How to Make Slipcovers

hate me, why didn’t I straighten out the slipcover first?

I made this beautiful white slipcover last weekend.  And by “I” I mean, my friend in real life, the slipcover whisperer from Pink and Polka Dot. She is a self taught slip cover queen. And also, the title of this post is a lie.  I am not going to be telling you how to make the slipcovers, but I can tell you where to find out how to make them.  It’s easier than you might think.

Here we all are Tiny Twig, The Nester, Pink and Edie.  And our victims, an office chair and my $12 thrifty wing back chair.  I know it’s hard to tell because of my mad photo shopping skilz but Edie wasn’t actually able to make it for the weekend.  So I just snuck in a photo of her to make it look like she was here.  We so missed her.

I used about $50 worth of white canvas or duck or something like that.  I just asked my fabriteer what people use for white slipcovers.  They can also tell you how many yards to get for your item.  Then you need to wash it in hot water and dry it so it shrinks before you sew it.  Did you hear that?  It’s pretty much the MOST important step. For the love of slipcovers, PREWASH YOUR FABRIC OR ELSE.

Pink commented on the fact that I should have found a curvier chair for my first slipcover.  I think she was being sarcastic.

I am not even going to try to tell you what we are doing in every photo.  Not because it’s hard or impossible to remember but because Pink has already done the hard work of creating an ebook so the world can know her secrets.

Basically we cut pieces of fabric the shape of the chair and pinned it all together, I couldn’t believe how easy it was once we got the hang of it.

Doesn’t it look like something out of the Curious Sofa’s Halloween Extravaganza?

We basted everything with black thread.  Basted is fancy talk for let’s pretend we are in the 1800′s and get out a needle and thread and do really big stitches around where we pinned everything so that it will help hold all these pieces together.  Then we all started sewing.  Including Edie.

Here’s Twiggy’s slipcoverd chair~she is so adorable.

Because I am Nellie Olsen, I decided it was imperative to have the most elaborate, labor intensive, persnickety skirt possible for my slipcover.  Much to my surprise, Pink was all for it and knew just how to attack making the little knife pleats all around the bottom.  She’s almost like a slipcover mistreater, she knows all the cheats  to make slipcovering easy and not intimidating but also is smart enough to know how to make it so it won’t fall apart when you wash it.

Here’s Pink, slaving away.  In my defense, I actually did sew the entire body of the slipcover all by myself.  But she did all the real work.

It took the four of us from 10ish in the morning until 5ish at night to do the two chairs.  Edie was no help whatsoever though and Twiggy left at 2ish when her chair was done.  I think it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time.  Not that raising boys and stuff isn’t rewarding but there is something about seeing immediate results that is so invigorating.

The chair has claimed it’s rightful place as my most adorable piece of furniture I’ve ever owned.  I am in love.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  And I feel totally confident that I could recover another chair all by myself.

If you love white slipcover but think you can’t have them because you have kids and animals, read about Pink’s experince with white slipcovers. She’s had them for years.  However, it is a commitment to wash them from time to time.  Here are a few comments from the post I did the other day when I asked if you like white slipcovers.

If you are ready to take the next step and want to know how to make your own slipcovers you will want to invest in a little $10 ebook that Pink wrote. {disclosure, I get $2 for everyone that sells for being an affilate, I’m going on a shopping spree at the dollar store right after this} Click on the button to the left to find out more about the ebook.  It will coach you through slipcovering the universe.

*

Lastly, before you need to go trim your 5 inch long fingernails, shave your wool legs and meet your new grandchildren for the first time, after reading this post, would anyone out there be interested in coming to my house sometime in the future to learn how to do slipcovers with me and Pink and hopefully Twiggy and Edie?  We could um…practice on my sofa.  It would be like a sweat shop fun hangout time for you to learn how to make slipcovers while I watch everyone sew serve up iced coffees and entertain you.  You would need to be able to get here to the Charlotte area, know how to sew {just VERY basic sewing nothing at all fancy} and bring a sewing machine.

**Updated:: we did it!  I was so happy with the chair that I had a group of friends come over and we slipped our sectional sofa in ONE DAY  you can do it too read all about it here.

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Comments

  1. Oh, I want to learn to make them turn out right. I made a sad little cover for my sewing chair a couple of years back. sad, I tell ya. I want to make cute little slipcovers for my dining room chairs, which are leather. Your chair looks so cute now. I’m here in Charlotte and would love to practice on your sofa. I can sew, just have no confindence in my slipcovering abilities. I do love the slipcovered look, and have several things in my long term to-do list that are slipcovers, but I’ve shyed away from attempting them.

  2. Hi Nester! I am so in love with the look of your slip covered chair! I would love to learn how to make one! I live in South Carolina but I still want to come to the slip cover party. Can I? :}And I will bring my husband’s sewing machine!

  3. Count me in on a slipcover party! I actually attempted to make one of these several years ago as a new military wife, when all we had was my parents’ 30-year-old sofa. I had no instructions, and no super-sewing aunts nearby (or any other relatives for that matter), so I just made it up. Although we did use it for awhile, everyone (especially the captain’s wife) could surely tell that I had “just made it up.” Kind of embarrassing, but better than orange velvet. To learn a real techniques for making a slipcover from *The Nester * would bring the whole experience full-circle!

  4. Leigh Ann says:

    Definitely count me in!!!

  5. Gus loves the photos of Edie. Tee he he.

  6. I have one of the world’s ugliest couches and am just dying to slipcover it, especially if it turns out as cute as yours. I tried once, years ago, and got as far as the seat cushions. I would love to come try my hand at it again. I took a quilting class this summer, so I do have basic sewing abilities, and I’m right outside of Charlotte. Perfect!

  7. Hee hee.
    You’ve had about 20 people say they’ll come (at least half of whom live in or around Charlotte (wherever that is…)) and about another 15 who’d come if they did live in Charlotte.
    I hope you’ve got a big room/garage and a lot of extension cables. A sort of slipcover cottage industry could be hitting Charlotte any day now!

    • Nick–you don’t know where Charlotte is? Are you in Canada or something?

      North Carolina!

      • I’m in England. As in the original one the other side of the ocean, not New England!
        The closest I’ve been to Charlotte would be Killington, Vermont. (Or maybe the airport we flew into is closer…)

  8. I love it, sweet girl…:) You all did great…:) I plan on making it to the party with my party hat on…lol I have a few slipcovers to show off…Have you seen my newest one, Poor Pitiful Pearl? She is sweeet…I am working on Olive Oyl, her twin sister…I hope they get along…You know how sisters can be…lol Thanks for sharing your slipcover…I love it!!!

  9. I soooo want to come to the party! Am I crazy for looking on google maps to see how long it would take me to get there from KY? Does that qualify me for a total stalker?
    I love to sew, and love to do slipcovers, and would LOVE to hang at with you guys while we work.
    I slipcovered a chair with a drop cloth and I love the way it turned out. Very affordable! :)
    And it has stayed really clean, and with a house full of four boys…that’s pretty amazing!
    Love this post!

  10. Stephanie Jones says:

    I love it! It’s like this post was meant for me. I found two wingback chairs for $10 each a while back and I’ve just now gotten serious about making white slipcovers for them this past week. They’re exactly like the one you found, just a different floral print. Would you mind sharing with me how many yards of fabric you used for it? I found another tutorial that said I need 11 yards and that just seems like way too much. Awe – now I can’t wait to get started on them. Thanks for the great post!

  11. I already have slipcovered sofas or I would be jumping at the chance to learn at the feet of Nester (I am only 90 miles away)! With so many slipcoverers-to-be wanting to attend, I’m imagining that the “party” may look something like this this photo :)
    Nester’s slipcover party

    Can you believe how excited your readers are at just the thought of a slipcover party at your house? I am loving it!

  12. Simply adorable. So happy you and friends tackled it–i’m so impressed at quickly you all did it!

  13. Oh, is Charlotte a very far drive from Atlanta? I’d love to come for a slipcover making party, especially since I have a $25 sofa we bought from craigslist that has very good bones (originally from Storehouse) but has yucky fabric problems! I was thinking I’d learn to reupholster it, but slipcover would be a good option too I think.

    Seeing your chair makes me wanna go troll Craigslist for cheap chairs right now!

  14. Sarah Ann says:

    Amazing!
    Could you give me some advice on Sewing Machines? I bought a Singer Simple recently..and returned it less than a week later. It was horrible. If you, or anyone you know has any recommendations for a basic cheap machine please let me know! Or even anyone who sees this, I’d love some feedback. Email me at smilensarahlee@yahoo.com. Thank you!

  15. Oh I love this post! I can’t sew, but my sisters can, I can’t wait for them to read this post! Thank you for sharing! I have white slipcovered couches & I love them! I can’t imagine life without slipcovers & I have 5 kids & we live on a ranch! They are the best. I haven’t ever had to bleach mine. I use oxiclean & it works great! Your chair looks so cute!
    Take Care,
    Maria

  16. So glad you posted this. I started a slipcover on a yard sale find six months ago and got only as far as the top cushion. I needed a little inspiration to get back to it. Thanks!

  17. Lamp Tramp says:

    Love your white slipcover for the wing chair! The ruffle~ly skirt trim is sooo cute, glad you caught the slipcover DISEASE. It is so contagious!

  18. I’m in Greensboro and would love to learn about making slipcovers. Even though I own and operate a custom window treatment workroom, I’ve always been intimidated by slipcovers! If it pans out, could you possibly do it on a Saturday? BTW – your blog is one of the first that I ever read and I love it!

  19. If only I could come! I would totally travel from Jersey just to learn AND I have my own sewing machine……but wait, I only know how to sew a straight line. Darn! Now I wish I had practiced more! I have been dying to learn how to make slipcovers, (I can never find premade ones that look good.) Oh well, I will be glued to my computer and try to learn from the posts.

  20. I can’t wait to run over there and read Pink’s tutorial as soon as I post this comment! I have 2 wing back chairs and an ottoman that this creamy color that is just ‘off’ somehow. I think they just look dirty with the rest of the colors in my living room. A slipcover would be perfect! I’ve just always been too intimidated with my limited sewing skills. Great post. I wish I lived closer ’cause I’d definitely come to your sweat shop. :0)

  21. I’m completely inspired! Looks amazing!

  22. Does my mother’s 1950s Sears sewing machine count? Do I have to have at least some aptitude for sewing? Who am I kidding? I’m totally not qualified! But I’m totally willing to bring the donuts, order the pizza, etc.! :)

  23. I have been thinking about learning how to make a slipcover for our sofa. With the four of us and three dogs, it takes a beating! I would love to come join the party. And we will be moving soon, it might put me a little closer to you. We’ll be moving to Huntsville, Al.
    Happy Nesting!

  24. Great how to. Why do white slipcovers work? One word — BLEACH. They’re easy and that’s why I like them. Even entitled the name of my blog after them: Slipcovers for your Walls.

  25. Just one big question? How to you get the EEEEWWWWWW off of a used chair/sofa? I’ve seen some potential pieces lying around Goodwill or yard sales, but I just can’t get past the gross factor of some of this nasty furniture. No telling what has sat on those things? Now I’m sounding like Nellie Olsen, but seriously, what do you do to “clean” it?

  26. FABULOUS!!!!! LOVE it.
    And you are SO darn funny. ;-)

  27. I would totally come to a slipcover party– even all the way from Atlanta! Seriously, I’m stuck with a brown couch I hate– I just know white slipcovers would make me love it again!

  28. Is it hard to wash all that fabric at one time?

  29. I loooove that slip cover so much! I’ve been looking at it all day and it makes me smile every time. The little blue pillow is just perfect. Did you buy it (where?!) or make it?

    I’ve been thinking about doing slipcovers for some time now, but your post and Pink’s directions inspired me. I ran right out and bought some canvas. It’s being washed and dried right now, then I’m cutting it up.

  30. Bravo girlfriend, I am so impressed!

    I have a sewing machine and sew the basics. I would love LOVE an excuse to drive down and hang out making your sofa slipcover.

  31. I have 2 chairs in hiding that I desperately want to slipcover! They would love to make a journey to your destiny for a makeover! Keep me posted b/c I want in….maybe I would even bring some cookies to the party!

  32. I would totally come to your party! My bro lives in Huntersville and of course Lily is up there so I could make it a visit / continuing education experience.

  33. Do tell…what dreamy blue color is that on the walls in the photo of the Slipcover Post? While I’m impressed with the white slip, I was more drawn in to the background color of the photo (considering blue for my dining room).

    Thank you kindly!

  34. That is the sweetest slipcover I have ever seen, LOVE it! Also lovin’ the blue wall color, I’m looking for a blue for the bedroom but getting blue right seems to be difficult.

  35. Miss Nester,
    Congratulations on your slip cover. It’s lovely! Such a fun time with friends.
    I did my very first EVER slipcovers the other day. I, too, am in love. But where was I? I didn’t read your post until today and so I think I missed Pink’s party. Boo hoo.

    BTW, I’m going white.

    Here’s my post (if you have 4-5 minutes…I wrote a lot – sorry – I get excited)
    http://kitchentableproductions.blogspot.com/2010/03/louisa-and-penelope-are-all-dressed-up.html

  36. I will totally come help you sew slipcovers. I can bring my machine and my skilz. I had an old sofa and love seat that I made tailored slipcovers for… my daughter was a baby/toddler, so I had her standing on my calves and hugging my thighs as I kneeled to do all the pinning!!! It was such a thrill to take that threadbare furniture and make it into something new. Such a blessing, when money was so tight. So tell me when & I will be there. Tuesdays are my least available days. Blessings!!!

  37. That was hilarious. I especially like the part about Edie being no help. And your drawings of her–well, priceless. :)

  38. how funny! love your gray {walls and blog background!}.
    wish i liked to sew like that but, alas… i supposed I could always knit a slipcover…. ?
    ;o

  39. You made this almost looks easy, but I know myself…it would be a hair pulling, tear inducing project.

    You chair is beautiful!

    -FringeGirl

  40. Kim Wickerham says:

    I’d love to come join you for a slipcover lesson. Please let me know if this works out. I just bought a babylock serger too.

  41. What fun!!!! I love the idea of having slip covers you can just throw in the wash. I want to do the same to my couch.

    I would love to come to your house~sadly I don’t live close enough.:( What fun that could be though.

    Ruth

  42. They are sweet , easily washable and to safe my lovely sofas from being dirty by my kids. I will ask my wife to read this post as I think males are not better in sewing such things.

  43. just now reading this post and perfect timing because last night as I was falling asleep I was plotting furniture rearranging and how I could move the not so beautiful but comfy and FREE green chair that I’ve had for years into our bedroom but it really would disrupt our peaceful white haven and how maybe I could use an old white sheet I have that I wouldn’t mind cutting up and experimenting with to make a slipcover for it. I don’t know how to sew and don’t own a sewing machine but was considering just using a staple gun and some safety pins (maybe hot glue?) and going after it! We’ll see. I’m also plotting a dust ruffle “mistreatment” on my guest bed that’s in the nursery-in-the-works to hide the exersaucer, jumperoo,etc. that we are so thrilled to have been given for free but that we won’t be using for a few months yet. lots to do . . . maybe I should get off the computer! Kelly

    p.s. have i ever asked you if you have photos of your boys’ nurseries that you would share?

  44. Ok forgive me- I tried to read thru the comments to see if you’ve already addressed this but got lazy (and I’m at work, so . . . ). My question is, how much additional trouble was it to add the piping? Tell me all about it! It adds sooo much to the end result. And of course the knife pleats are a must! I’ve done a cheaty slipcover before and did not think to baste my seams- I tried to use a stapler (doesn’t work too great). I left off the piping though and it just looks not as great. For my next project I’m begging you to tell me it’s so easy and at least halfway mean it :)

  45. Just found your blog for the first time thanks to the Pioneer Woman. Love that girl! I would love to learn to make a slipcover since I have a GREEN plaid sofa that doesn’t go with anything. Maybe you could have weekend lessons in fabric stores?? Come to Tulsa! I need you.

  46. I wonder if I could do that for my sofa? Looks a little complicated, but the results are fabulous. I moved recently, and in the move my current slipcover ended up looking worse than I’d like it to. And the pillows are starting to look like they need serious help. I think I’ll start by making covers for the pillows and see if that helps.

  47. Please include directions on to do a ruffle or the knife pleats online please!

  48. Would love to know how to do the knife pleats also! And would love to come and joing you for a day of slipcovering!!! Let us know. I am on the coast of NC.

  49. i love your chair. i’m new to your blog and excited about maybe trying a slipcover myself.

  50. Colette says:

    I just stumbled upon your website and have found it to be very inspiring. I have a white slipcover on my sofa and have been searching for the perfect blue/grey color to paint my living room walls. You have great taste and I’d be forever grateful if you would please share the name of the paint you used?

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