Your Guide to Custom Slipcovers

Your Guide to Custom Slipcovers

DIY upholstery novices are often overwhelmed by the prospect of re-upholstering an entire chair or sofa. Having to work with trim, nails, staples, and scissors is often more than weekend warriors can wrap their heads around. Fortunately, there is a less intimidating option for updating the look of your favorite furniture piece without the fear of ruining its upholstery – slipcovers.

What are slipcovers?

A slipcover is a protective cloth cover that fits on a sofa or chair. Designed to fit over the existing upholstery, slipcovers are typically fixed in place by strategically placed elastic, snaps or velcro. If your piece of furniture is considered “standard sized”, you may be able to find a pre-fabricated slipcover that will fit it. However, these slipcovers generally come in generic styles, fabric types and colors. Slipcovers are also notorious for slipping and sliding every time you sit on them. In fact, many people opt to skip slipcovers altogether and go straight to reupholstery in an effor to avoid tugging, pulling and rearranging the fabric every time they sit or stand.

The custom slipcover difference

Creating and using a custom slipcover on your furniture is often the difference between putting a bandaid on a lackluster piece of furniture until you can afford to reupholster and creating a beautiful, functional piece of art. Not only can you select the style, color, pattern, and texture of fabric you wish to use, you can customize the size of your slipcover to the exact measurements of your piece. This way, you can enjoy your furniture without the tugging, pulling and refastening so often associated with stock chair slipcovers and sofa slipcovers.

How to make a slipcover

Whether you are making chair slipcovers or sofa slipcovers, the process is the same.

  1. Measure the sofa or chair you want to slipcover. Be sure to measure the cushions and the areas that are not typically seen, including the back of the sofa or chair. Remember, your slipcover will cover the entire piece of furniture.
  2. Select a fabric for your project. There are thousands and thousands of fabrics suitable for upholstery and slipcovers. The one you choose will depend on how often you will use the seat, whether you have small children in your home and if your furniture is exposed to direct sunlight. You may even opt for a washable fabric so the entire slipcover can be machine washed periodically. If you are overwhelmed by the process of selecting a fabric for your slipcover, the experts at Beckenstein Fabrics can help you choose from one of their thousands of options in stock and thousands more than can be special ordered. Don’t forget to select piping, trim, cording and zippers you might need to finish off your piece.
  3. Create a pattern. Using the cushions and measurements you have taken, create a pattern on butcher paper or brown paper. Cut around the edges. This will help ensure you have enough fabric to finish the job. Be sure to label each piece so you don’t become confused later on when it comes time to sew the pieces together. You may also want to consider using a fabric marker to mark curves and label the fabric pieces. These markers wash off easily with a damp cloth.
  4. Cut the fabric. Be sure to leave a half inch on every side for the seam allowance. When you sew pieces together, this is what keeps the slipcover from being too small.
  5. Sew the pieces together. Now you get to assemble the slipcover like a puzzle. Sew the pieces together using a sewing machine, taking care to sew straight seams no more than one half inch wide.
  6. Slip the slipcover onto the piece of furniture!

Even the most novice of sewers can successfully create a slipcover that will change the look of any chair or sofa. Still have questions? Let the fabric experts at Beckenstein Fabrics get you started on changing the look of your furniture today!