Amazing slipcover transformation!!!

Hahaha!  That title makes me laugh.  I’m not sure if my slipcover is amazing but it was necessary.  This project challenged me in so many ways so I thought I’d share my process in case any of you are thinking of attempting something similar in your home.

Here is how it started:  our old couch died.  This couch was my graduation present, the first piece of furniture that we had actually purchased and not inherited/found on the side of the road.  It was moved first into our tiny apartment, then out and into our first home.  That move resulted in a crack in one of the boards which despite what the price tag might have suggested was not made of solid wood but of chipboard.  More recently this couch was moved in our current home where the crack turned into a full on break resulting in much sagging and creaking right in the middle of the couch…blah.  So we never sat it in and I became anxious if company was over lest they sit down and find out our secret.  So the dog laid on it and left dog hair and dog other things and well, we needed to get a new couch…Here is a pic of the sad and broken couch:

I had an idea of the kind of couch I would like to replace it with but not the budget unfortunately.  The situation was getting dire with the prolonged presence of the dog as the primary user.  But alas no magic money tree appeared on my lawn.

So we could not refuse when this beauty came our way.  It was in mint condition and it was free.  I was using “not broken” as my main criteria in the used couch search so you can imagine my joy when “clean”, “from a good home” and “free” came with this one.  There were two problems though.  I had been dreaming of a modern looking couch and a colour scheme that matched the rest of our decor.  Solution?  Slipcover.

Problem?  Slipcovers in the stores 1. are hard to find 2. are hideous 3. are insanely expensive despite their hideousness!  I bought two from two different stores and thought I’d rather die than have them in my living room.  That might sound dramatic but you didn’t see them!

For those of you who will never make a slipcover yourself, the next photo is of my finished slipcover.  Thank you for reading this far.  For those of you who might one day need to make one, stay with me and I’ll share my resources and process.  But first:

Ta-da!!!!  I’m no stager so forgive the wrinkles…I’m pretty pleased.

The first serendipitous event was my arrival at Fabricland to find that they were having  50-75% clearance event.  I’m not a huge FL fan but it is all this city has and as luck would have it, I found one solid fabric that I liked enough to buy.  The colour works and hey at $5/metre it was a steal!!!!!!  I am a little giddy with the knowledge that my slipcover cost me $48 in fabric.  I used the leftover thread from my bridesmaids dresses (again…mom, how much thread did you buy all those 13 years ago?).  I did need to buy some cording to do the piping for the arms which was 0.80¢/metre and I used three metres so add $2.40 and we have a total of $50.40 for this cover.

The second wonderful find was found at the local library:

None of the projects were actually what I needed but I took info here and there and applied it to my slipcover.  The best resource if you are going to cover anything is Miss Mustard Seed’s six part video tutorial on covering furniture.  Elizabeth from The Melon Patch turned me on to Miss Mustard Seed when I was on my Chalk Paint bent (which will come up again by the way).  Miss Mustard Seed is the reason I decided I could actually do the piping (which makes all the difference I think).

So here is what I did:

I took a very old and ratty King Sized sheet and fitted sheet (with the elastic cut off) as my “make your own pattern” pieces.  I have no photos of this process but basically you throw you sheet over your piece of furniture and cut it to make pattern pieces.  Here is a pic of the “front of the arm” piece on top of the real fabric, ready to cut out:

The sheet pieces don’t have to be perfect just so long as they cover the part of the couch you want it to cover.  When all of the pieces are pinned in place you can trim the excess fabric.  Step number two was cut out the pieces of real fabric.  You need a fairly large area to do this my dining room and living room floor were big enough for me to roll out the bolt and cut them all out at once.

Step three involves pinning you real fabric pieces on the couch with the right side of the fabric showing.  This is so that you can have an idea of what  the finished product with look like and to make any adjustments and changes (more important if you are working with a patterned fabric).

I don’t know if you can see it really well in this photo, but up near where the arms of the couch meet the back of the couch you can see a lot of excess fabric.  I just pinned the pieces together and cut off the excess.  The trickiest part was trying to pin and then tuck the fabric in to see what if would look like.  The arms were tricky as well…

What step are we on? Four?  Once you have all of your pieces pinned with the right side of the fabric showing.  You get to take it all out and pin it with the wrong side showing so that you can actually sew this thing together:

Just keep pinning, just keep pinning….

Somewhere along the way (for me it was step five) you need to make your own piping.  I like Miss Mustard Seed’s way of doing it (aka no need to make bias tape first…great because I hate making bias tape even though it is awesome and great because I could use up scraps to make the piping).  So I cut out a strip of 2 in (or so) fabric, folded it over the cording, dug out my machine’s zipper foot and started sewing as close to the cord as possible.

Step number six is the marathon of pinning one section, taking it off to sew it, putting it on the with the right side showing to make sure it fit well, then back to wrong side to pin another section etc, etc.  Worth it though I promise.  Pinning the piping was easy peasy (do what Miss Mustard Seed says.  She is smart).  Sewing the piping in is NOT easy peasy if you have never done it before:

See how the right side of the arm looks fantastic?  See how the left side does not?  It took me a while to figure out why it happened but basically your zipper foot needs to be right on your cording in order to sew right beside it.  No worries though, step number 7 is using your stitch ripper to rip out your handiwork.  Step 8, redo your handiwork.

Wax on, wax off.  Step 9, put your fabric back on the couch once again.  Pin parts that need pinning (if you are fussy). Step 10: karate chop the pillow ‘cuz you’ve always wanted to do that for a photo.  Step 11:  Use dressmakers chalk and a metre stick to make a line around the bottom of the fabric to make your hem.

Yep, I am so not a stager.  Wrinkles and some pulling, but you get the idea.  I love it.  And I can save up for my dream couch.

Last step is to add some backyard picked goodness to the table.  Now it is done : ).

Here is your bonus photo.  I crack up each time I see it.  Let’s see if you notice…

Do you see it?  The little pencil in the top right hand side of the frame?  Taking pictures with kids around is always fun.  Lil’S was being a lil’pain in the butt getting in shots.  This time though she was so stealth with her pencil that I didn’t even notice!  So when I was editing photos I burst out laughing when I saw it : ).  What a kid!


One response

  1. Kelli! This looks so amazing. I’ve been meaning to make a slipcover for my sofa for a few months now….I suppose I should get to it now that you’ve set such a stellar example for me to follow. And the piping too! Wow, Canadienne!

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