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 Well, I hadn’t really thought about it until I wanted to use one of my outdated chairs in the living room refresh.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
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.
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.
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….
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.
Tips and Tricks to Make Life Easier
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
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.
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.
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…
Posts related to the Living Room Makeover:
- Week 1 – The Plan (click here)
- Week 2 – Design and Install Picture Frame Moulding for Walls (click here)
- Week 3 – How to Make Faux Flowers Look Real (click here)
- Week 4 – How to Save a Bundle Using Remnants (click here)
- Week 5 – You are here
- Week 6 – Final Week Reveal (click here)
- Serpentine Chest Makeover (click here)
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