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DIY Slipcover Basics

Slipcovers. Without a doubt, slipcovers are one of the hottest design trends going. And why not? Slipcovers are super easy to change and even easier to clean. But what about DIYing a slipcover? Well, I hadn’t really thought about it until I wanted to use one of my outdated chairs in the living room refresh. And so, as per the usual, I dove right into the deep end.

DIY Slipcover Basics

Outdated chairs are great candidates for slipcovers | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

And what do I think now? Well, making slipcovers really isn’t hard at all. Seriously, it isn’t. Well, truth is, it’s kind of like sewing Spanx for a chair or attaching the skin on a grape….. Or maybe trying to fit a size 6 into a size 4.  🙂

Ugh. Been there. 🙁

But I digress.

My point is that it’s a tight fit. But, for certain types of furniture, it’s a great way to change out a look without making a forever commitment or using a lot of money.

Got an outdated chairs with good bones? Think slipcover | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

I think this all happened because (last fall) I found a perfect griege-striped fabric to coordinate with dining room. I actually thought it would be used on the dining room chairs, but the quiet pop of orange just didn’t play well with the hot pink color in the china hutch and dishes. Now, fast forward to the Spring challenge and the living room refresh. The first thing I did was toss the fabric over the chair and note, “Slipcover, definitely slipcover.”

Maybe I have more determination than sense, but it seemed reasonable to me that this perfect little greige would somehow help connect the living room with the dining room.

And then maybe, just maybe it was merely a poorly planned fix for a chair that should have been sent to the upholsterer. **sigh**

I think doubt ensued because one of my girlfriends told me that her grandmother used to make slipcovers and that, in the end, slipcovers always slip. When I heard this, my heart skipped a beat. 

But if this is true, why are they so amazingly popular?

And so, regardless of the whole slip thing, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just see what happens. Like I said before……deep end.

Slipcovers come in all shapes and sizes, but a few basics apply to all | Click here to see | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

Slipcover Basics

Centering vs Queuing With the Eye

Starting with the back of the chair, the first tip is to do as I say and not as I do. LOL. Here I am making my first slipcover in two pieces, without enough fabric and using plaid. #notsmart

But if you do use a pattern of some sort, set the repeat in the center of the piece. For this fabric, the center could be the center of a square or an orange stripe. Once the repeat is centered, then pin left and right. Because I was so tight on fabric, the center is slightly left. I had to decide if the casual eye would notice and if I could live with the imperfection. The answer was no and yes. LOL.. I don’t think anybody will notice and living with some imperfection is good. So moving on….

Always begin a slipcover with the back of the chair | This statement is only sometimes true | Find out more by clicking through to the post | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

Centering ~~ I Insist

Next, lay the fabric in the seat. And…. this tip is non-negotiable. Match the pattern and keep the nap in the same direction. If using a print and these two cannot be accomplished, then abort. You have to buy more fabric.

When making slipcovers, be a tyrant for matching patterns and fabric nap | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

Tips and Tricks to Make Life Easier

  1. Buy enough fabric. If using a remnant, be aware that the stated size is not always the true size of piece. Always open up the piece and measure. Either take a tape measure and/or template. Case in point, my remnant said 1 and 1/4 yard (45 inches), but I actually had 1 and 1/2 yards (54 inches) of useable fabric. YAY! I thought it would be enough. But no, it still wasn’t enough. Also keep in mind that the opposite could also be true. The actual yardage relative to the stated size could be less. This actually happened to me. The remnant was SIX inches short. #horrors #liveandlearn

  2. If you MUST piece fabric to make the right size, then matching the pattern and the nap direction is a must. If this can’t happen, then abort. Also, try to hide the seams. Truth is, I had to piece the top four times and the seat 5 times. For the most part, the seams are hidden. I’m hoping to get away with it because of where the chair is stationed in the room. It’s in a corner and the furniture left and right should cover a multitude of short-remnant sins.

But in the seat, I tried to match the seam inside the white stripe. But the seat gets wider from back to front so it pulls the seams away. Note to self, next time try to seam in the gray area.

And the other set of pieces are sewn in the corner of the right front leg. It shows a tiny bit, but is not visible when in place. It is especially not visible from the foyer. So unless you inspect the sewing, I think I can sneak this one passed ya.

TRY not to piece fabric for slipcovers, but if you must, realize that the shape of the piece can throw the seam off its match | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

3. If the back is hidden and you are short on fabric or the fabric is expensive, consider using a companion fabric on the back. If I had more time, I would have shopped for a griege that coordinated better. But again, since the chair is in a corner, I went ahead and used what I had on hand. This way, if I want to redo the slipcover, I will just buy an entirely new piece of fabric.

Backs don't can be plain or fancy, depending on how the chair will be used | #slipcovers #slipcover #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

As for pinning, cutting, and sewing it all together, here’s my take. I have created a Slipcover Pinterest board and am going to keep feeding it good tutorials for different kinds of furniture. This is because I believe that the best tutorial will be the one closest to your piece of furniture. And I plan to do a sequel to this post with a specific assembly tutorial for this chair.

But, in the meantime, if you’d like to follow the board, please click here and then hit follow over on Pinterest.

And if you’d like to circle back to this post, please…


Slipcovers can be used for any piece of upholstered fabric and in most any style. Some basics - along with tips and tricks can get you slipcovering in two shakes | #slipcover #slipcovers #orc #oneroomchallenge | www.thechelseaproject.com

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Thanks so much for stopping by!






  • Reply Susanne May 2, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Oh Susie!!! That turned out amazing!!! I am in awe of your skill…I can’t wait to see your room all put together next week and thank you for sharing with us at Create and Celebrate!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 2, 2018 at 11:52 pm

      Thanks Susanne. You’re so sweet.

  • Reply Tee May 2, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Susie, your slipcover came out so pretty! You’re so honest in your posts. No one would be the wiser just by seeing the end product. I have slipcovers on our dining chairs (stretchable fabric for the parson-style chairs). About a year ago I was considering making my own slipcovers for them. Hmm, maybe one day. If only you were my neighbor! 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 2, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      LOL Tee. Thanks so much. And yes, if only we were neighbors…..we’d get into loads of trouble.

  • Reply Sarah May 2, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    That turned out amazing!! You have great taste and the fabric is gorgeous. Can’t wait for the reveal next week!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 2, 2018 at 11:56 pm

      Hi Sarah and thanks a million.

  • Reply Jen @ Jenron Designs May 2, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    The chair looks so good. I love the new fabric and you did an excellent job recovering it. Can’t wait to see the big reveal next week.

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 12:00 am

      Thanks so much, Jen. Hard to believe the 6th week is almost here.

  • Reply Toni | Small Home Soul May 3, 2018 at 12:52 am

    Susie, your chair turned out fabulous. If you didn’t tell us we’d never know about that seam, but you handled it brilliantly. Thank you for the tips, I have a chair I want to make a slip cover for and didn’t know where to start. I’ll be using your tips.

    I can’t wait to see your room in all it’s glory!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Thanks Toni. Your kind words are so encouraging. Appreciate you so much.

  • Reply sarahcreatedhome May 3, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Bravo! Such a smart idea to slipcover it. I’m bookmarking this one for my own chairs.

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 8:14 am

      HI Sarah and thanks a million. I would add to the points in this post to buy quality fabric and press the seams. My mom always said sew-press-sew-press-etc. I may write a Basics Part II. Thanks again.

  • Reply Jeweled Interiors May 3, 2018 at 8:09 am

    Spanx and size 4…You kill me. This chair looks superb! Well done girl!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 8:16 am

      LOL….thanks Jewel!!!

  • Reply Emy May 3, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Your chair looks amazing in that fabric! Slipcovers are the best!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thanks Emy. I’m so glad I gave slipcovers a try. Now, I’m totally addicted.

  • Reply Jessica Vanderveen May 3, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Looks so great, thanks for the tips!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Jessica and thanks so much!

  • Reply Marie May 3, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    The thought of sewing a slipcover scares me. You did a beautiful job on yours. Had you not pointed it out, I would have never noticed the seam. I’ll be watching your slipcover board closely for tutorials and inspiration because one day I’m going to build up the courage to slipcover the club chair in our living room.

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      LOL….Marie. I know EXACTLY how you feel. This is why I thought I was starting with an easy chair. Now that I’ve been through the process, I’m pretty picky about tutorials. And I will tell you that I’m not finding a lot of really good ones. After next Thursday, I will summons our friends to drop links over on FB. Hopefully, the board will get some good tutes. Thanks so much for stopping by! XO

  • Reply Lindi May 3, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    I’ve never done a slipcover before! Something I’ve always wanted to try though 🙂 Yours looks great!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 3, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Thanks Lindi. They’re not hard. but a little time consuming. You can do it!!

  • Reply Vicki and Jennifer Fenton May 7, 2018 at 5:13 am

    This looks beautiful! Thanks for sharing such great tips too!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 7, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Hi Vicki and Jenn! Thanks so much! XO

  • Reply Ruthie Tabone May 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Love the new fabric!! It looks great! Can’t wait for the final reveal!

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 8, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Ruthie! Thanks so much.

  • Reply Jessica | Petal + Ply May 8, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Slipcover?!! Wow Susie, the chair looks amazing and I would never have guessed its slipcovered.

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 9, 2018 at 7:52 am

      Thanks, Jessica. It was an easy chair for a first try. I’m thrilled you think it turned out ok.

  • Reply Casey May 9, 2018 at 9:58 am

    That fabric is gorgeous! I attempted slipcovering some chairs last year got about halfway done one and gave up lol

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks Casey! Awww. So sad you gave up on the slipcovers. I plan to post the easy technique that I discovered as I worked through this project. I’ll tag you when it goes live. Maybe we can still get those chairs covered.

  • Reply Julie Briones May 17, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Love this tutorial, Susie! I pinned to DIY Dreams. 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject May 17, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Julie! Thanks so much!! XO

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 June 3, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    The slipcover turned out fantastic. I love the material you chose. And the tips are spot on.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 4, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Thanks so much, Debra. So happy to have you visit!

  • Reply Patti @ Hearth and Vine September 18, 2018 at 7:23 am

    This is something I’ve always wanted to do. Your chair is so pretty. What a great fabric choice. I just might have to tackle this in the new year. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Reply theChelseaProject September 18, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Hi Patti and thanks. Good luck with your project!! Send me a picture. XO

  • Reply Mary-The Boondocks Blog November 8, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Susie these are all really great tips for slipcovers, and let’s face it they are a blessing. When we need to change out a look we shouldn’t have to buy new furniture each time. This is a great way to get a new look at a fraction of the cost. By the way, I had to look really hard to see those seams on the chair. You did a great job!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 9, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Hi Mary and thanks so much! As of right now, the next phase of the basement refresh will include making a slip cover for a sofa. I’ll let you know how this goes.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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