How to Sew a Slipcover, Part 2 – DIY Home Decor Tutorial

Part 2, FINALLY!

I know, I move at turtle speed sometimes.

Part 1 is here if you need it.

So let’s get started. Here’s my naked couch, stripped of all it’s cushiony goodness. (It seems weird that this is the first photo of the actual couch I’ve posted. Kinda dumb, in hindsight.)

The couch.

Step 1

Last time I told you to go collect some thrift store sheets to use as a muslin, yes?

You COULD forgo the muslin and use these steps on your actual fabric, if you like to gamble, or you’re super ballsy, or really confident. I’m usually all of those, but I still made a muslin. I really didn’t want to eff this up, so I went the safe route, but if you want to roll the dice, be my guest. You’re dangerous!

Grab a sheet and tack it to part of the surface of your couch. I’m going to start with the front of one arm.

You can just stab some pins through the sheet so it lays flat. Or if you don’t want to put pins in your couch for some reason, I suppose you could use tape or something like that.

Step 1. Stab the couch!

You can ignore all the marks for now. When you have it laying nice and flat and even, trim around it, leaving a good seam allowance PLUS extra. 3 inches would be good for now.Ā  Mine has already been trimmed… otherwise it would’ve just looked like a mess of a sheet draped over the arm of my couch.

We’ll trim it down more when we’ve got it all pinned and fitted.

Step 2

Choose another surface that abuts (hehe) the piece you’ve already pinned and trimmed. In my case, I’m going to do the piece that wraps all the way around the arm.

Pin it in place the same way I did with the front of the arm. Now, start pinning the two pieces together where they meet.Ā  It’s usually best to start at the center (in my example, I started pinning at the top of the arm) of the soon-to-be seam. Avoid puckers, you want nice clean seams. Some designs might require some darts or gathers, you’ll have to figure out what works best for your piece of furniture.

Step 2

Pull the pieces taught, but not so tight that you stretch the fabric out of whack and wind up with wonky muslin pattern pieces.

Keep smoothing and pinning.

Step 3

Repeat this process for the whole couch, or as much as makes sense for the base cover. I did the sides and back for mine, because I knew I could do the under cushion portion as well as the skirt and cushion covers without making muslins. If you’re less sure of yourself, do a muslin for the whole thing.

Here’s the side pinned to the back. And my cat.


Once you get the muslin all pinned together to your satisfaction, trim them like we did with the first piece. If you’ve got a good fit, you can trim the seam allowances down to about 1 inch.

Step 4

Mark where you’ve pinned with a marker. I did a bunch of little dots and then connected the dots once I’d removed the pins. So mark your dots, but don’t remove the pins yet!

Step 5

We need to notch our pattern pieces so we know exactly where to line them up when it’s time to sew. Do this by cutting a little V shaped notch every 10″ or so. If there’s a curved seam, make sure it gets a notch. In fact, any little “special” area should get at least one notch. Straight seams are easier to line up.

Step 5


Also BEFORE you take this bad boy off the couch, mark all of your muslin pieces with a name. You’ll note in photos above that one says “R ARM” for ‘right arm’. Decide whether you’ll determine direction when you’re facing the couch or when you’re sitting in it (like I did) and stick with it so you don’t get confused about what’s Left and what’s Right.

I marked each piece with it’s name, with arrows that point downward, and with the names of adjoining pieces on the edges.Ā  Trust me, these pieces get confusing once they’re taken apart. You can’t over-label them.

Step 6

Take the pins out and dis-assemble the muslin. This is optional, but I recommend it: Sew your muslin together and put it on the couch to check the fit. This is a perfect opportunity to make fine adjustments before you start cutting the real fabric.

Step 7

For every notch you cut in your muslin, draw a line through the “stitch” lines.Ā  Try to keep it about 90 degrees in relation to the stitch line.

Step 7

Step 8

Trim the seam allowances off your muslin piece. My seam allowances were nowhere near even on my muslin pieces, so I don’t want to rely on those when I’m transferring the pattern to my fabric. My pin markings are the most accurate representation of the pattern.

Step 8

Step 9

Trace around the pattern pieces onto your real fabric. Don’t do something dumb like tracing two “Right Arms”. *cough*

If you piece of furniture is not symmetrical, the RIGHT side of your muslin will wind up being the LEFT side of your couch, since the muslin was pieced together and marked when it was inside out.

Add your desired seam allowance. I’d suggest as large a seam allowance as you can afford with the amount of fabric you’ve got. You can trim it down once you’ve got everything perfected.

Mark the notch lines from the muslin in the seam allowance, and then cut!

Step 9

Onward! To Part 3 we depart!

13 thoughts on “How to Sew a Slipcover, Part 2 – DIY Home Decor Tutorial

  1. WOW! You can’t imagine how grateful I am for this tutorial. We moved in September and got an old, very use sofa from friends. It is ok, but in need of a new cover. I didn’t really know where to start making one myself, but now I am definitely doing one.
    Thank you!


  2. GREAT tutorial!!!! Can’t wait to see the follow up posts! I have been trying to work up my guts to make one for my couch, and I think you have inspired me. Love the idea of using old sheets to work up pattern, because once you have the pattern, the hard part is done. Yeh! can attempt this and have nothing to lose if I can’t get past the pattern.

  3. I have been wanting to recover my sofa for quite a while now. Maybe I’ll have to try out this tutorial soon. šŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing!

  4. OMG, I have the exact same couch!!! What are the odds… I live in Panama (Central America) so maybe the previous owners of both our couches bought them at a chain store or something. Weird, isn’t it? šŸ™‚

    I bought mine (plus the matching love seat) second-hand six years ago from the lady I was renting at the time. She did probably buy it in the US originally…

    It’s gone with me through two moves already, and bears the battle scars of two cats. It’s scratched and dirty, and I’ve been meaning to make a slipcover for it out of used pairs of jeans (I have tons).

    I have ZERO sewing skills, but this tutorial makes it seem easy. Challenge accepted! šŸ˜€

  5. This is like reading the best book ever and the last page is missing. Or maybe this is a cliff hanger. LOL Thank you so much for what you have shared with all of us til now. I’m being greedy though and wondering when the next installment will be. Hugs, Betty

  6. excelente,ojala me quede como este!!Gracias llevaba mucho tiempo buscando algo que se entendiera y fuera facil,y listo lo encontre!!

  7. This is the best tutorial i have seen. I am in the middle of my project and I found your directions very helpful. Is there a part 3, sewing the peices together?

  8. I’m 67 and have been sewing since I was a kid, making Barbie Doll clothes. For some reason I just freeze up when thinking about making slipcovers. However, your directions were sooo easy to follow, I felt like you were just talking to me and I understood everything you were saying! I enjoyed your sense of humor your sweet kitty cat (I have three) and the slipcover fabric you used!

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