What are the best slipcover fabrics? I recommend fabric that is durable, washable and has long lasting design appeal especially for furniture pieces that get a lot of use. You’ll get more bang for your buck when you choose medium to heavy weight twill, canvas or denim in cotton, linen or hemp.
When shopping for fabric always buy a swatch, or better yet, buy a full yard before you purchase yardage for your slipcover. That way you can view the actual color in your home and test the fabric for shrinkage and coverage. Fabrics of the same weight, fiber content and weave can vary greatly from brand to brand.
If you’re having a hard time finding slipcover fabric at your local fabric store try these online resources. Here are several qualities I think would make a great slipcover:
TWILLS & DENIMS
French Twill from slipcoverfabrics.com. This is a soft, thick cotton twill with a laundered finish in the perfect shade of natural or white. One of my favorites.
Hemp & Organic Cotton Twill 10.5 ounce from Hemp Traders. This medium weight twill in Natural has the look of bull denim. Great casual look, especially after washed and dried. The hemp fiber adds strength and a bit of texture.
Bull Denim: a supple, thick twill fabric that works great for washable slipcovers. You will find many bull denims ranging from 10 to 14 ounce in Natural, White and other solid colors offered online. Hand-feel, coverage and shrinkage vary greatly from brand to brand so make sure to sample before you purchase large quantities. I see it offered at fabric.com, nickoftime.net, housefabric.com, slipcoverfabrics.com.
Big Duck Canvas, 10 oz. Cotton Duck: my favorite utility canvas for making a durable, medium-weight slipcover. It has good body and coverage without being stiff. Affordable and easy to sew on a home sewing machine.
Carr-Go Canvas: a good medium weight canvas with a soft, sanded surface. I’ve made several slipcovers and I’m always pleased with the look. It offers good coverage for a medium weight and has almost no shrinkage. See it made up in this chair slipcover and sofa and loveseat.
Hemp Canvas, color Natural, 11 ounce: I’ve made curtains, shades, a chair slipcover and pillow covers from this fabric. This is one of my fabric home dec fabrics. It has a similar look to linen, it takes on a soft crumpled texture after it’s washed. I like how it softens with wash and wear. FYI — the natural color will deepen in direct sunlight over time.
Home Furnishing Linen, 11 ounce: heavy weight linen from Gray Line Linens. Color Oatmeal HF-0026 shown here. It’s supple and offers very good coverage. Label says machine wash and natural dry but I put it in the dryer on low heat it comes out with soft crumple and a floppy feel. It shrinks 3 inches per running yard during pre-shrink.
Fabrics I choose NOT to work with:
- Any fabric with a chemical coating that guards against fire, water, stains, etc.
- Upholstery fabric — this is thicker and heavier than slipcover weights and often has a stiff backing and a flame retardant finish
- Leather, suede and faux leather