Creating a Slipcover {DIY Upholstery Project}

Well, I’ve been MIA for a while now… that’s what happens when you’re 7 months pregnant, a stay at home mom to an 18 month old, have major construction going on at your house, AND am preparing crafts of all sorts for the new space and the new baby. Life is hectic. Oh, and my dear husband had shoulder surgery. Holy Moly, right?? Yeah, my thoughts exactly!

Despite all of the crazy, I was able to get a big craft done for the soon-to-be playroom that I’ve been wanting to try out for a while; a slip cover for a mini chair. I scored an awesome deal on Craigslist for a children’s upholstered chair – $10!! Score for sure. The chair was a bleak tan microsuede chair that just didn’t go with what I imagined the overall room decor to be. Thankfully, I had a ton of fabric on hand to choose from to create a slip-cover.

 

Since I didn’t want to make this project expensive and buy a ton of fabric, I really wanted to use what I had on hand. Since this is going in the playroom I wanted to keep it gender neutral so I opted for the green damask, plus, that’s what I had a few yards of on hand. I didn’t have a pattern for this I had no idea the exact yardage I would need so I had to just eye it to figure out if I had enough. Altogether I probably used 2 yards of 44″ wide fabric. I started by cutting rough pieces of the fabric for the different parts of the chair. You can see below I did the arms & the seat with the overhang first. I knew I would eventually trim the pieces to make them more precise so I didn’t really worry about the preciseness the first cut. Each piece got pinned together as I went along to ensure that nothing shifted.

 

I cut and pinned all of the pieces together and made sure that it was nice and snug and perfectly aligned. I probably should have noted this in the beginning, but be sure to cut and pin the fabric inside out since that’s how you’ll sew it.

 

The pinned slip-cover will look something like this. It’ll be a bit tricky (and painful – helloooo pin pricks!) to get the slip-cover off  so be very careful removing it. Once you have the cover removed you can begin sewing it. I had no rhyme or reason to sewing this so I just started at the bottom and sewed all of the seams, removing the pins as I went. I wanted the slip-cover nice and taught so I used a 3/4″ seam all around. Once the seams were sewed I trimmed them and than pressed them to make them lay flatter and less bulky. I turned the cover right-side-out and ironed the seams once more so they were all nice and crisp. Spray Starch works WONDERS.

I slipped the cover back on the chair so that I could check the fit. There were a couple of areas that needed some slight tailoring so I pinned & sewed accordingly. You can see in the photo above how the one side is a bit loose  – so I fixed that. Once I was done with the tailoring I put the cover back on to double-check my work. I had planned on putting a very cute whimsical trim on the chair as I did the matching ottoman. However, after a couple of hours I noticed that my dear daughter liked to pluck the hanging pom-poms off of the trim & feed them to the dogs. Needless to say, the chair is still trimless!!!

Pictured above is the ottoman with the old trim that coordinated with Poppy’s room as it is now. However, I wanted something bright and colorful for when these two pieces get moved upstairs into the new playroom.

I had hot-glued the old black & white trim on so I just gently pulled that off to prepare for the new trim.I don’t like staple-gunning the trim on because I don’t like seeing the staples and its more difficult to remove. But, that is an option if you’d prefer to do it that way. With the new trim I used hot-glue, also. I always start in a corner and glue it on at the height I like than go in by inch gluing the trim down and trying really hard to not burn myself more than half a dozen times! The ottoman turned out SO cute and I hope once it’s up in the playroom I can finished the trim on the chair and can keep Poppy’s little hands off of the pom-poms!

 

Overall, the slip-cover really was quite easy. Far easier than I anticipated. The chair took me about 5 solid hours allowing me to get it done in one days nap-times. Two things would have made the project even easier; Having the correct amount of fabric and having the short pins for pinning it all together. Since I used the fabric I had on hand and guessed as to how much I needed, I got VERY lucky and had just enough. And by just enough, I mean there were literally tiny itty bitty scraps left over and no scrap being bigger than 2″x2″. It got a bit hairy at one point because I cut & pinned one arm right side out which essentially made it backwards. With a little trickery, I managed to piece it together and make it work. But now I know for future slip-covers to always have extra fabric for the “oopsie” areas. What I love about this being a slip-cover vs having it professionally upholstered (which I considered) is that this can be easily removed and washed over and over again. Since this little chair & ottoman will be going in the reading area of the playroom I know it’ll get milk, juice, snacks, or lord knows what else on it and I won’t be worried about it being forever ruined. What a relief in a child-friendly area. Since I had so much success with this project, I have decided to take on a slip-cover for the chair in Poppy’s room… I’m crazy, I know!

Enjoy!!

xo

ER

 

 

27 thoughts on “Creating a Slipcover {DIY Upholstery Project}

  1. Christine Hammond, M.S. says:

    Too funny, I thought I was the only one who upholsters furniture at 7 months pregnant with a 15 month running around like a madman! Great job on your project, mine was a wing-back chair which my daughter who I was pregnant with at the time has since claimed for her own. She says I made it for her…oh well, it was more like I did it to keep sane.

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Oh, yay! There’s another crazy pregnant mama out there! I am pleased to meet you =) I am due November 12th, though, I’ll either have a c-section or be induced for a vbac at 39 weeks. And my daughter was born at 36.5 weeks – which I am praying this little guy is, too. I am far too uncomfortable this time around to go another few weeks! Ha! I totally understand the keeping-busy-to-keep-sane!!! Sadly, I am like that pregnant or not 😉

      • Christine Hammond, M.S. says:

        You have found a like soul. After the second was born we went for round three so by the time my oldest had just turned three, we had three kids with three different size diapers. I remember those years like they were yesterday, our oldest is now in high school and the younger two are in middle school. It is funny because people told me that “time flies” but I didn’t believe it cause I was so overwhelmed, but it does. Stay strong, you are almost at the finish line!

    • pinsandpetals says:

      I am so glad that you found this helpful. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask. I have since done a few more and with each cover it gets easier and easier! Be sure to post pictures of your before and after!!

  2. Charlotte Amodeo says:

    Looks great. Does it stay in place? I need to cover an armchair and this method would probably work for me. Thanks

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Hi Charlotte, Yes, it stays in place quite well. Since the chair is in the kids reading corner and gets sat on, climbed on, laid on – you name it – it will loosen up a bit over time. When I feel like it is looking a bit loose or disheveled I just throw in the washer and dryer then iron it and slip it back on and it’s back to fitting great! Hope that helps and best of luck in your sewing project!

  3. Alice says:

    You’ve given me the courage to seriously consider doing this. I’ve studied the pictures and I think if I do this I’d like to see if I can add enough fabric to the sides and back for super, duper tuck ins. When I was trying to protect a seat cushion from various forms of cat hair. I draped a long piece of cloth across the seat and down both sides as far as I could. I then cut pieces of that swimming pool toy, snake, foam thing and shoved it into that area. That made everything fit really tightly, that fabric never moved! Now, I’m wondering if that’s going to make it difficult to figure out how to sew all the pieces together like that.
    Guess maybe follow the lines as you did but after removing it, then add more.
    Can’t understand why this scares me so much, I once made a lined suit with bound buttons,and a notched collar but that was easy compared to what I think I’m facing here. I know once I get started it will be OK….I hope. But, oh, the mess I’m going to make….and it will stay like that till it’s over. Any ideas will help. HELP!!!

  4. Alice says:

    Did I mention that I put the cushion back on the chair after sinking those foam slinky things down into the sides of the chair? What the heck are those things called?

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Alice, I kept meaning to respond to your comments and kept getting sidetracked! Don’t be scared. You can always buy inexpensive fabric to try out first – and if it works then you can use that as a pattern to create your real cover with your preferred fabric. If you’re adding pintucks – which I think is what you’re referring to, you definitely have to account for extra fabric needing? If you mean like deep seams so that it tucks in on the sides of the cushion, I wouldn’t add too much extra fabric or it would be too loose. Maybe a couple extra inches to the length before each seam. But make sure that your seam is the correct length… What if instead of doing that – which I assume you do so that the cover doesn’t shift or something? – you tack it down with upholstery tacks? Also – this cover that I made did not move or shift at all – if that’s your concern… if you make it snug enough it will not end up looking like one of those popular sofas that’s all loose and baggy and disheveled looking, know what I mean? Hope this helps for now! Send photos and questions my way!

  5. Zeenat Khoyratty says:

    Wow I must try this . I have upholstery on my couch all damaged and scratched by my cat..so this is my next project

  6. F. Maliana Toutai says:

    This looks so good! I have a two seater that is very square so I think I could manage it. One question, did you use regular cotton or a heavier canvas? Our couch gets a lot of wear and tear so I’m wondering if I should go for canvas.

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Hi there. I am so late getting back to you. My apologies. I used a heavier upholstery fabric because, well, KIDS! This little seat made it through many room changes, 3 kids, and lots and lots of story times + climbing use (YIKES!). The fabric helped a lot with wear and tear. A lighter fabric would be better for a couch/sofa as you’d want it softer and more conducive to snuggling, I would think. Upholstery fabric tends to be stiff and a bit rough but it sure is durable!

  7. Cathy says:

    Have you ever made a slipcover for a couch? Also, I was also wondering if you have any advice of how to purchase low cost fabric. Another question…I noticed you pinned the fabric while inside out. After it’s sewn, it is difficult for me to under how it fits the arms after the fabric is turned to it’s right side.

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Hi Cathy, No, I’ve never done a slipcover for a couch – that would be a huge project! I purchase fabric at Joanns a lot because they let customers stack coupons even on sale fabric – SO handy and cost effective. Additionally, check out fabric.com. They have pricier fabric but they have great deals in their clearance section! If your chair is symmetrical and your pinning/sewing is, too, it should be the same when un-pinned with no issues in fit. Hope that helps!

  8. Cindy Fetch says:

    This is the best tutorial I’ve found and I’ve been viewing several! I’ve read it’s important to serge the raw edges. I don’t have a serger. Did you do this and if so how? Thank you!

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Hi Cindy! Thank you. Serging the edges is a great idea, though I do not think that it is absolutely necessary. I did serge mine and did a rolled hem on the bottom edge. I have a serger so it’s pretty quick and easy for me. Since you do not have a serger you could do a stitch in your basic sewing machine that would work well, too. The zizag seam (a tighter one) is a great alternative!

  9. shabby sherrie says:

    I have ‘decent’ sewing skills….you have me ready to attempt! About washing….did you finish your edges? Your fabric looks cotton(?)….DO you worry of fraying? Thanks for your post! sherrie

    • pinsandpetals says:

      I would say my sewing skills are also ‘decent’. I am no expert here! I did a rolled edge on the hem and then ran the other edges/seams through my serger (which you can also do a similar stitch on a basic sewing machine, as well). My fabric was an upholstery fabric so it is pretty thick and sturdy. I don’t worry about fraying because I usually finish edges. If you don’t have time/skill/desire to finish edges to prevent fraying you could always use pinking shears to help with that. Additionally, you could burn the edges depending on the fabric, too!

    • pinsandpetals says:

      Nicole – You really could use any fabric that you feel comfortable with. Quilting cottons would work and would be easily to manipulate, but keep in mind that they are not as thick/sturdy so they may not wear as well as an upholstery fabric.

  10. Sue says:

    Fabulous! Plucked up the courage to finally tackle an old armchair in my conservatory today. Took me about 5 hours too but I was amazed at how well it has turned out. Looks like a new chair! Thanks for the idea and tips!

  11. Sharon West says:

    Wonderful! Well written and informative! You are ready for the next project! I did a wing back but without all the family issues and you are brave! I was crazy enough to do stripe So! The fabric was a great close out, right colors and a weighty duck. The arm fronts don’t match perfectly, the trim is hot glued and the cushion is too but I needed to finish quickly, hehehehe! Thanks for sharing and God bless those precious children!

  12. Karen says:

    Happy holidays! What a great tutorial! I have 2 older sofas that need makeovers. I have been wanting to do this for so long. I sew clothes but was a little hesitant about tackling a sofa. You just gave me the confidence to do this as well. Thanks again!

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