Furniture Makeovers

Cozy Farmhouse Cottage Ottoman Slipcover

Easy DIY slipcover made from a vintage quilt | The Chelsea Project |

Hello Friends,

Remember the post from a few weeks ago where I painted a fabric ottoman?  And the first attempt was a total flop?

Then I managed to rework my strategy and the ottoman ended up being…welllll…. totally awesome?  🙂

Well, welcome to round two of “How to Fix An Ottoman Flop.”

Actually, this time it really isn’t a flop.  It’s just more of an early redirect.

A redirect that took me by surprise, but like the fabric flop — turned out ok in the end.

Unstructured slipcovers are easy to sew | The Chelsea Project |

And, just in case you are a Friend joining us from the DIY Furniture Girls Monthly Challenge and wonder what on earth I’m talking about, you can catch the antics from the first ottoman refresh by clicking here. But do make sure you come back to this post and see how this sweet little ottoman gets its new set of clothes.

Cozy Ottoman Slipcover

Plan A

Antique ottoman waiting for a new set of clothes | The Chelsea Project |

As you can see, this antique ottoman was way past due for a refresh.  And it was perfect for this month’s DIY Girl’s theme of “layers.”  The plan was to apply a chippy milk paint finish on the feet (which I did) and a shabby chic-type slipcover over the body. The layers would be quick, easy, and so adorable, you’d just love them to the moon and back.

See what I mean?  Are these just the cutest layers or what?

Material for a shabby chic unstructured slipcover | The Chelsea Project |

Well, lo and behold, I somehow mismeasured the quilted under cover and was about 10 inches short.  Argh!  I couldn’t find another sham like this one, couldn’t find white quilted material, and couldn’t find lace even close to this. With the monthly challenge deadline looming, I was in big trouble.  What I needed was a plan.  A new plan.

Easy sew - Easy On and off - Slipcover made from an antique quilt | The Chelsea Project |


Cozy Farmhouse Cottage Ottoman Slipcover

Plan B

So I started digging through my stash of fabrics and found the shredded remains of a vintage quilt.  It had been hand-made by my grandmother about 50-60 (maybe even 70) years ago and Mother gave it to me when it fell apart.  She said she knew that I would never throw it away.  Well, she was right.  With some careful maneuvering, I was able to come up with a piece that was big enough to cover the ottoman and yet strong enough for the slipcover to be used by the family.

So here’s how it all came together:

Step 1:  Layer on the Paint

To the feet and sides, apply a light blue coat of milk paint and then a white coat of milk paint. The trick to getting the chippy – an authentic looking chippy – isn’t hard, but does require a post unto itself.  I will write-up how to make this happen over the weekend and publish it next week.  

Chippy goodness from blue and white milk paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 2:  Layer on the Cushion

To get an authentic-feeling cushion, like Grandma used back in the day, I had to stay away from foam.  And because of allergies, I had to stay away from down filler.  Luckily, I had a “feels-like-down” pillow that was way past its prime.  To make it work, an old pillowcase was wrapped around the pillow and sewn to the measurements of the ottoman top. 

A pillowcase was used to reinforce the sides of the pillow and was sealed around the pillow by hand using a whip stitch.

A "feels-like-down" pillow was sewn ot fit the top of the ottoman | The Chelsea Project |

Step 3: Layer on the Slipcover

To make the unstructured slipcover, find one piece of fabric that is big enough to cover the entire ottoman.  This way, the only seams are on the corners.

First, turn the fabric wrong-side out and pin to mark where the seam will be sewn in.

A slipcover is pinned with the fabric wrong-side out | The Chelsea Project |

Sew the seam and then trim away the excess fabric.  I leave about 5/8 inch on each side so that the seam can be pressed open.  When this is done on all four sides, turn the fabric right-side out and fit it over the cushion and ottoman.


If the fabric needs an adjustment for the hem, pin the adjustment and then sew a hem and/or cut the fabric away.  But please make every effort to cut the fabric to size before sewing the corners.  It is a bit easier.  

Easy DIY slipcover made from a vintage quilt | The Chelsea Project |

Also make sure to get the corners snug enough so that the cushion stays in place.

An unstructured slipcover fits the furniture frame, but does not look sewn to the frame | The Chelsea Project |

I was able to manipulate Grandmother’s quilt pieces so that the naturally occurring tattered edges became the hem for this slipcover.

The tattered edges of the vintage quilt became the hem for the slipcover | The Chelsea Project |

And that’s all there is to it. 

Easy DIY unstructured slipcovers are a great alternative to

Mom will be so happy to know that I did, in fact, upcycle the shredded quilt pieces into a new family treasure.

From tattered pieces to treasured slipcover - a family treasure gets repurposed | The Chelsea Project |

A handy graphic is here for pinning this idea for later…

Cozy Farmhouse Cottage Ottoman Slipcover | The Chelsea Project |

#farmhouse #shabbychic #cottage #country #homedecor #furnituremakeover #slipcover #quilt #ottoman #unstructured #easy #diy

And now, let’s check out what The Girls are layering:

DIY Furniture Girls




  • Reply My Creative Days September 22, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Such a cute piece! Love the quilt on top! You made it such a unique piece! Love it!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Thanks Lindsay. I am very surprised how much we love it. It’s the most comfy seat in the house.

  • Reply Karin Chudy (ART IS BEAUTY) September 22, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I just love everything about this piece. It feels like such a loved piece! Beautiful job.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Thanks Karin. Yes, it truly is loved – from top to bottom.

  • Reply Marie from The Interior Frugalista September 22, 2016 at 9:43 am

    What a lovely way to honor your grandmother’s heirloom quilt! While looking at the close up photos of the fabrics and stitches I couldn’t help but wonder where did each square of fabric come from? What conversations were going on in the room while she was stitching? I’m sure that quilt holds many many stories!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Thanks Marie. I know what you mean. Mom said they grew enough cotton on the farm every year to use for quilt stuffing. And every scrap of fabric was always saved for quilts. These pieces had to come from clothes that every family member wore at some point.

  • Reply christykjames September 22, 2016 at 9:48 am

    What a sweet piece this is now with your Grandmother’s quilt. Plan A wasn’t meant to be…it was always plan B. Such a lovely treasure now! XO

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Thanks Christy! Yes, I agree. I just couldn’t lift Plan A off the ground. Aside from giving my sewing machine some hiccups (old matted quilt stuffing), Plan B went together like a dream. We love the piece now!

  • Reply Wendi@H2OBungalow September 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    How special that you found a family piece to use! I’m such a big fan of repurposing things with meaning. Your big challenge turned out just fine:) Pinned!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks so much Wendi! It’s kind of raggedy for my taste, but it feels like home. It’s a member of the family now. Raggedy of not…it stays. Lol…

  • Reply 1915house September 22, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Great way to improvise, Susie!! Your momma will be proud-

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 22, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks Sarah…. I hope so.

  • Reply paulasweetpea September 23, 2016 at 6:15 am

    I love that you were able to use your grandmother’s quilt for this piece. Now every time that you use it you will think of her and the love that she put into making that quilt. I think it was meant to be that you had to go with Plan B!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 23, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Paula. I must admit that I’m loving the comfort of the slipcover. It totally feels like home.

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 September 23, 2016 at 8:12 am

    This turned out fabulous and boy did you think fast! 🙂 I love how you reused the quilt and made the ottoman look so cozy. It is a family heirloom.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks Debra. I am so thrilled with the quilt pieces coming together for this little project. My family made everything. I’m so happy to bring this heritage forward.

  • Reply Carolann September 23, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Cozy indeed! I love the look of it. It’s so inviting and relaxing. Beautiful work Susie!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Thanks Carolann. Love having you visit the blog!!

  • Reply Sue September 24, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Your ottoman touches my heart and reminds me days long gone with Grandmother and Mom, so I will always remember this ottoman you made and plus I had to pin it of course.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks Sue…..Your are such a dear.. XOXO

  • Reply Lisa September 24, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    Ahhhhhh! This so cute!!!!!!! ❤️

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 25, 2016 at 3:06 am

      LOL…..thanks Lisa.

  • Reply Pat Lingner September 25, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Awesome! I have a quilt that’s getting dangerously close to the “I don’t think I can repair that” stage. This is an incredible way to save these treasures!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 26, 2016 at 5:03 am

      Ohhh! So happy to hear this idea helps! Enjoy! And thanks for stopping by.

  • Reply Lucy @ Patina Paradise September 25, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    The shabby chic paint finish looks great with your grandmother’s quilt slipcover! How wonderful to give it new life! I am crushing on your sweet ottoman Susie!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 26, 2016 at 5:02 am

      Thanks so much, Lucy.

  • Reply Toni | Small Home Soul September 26, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Oh Susie, that turned out better than I could have imagined! I wish I had one of my grandma’s old quilts, such sweet memories of my youth. Your mother will be so proud of what you’ve done with that treasured quilt!

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 26, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks so much sweet Toni. Maybe you can still get one! I’d love it so much if you could. We will make you a slipcover, too!

  • Reply Karen Marie Kedzuch October 12, 2016 at 11:46 am

    I am in love with your layer inspired make over. You saved a piece od your family history while created a useful piece of furniture in your home.
    Happy Creating Sweet Lady,
    Karen Marie

    • Reply theChelseaProject October 12, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Karen! I agree. Family history is more precious than gold. Thanks for stopping by! XO

  • Reply Kristabella's Hodgepodge February 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Beautiful! I love everything about this…the process – problem solving at its best – and the gorgeous result. I’m sure Grandma is happy to see you treasure her lovely quilt

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