21 February 2009

The Slipcover that Saved my Sanity part 2



So this world of blogging has recently become more fascinating to me. I still consider myself a new blogger, and I don't think a whole lot of people actually read what I write. But a couple of days ago I participated in a link party over at Nesting Place, and I've had more comments than EVER. I try not to obsess over this blog, but there's something very affirming when people I don't know say nice things to me. And it doesn't take much to visit other people's blogs and say nice things to them, either. I should do that more in real life.

Anyhoo, in this flurry of comments, I have actually received Requests. Well, one was not an actual request, but I'm going to take it that way. Rachel is interested in how I made my ghetto slip cover because she wants to make one herself for an ugly chair that she has. Go Rachel! So, I'm going to attempt a tutorial of sorts. Which I think is kind of funny since I'm not a seamstress. Here goes!
  1. Gather your materials. Piece of furniture to be recovered, fabric, scissors, LOTS of long pins, sewing machine & matching thread.
  2. Make sure you have enough fabric. Although my dad was a math teacher, I'm not that great at math, or maybe I'm just lazy. But I don't measure & calculate. What I did do was throw one of the curtains over the loveseat and do a little tucking to "rough out" an approximate slip cover. There was more than enough fabric in that one curtain to do the main body of the slip cover, and I had two curtains, so I knew I would have enough fabric to do the cushions, too. I did do some eyeball-ing to make sure I'd have enough finished hems to use so I wouldn't have to sew my own.
  3. Figure out how you want your slip cover to be constructed. I broke it down like this: One big piece for the bottom front that also covers the seat base & seat back; one big piece for the whole back, minus the arms; one piece each for the arm fronts; one piece each that covers the sides & tops of the arms; one piece each for the backs of the arms; two pieces for each of the cushions (four cushions in total, two seat & two back). For you it will totally depend on the shape of your furniture. I just tried to figure out what would be easiest to fit all together. I also made sure that the existing curtain hem would hang at the bottom all around.
  4. Cut out your first piece! I started with the biggest pieces, then worked my way down to the smallest ones. For each piece I put the fabric right side down on the area I wanted to cover and marked with a pencil where it would be sewn. Then I put the fabric on the floor & cut it out leaving about a 1 inch seam allowance all around. I wanted a large seam allowance so I could tweak the fit later. After the fabric was cut, I put it back on the love seat & pinned it to the furniture. I did the same thing with each piece, pinning the seams together where the pencil marks were, but tweaking the fit as I went. Here's a photo of the main piece with the cushions off. I hope you can see from this photo how I put the biggest piece with others next to it.
  5. Sew the pieces together. When all of the pieces were cut out & pinned, I removed the cover all in one piece & started sewing the seams together. When three pieces came together at a corner, I sewed two pieces together first, then sewed them to the third piece. I hope that makes sense in writing! When all the pieces were sewn together, I put the slip cover back on the love seat to make sure it all fit right. Once I was sure of that, I trimmed the seams so that they were relatively even all around.
  6. Construct the cushion covers. I planned these out to fit like pillow cases. I laid the fabric on the floor & traced around the cushions, making them big enough for the seams to meet. I didn't want to make box cushions. Actually, I just followed the way that the current cushion covers are made. For the openings, made sure that the hems (which were original to the curtains - did that on purpose!) would overlap enough to close. Too lazy to make button holes, I just tack these closed with thread that I cut & retack for washing.
  7. Details. On the rounded corners, I made little pleats so that the fabric fit well. On the cushion covers, this is what they look like on the corners. I just sewed them like a knife edge pillow, then turned them right side out & tucked the corners in, tacking the pinched parts together with thread. It works. Here's what they look like inside out. I don't think I can explain how I did the opening corners. I'm not quite sure myself how I did them! It was a bit of trial & error. I hope you can figure out from the photos what I did. Sorry!
Yikes, I hope I explained it all right. I won't lie, it took me a few days to do this - a couple of hours one day cutting it out, a few hours the next day sewing & fitting. The real difficulty is just dealing with all of the fabric. If any of you have made your own slip cover, send me photos or links! I'll tell you now, I'm proud of you!


AnNicole@Our Suburban Cottage said...

I love this tutorial. I hadn't really thought of making a slipcover right now, but you kind of make me want to try :). I also love your description of how you measure in #2. That's totally my way of deciding how much fabric I need too.

Have a great weekend!

Erin said...

Thanks, Annicole! Happy weekend back atcha!

Rachel Lundy said...

Hi Erin,

Thanks so much for the step by step instructions! I'm even more inspired now! You did a great job eyeballing it and figuring everything out.

I'll be keeping my eye out for some good but cheap fabric, and try this for myself. I'll let you know when I get it done. :)

Eeee! I'm so excited. I wish I had the fabric and could start now!

Holly said...

Oh my goodness! What do you mean you're not a seamstress? That looks fabulous!
I noticed that you signed up as a follower of my blog recently, which is a big deal to me (I'm pretty new too). As a thank you, I have an award waiting for you!

Trudi said...

Your sofa looks wonderful. I really like it. I agree that it doesn't take much to make a small comment.

Kristi~The Slipcover Girl said...

Love this! I have a lazy girl slipcover tutorial over on my site. Have a look. Great job! Your's turned out beautiful!

Rachel Lundy said...

Yep, you were featured on my blog. :) I'll remember that canvas is hard to sew on. Thanks for the tip.

Liz Harrell said...

Fantastic! I'm so impressed!