could attempt to do so.

    God bless.

  5. You make it look easy. (It looks great!)
    My dad was a wonderful slip cover maker. He learned from reading pamphlet/books from cooperative extension.
    I am SO not good at it.

  6. Thanks for the explanation on the slipcover. Yours looks wonderful. I'm also intrigued by the tool chest shown in your photo. I think its twin lives here in Wisconsin in my living room (although mine has iron handles).

  7. Anonymous1:23 PM

    That looks beautiful! Fitted slipcovers like yours are so expensive to buy too!
    Just received the military canvas tote...I am sitting here admiring your perfect sewing! Thanks! Andrea


Thank you for taking time to leave a comment--I love reading each and every one! I will try to answer any questions you have in the comment section. Due to the amount of spam, I am sadly no longer able to accept Anonymous comments....Kindly, Deb


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