How to Sew a Slipcover, Part 3 – DIY Home Decor Tutorial

Homestretch, dudes and dudettes!

If you need them, here are links to Part 1 and Part 2 of this tutorial.

Step 1

Now that you have all your muslin pattern pieces traced and cut out of your Real Live Slipcover fabric, sew it together! Match up the guide lines you’ve marked and Do It To It.

Now slap that baby on the couch for a test fit.

Step 1

Here’s the back and sides of mine getting a test fit on the ol’ coucheroo.

If you’re adding piping to yours, I find it’s easiest to sew the piping to the most awkwardly shaped piece first. So for my arm piece, I sewed the piping to the front arm piece, then I sewed the piece that wraps aroooound the arm to the piped front-arm-piece. Get it?

Step 2

Admire your handiwork from all angles.

Step 2: Ooooohhhh





 ARG! aka Step 3

Find the wonky part that isn’t fitting right and stick your tongue out at it.

If you’re lucky, you have no wonky parts. YAY!

If you have a wonky part, pull the slipcover off, turn it inside out, and put it back on the couch.

Step 4

If there are loose bits, pin them tight.

Step 4 – Pin it!

If there are parts that are too tight/pulling oddly, bust out the seam ripper and repin as necessary. This is where leaving yourself a generous seam allowance will come in handy.

Step 4 – Enter the seam ripper!

Step 5

Remove the slipcover, and stitch along your new pin lines.

Fit it back on your couch and now everything should be perfect. Yes?

Or, have a meltdown because it still isn’t perfect.

Rip seams and repin. Now it’s perfect right?

Curse the slipcover gods and sewing demons and swear you’ll never sew another slipcover again as long as you live.

Compose yourself.

Okay… seam rip again. Seam rip and tear a hole in your nice new slipcover.

Remove the scissors from the vicinity to avoid going stabby stabby when you go smashy smashy.

Start pondering the wisdom of a slipcover versus reupholstering. Do you really need to be able to wash the entire thing? Isn’t being able to wash the cushions, and perhaps even having a pair of backup cushion covers good enough?

Decide on reupholstering instead of slipcovering and fantasize about hot glue and a staple gun.

That’s how I did it, anyway.

Seriously though, if you are set on a slipcover, don’t let me scare you away. The truth is that my slipcover, after my second round of fine tuning, was more than adequate. No one but me would have noticed the imperfections. I probably would have kept tinkering until it was perfect until I put the hole in it.

And if I had just taken a break from the demon slipcover, I probably would have been more patient, and thus wouldn’t have ripped a hole in it in the first place!

The truth is: I’m a perfectionist until the shit hits the fan, and then I’m like, “Eff it, let’s Macguyver this and be done with it.”  I’m sick of looking at the couch in it’s current state, so bring on the hot glue gun!

So I’ll finish the tutorial, minus photos, since we know I didn’t get that far.

Step 6

Sew the under-cushion lining piece to the back/side portion that’s already assembled. Remember where your tucks are!

If your piece of furniture doesn’t have a skirt, you just need to trim your seam allowances (use pinking shears to protect against fraying) and hem! If you do need a skirt, press onward.

Step 7

I planned on hemming the skirt before attaching to the rest of the slip cover.  The end of my skirt would overlap around the front arm and fasten to itself with some buttons or snaps to keep the whole thing together and make for easy removal.

Put the slipcover on the couch again, and start pinning the skirt from one end.

Sew the skirt to the cover, add your closure, and you’re done! If you need instructions for making the pillow and cushion covers, you can google it, or wait until I do the reupholstering tutorial.

Stay tuned for adventures in amateur reupholstering!


10 thoughts on “How to Sew a Slipcover, Part 3 – DIY Home Decor Tutorial

  1. This was awesome! I, too, am a perfectionist with things and end up at the MacGuyver point far too often. Blah. Genius way of laying it all out for us, though. I now have more confidence in being able to do a good job on the chair sitting in my foyer. (Sure, I can do that. No problem! I’m sure there’s a tutorial online somewhere…)

    I want to see a picture of the finished product! Those fabric prints looked adorable and I wanna see what they all look like together! (Also to give me some inspiration for my well-used Craigslist couch!)

  2. Hi, I enjoyed the tutorial but would love to see the finished product if you could post it. As you have said you are a perfectionist but it was looking pretty darn good. Honestly it is extremely difficult to get a completely smooth fit even with high quality store bought slip covers. The only ones that turn out looking completely smooth are the ugly stretch ones but to get that perfect smoothness the slip is often pulled one way or another and looks aweful.

    Give yourself some credit because yours was already looking better than any store bought cover that I have seen after you readjusted the fit the first time.Are you able to post a finished product, it would be essential for those who may want to make the covers.

  3. Hi, I agree with Christine. Your slipcover looks awesome and I too would love to see the final result. A while back I decided to give a go at slipcovers as I have big dogs and sometimes they get bored. So I did this
    I’m now starting another chair that I picked up at a Goodwill Store for $19.99 and before I knew it said dog had not learned his lesson apparently got hungry. I hope to blog about that slipcover as well. My style is more flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t make patterns. Just go for it. I admire your patience though. I am a closet perfectionist but sometimes in the end you have to say life is to short and move on. thanks for showing your talent!

  4. been searching for months. urs was easiest 2 understand. love the honest humor!!!! looking 4ward 2 more tutorials. ty, deb

  5. I know that it’s August 2015 but I’ve been meaning to slipcover my inherited Aunt Jeans kidney shaped orange velvet (hello 60’s) couch since August 1979. I’m ready now and I was overjoyed to find your slipcover tutorials. Very nice job!!! The instructions and photos are excellent?. I’ll try and get this project done within the next 36 years. LOL ??

  6. Addendum: do you have any suggestions how to treat measuring and sewing the “kidney shaped back and arm portion of the couch. Lots of darts maybe?

    1. I’m not sure if I’m picturing the right thing when I think of “kidney shaped”, but it seems like a lot of upholstery uses gathering and tucks to get around the odd shapes.

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