April 14, 2010

Tips On Sewing A Slipcover

Since I’m basking in delight over the success of my sofa slipcover I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I found helpful.

The two most important things to remember when you start a slipcover . . .

#1: Take it slow: Remind yourself on a daily basis that it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon! Set a daily goal for yourself and once reached, put it away and do something else.

Truthfully, I had a hard time with this. Normally, once I start a project its go-go-go until it’s done. Everything else is pushed aside – clutter piles up, laundry goes unwashed, and poor hubby comes home to a half-crazed wife!

This time I was determined that would NOT HAPPEN. I broke things down into manageable chunks. One day I finished an arm, the next added the other arm. Follow by the skirt, and then the back, then the zippers. Next came cushion covers, one a day. Sure, the project probably took longer than it needed to, but I was able to reach my goals AND keep the house and kids in order.

#2: Make sure you have enough fabric: It’s hard to estimate how much you’ll need. Error on the side of caution, if you think you have enough – get a little more! Extra fabric at the end of the project is NOT A BAD THING. Especially if you love fabric like I do.

Assembling the Slipcover:

I won’t bore you with a play-by-play of every step of the process. Instead I’d like to share the technique I used to find my sewing lines.

Before I begin, let me explain this is not the recommend way to proceed (if you’ve ever read up on the subject). However, it works great for me.

Typically you are instructed to place the fabric on your form, mark your sewing line, then remove, reassemble (matching up your lines) and then sew. I’ve tried this in the past and found it very confusing and time consuming.

Instead here is what I did.
(the example shows how I attached the skirt)

Place the fabric right side up on the form. Secure with pins to keep it in place. Next place adjoining fabric also right side up, and pin.

The next step is to find your sewing line.  Pin the two pieces of fabric together where you would like the seam. Follow along adding a pin every inch and a half or so until completely pinned together.

Now for the fun part! 

Following your pinned line, remove one pin at a time. Fold the fabric so that right sides face each other, then re-pin. Continue until the whole section is completely re-pinned.
Remove from the form and you will have something that looks like this.

Here’s where things get a little tricky until you get the hang of it.

Spread the fabric out to get it as flat as possible (I sat on the floor with it draped across my lap). Reach underneath and find a pin. Pinch the fabric with one hand and remove the pin with the other. Then flip the top fabric piece up and over to relieve your hand pinching the fabric. You will notice a faint crease – this is your sewing line. Carefully re-pin the fabric. Ta-Da that’s it. It seems like a lot of flipping and re-pinning but I promise once you get in a groove things move fast.

Here's what it looks like once it's all pinned. 

That's it!
I used this technique on the entire slipcover – even the curves and they turned out great. Just make sure that you clip your curves a little (clipping will make pinning and sewing much, much easier)

Hope you enjoyed,


  1. This is truly amazing! You could do this for a living (if you want). =)

  2. I am just so impressed with your slip cover skills. Great job! You're so brave to have tackled it. Love your little pitcher of grass too. Mimi

  3. That slipcover is wonderful! You make it look so easy.


  4. It's so pretty! You did a great job!

  5. Oh man that is making me dizzy! You are awesome!!!! It's look great! I was thinking of slip covering my red sofa for my lil sweet pea's pink tea party. I don't think I have enough sewing skillz for that ;)

  6. Robin...I just have to tell you that this little tutorial completely inspired me! I'm now making a slipcover for a chair following (sort-of) your instructions. I can't believe it's so easy! Slipcovers have daunted me forever, and now everything in my house will be slipcovered! YAY - thank you!!!

  7. Hi Robin, my name is Kathy P and I really want to make slipcovers for my sofa & two sofa chairs.
    What kind of fabric did you use to make your slipcover?

  8. alright...can i pay you to make a slipcover for my slipper chair??!! i'm serious...

  9. Robyn...This is beautiful. I already bought the drop cloth, but I am kind of scared that my machine won't sew the canvas. Did you have a problem with that?

  10. Hi there,
    I'm doing my own slip cover project but will also be dyeing the fabric (drop cloth).... do you know if it matters whether I dye it before the work or after it's all sewn up???? Thanks!!

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