What are the best slipcover fabrics?

I recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics that are durable, washable and have long lasting design appeal.

Below are my favorite slipcover fabrics. I’ve tested each one for shrinkage, coverage and durability. These are the fabrics I typically use with very good results for my client jobs and my own projects.


Yale Denim NaturalYale Denim 12 oz., Natural  http://bit.ly/1iIgFSt

You can’t beat the quality of this U.S.A. made denim for the price. I like everything about it: the perfect shade of un-dyed Natural, the good coverage and the casual-chic look. This fabric is not pre-washed but the crisp hand-feel will relax and soften when you pre-shrink it. Shrinkage: color Natural, 4″ on a one yard length and 1″ on the width.

Washed French Twill Washed French Twill, Natural http://bit.ly/1g2GwzL  

This heavyweight, supple denim is pre-washed giving it a “French Laundered” look and feel; perfect for creating cottage-style slipcovers. It’s soft, substantial and has a richer appearance than inexpensive lighter weight denims. Shrinkage: ½”on a one yard length, 0” on the width. 

Hemp Organic Cotton Twill55% Hemp, 45% Organic Cotton Twill http://bit.ly/1mQrFkX

This medium-weight twill feels like bull denim except it’s beefier than most 10 oz. weights. The hemp fiber adds a little texture, which gives the fabric a rustic, casual look. Durable and offers good coverage. Shrinkage: 3″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.


Brushed Dockside Denim WhiteDockside Denim Bleached White, 11 oz. http://bit.ly/1hxtaPY

This is the softest denim I’ve found in a heavy weight. It’s beefy, supple and the brushed surface makes it cozy feeling. The “bleached white” color is a very pretty soft white. Offers good coverage. Shrinkage: 4″ on a one yard length, 1/2″ on the width.

See the slipcover at I made with Dockside Denim: Theresa’s Sofa http://bit.ly/1j2ToqH


Big Duck Canvas 10 oz Natural

Cotton Duck 10 oz. Big Duck Canvas http://bit.ly/1cY1L8n

This is an economical duck cloth (canvas) that makes a casual slipcover of medium-weight. I like the hand-feel after it’s washed; the fabric softens up without becoming limp or extremely wrinkled. It takes on a relaxed, broken-in look. Go with color Natural for a painter’s drop cloth look. Shrinkage: White and colors 3″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width and Natural 4″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

See the slipcover I made with 10 oz. Big Duck Canvas for my bedroom chair.

Big Duck Canvas 12 oz WhiteCotton Duck 12 oz. Big Duck Canvas http://bit.ly/1o9B2Hy

I like this heavyweight duck cloth (canvas) for simple White slipcovers that get a lot of use and frequent washing. It’s a good choice when lighter-weight White fabrics are not dense enough to cover dark colored upholstery. For best results, sew this thick canvas with an industrial machine and keep the slipcover seam details to a minimum to reduce bulk.  Shrinkage: White 3″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

Carr Go Canvas NaturalCarr-Go Cotton Canvas 8 oz. http://bit.ly/NAucQ9

A good canvas for medium weight slipcovers that get moderate use and washing. It’s tightly woven with finer yarns than a utility canvas so the texture is a bit more refined. I love the look and feel of the sanded surface. It’s slightly suede-like, which gives the fabric a rich appearance. Overall good coverage but check White and Natural to make sure your upholstery color doesn’t show through. Shrinkage: 1.5″ on a one yard length and 1/2″ on the width.

See the slipcovers I made with Carr-Go Canvas: Sherry’s Sofa http://bit.ly/1gxa2z0 and Jackie’s Loveseat http://bit.ly/1hqc3Ol and Bonnie’s Chairs http://bit.ly/1nEbmr5.

Hemp Traders Hemp CanvasHemp Canvas 11 oz., Natural http://bit.ly/No2cze  

A hard-wearing 100% hemp canvas with linen-like texture and a more upscale look than cotton canvas. It’s weighty but not stiff and offers very good coverage. This canvas softens nicely with wash and wear. The look is relaxed like washed linen. I’m always happy with the results when I sew with this fabric. Shrinkage: 3″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width.

Pebble Brushed Canvas NaturalBrushed Cotton Canvas 13.6 oz., color Natural http://bit.ly/1pAbNls

A thick, soft and supple canvas with more of a chunky weave than basic canvas. The brushed surface takes on a cottony hand-feel after washed. Shrinkage: 4″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width.


Gray Line Linen Oatmeal

Home Furnishing Linen 11 oz.,  http://bit.ly/1bkKLF5  

This is heavy weight linen with wonderful texture from Gray Line Linens. Color Oatmeal HF-0026 shown here. It’s supple and offers very good coverage. The look is casual-chic. The 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. Shrinkage: 3″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

See the sofa slipcover and chair cushion covers I made from this Home Furnishing weight linen in color Oatmeal.

Rustic Linen Mixed NaturalRustic Linen 7 oz. #4C22 http://bit.ly/QHP1Lq

This linen is more of a medium-weight than a heavy-weight as described by the retailer. It’s made with nubby, thick & thin yarns, which gives it a rustic texture. A good choice for shabby-chic style slipcovers that get moderate use. Color Mixed Natural shown here. Shrinkage: 4″ on a one yard length, 4″ on the width.

13 thoughts on “Fabrics

    1. slipcovermaker Post author

      You’re welcome, Patty! I try to list as many tried & true slipcover fabrics under $20. There’s no need to spend a fortune on good fabric for a slipcover.

  1. Pingback: Big Duck Canvas: A Good Choice for Slipcovers | The Slipcover Maker

  2. Sharon

    I bought cotton duck from Big Duck canvass for slips covers for chairs at a beach house. I washed the fabric to shrink it before sewing and the wrinkles are awful! I’ve tried ironing but still!! Any help or suggestions?

    1. slipcovermaker Post author

      Hi Sharon,

      Cotton canvas wrinkles, it’s the nature of the fabric. But there are a few things I do to reduce the wrinkles in the 10 oz. Big Duck Canvas and any other canvas I work with:

      1. When I pre-shrink the fabric I cut only 5 yards cuts so the yardage fits into my washing machine and dryer with room to spread out. Avoid packing the yardage tight into your washer and dryer, it causes deep set wrinkles that are hard to iron out.

      2. Wet yardage wads up into a ball pretty quickly after you put it into the dryer. It’s really important to remove the fabric, unwind it and put it back in the dryer about every 5 to 10 minutes during the first half hour of drying. It’s a hassle but believe me this is the best way to minimize wrinkles.

      3. I remove the canvas from the dryer right before it gets crispy dry. While it’s still ever so slightly damp I press it. I will sometimes mist it with a spray bottle before I press to help soften the wrinkles.

      4. Avoid using harsh detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets. The chemical stuff in those products can change the finish (surface feel and performance) of natural fiber fabrics.

      The red canvas slipcover I recently made with Big Duck Canvas had minimal wrinkles out of the dryer. I was able to press out the lumpy ones. The fabric takes on a worn-in look after wash that includes an allover soft crumple but not hard wrinkles. http://slipcovermaker.com/2014/03/17/big-duck-canvas-a-good-choice-for-slipcovers/

      Also, keep in mind natural, un-dyed canvas will wrinkle a lot more than dyed canvas.

      The wrinkles in your finished slipcovers sound like they are set. It’s really difficult to press a finished slipcover but you might want to try misting them with water and pressing lightly with steam.


  3. Sharon

    Thanks Karen for the quick reply. I’ll try cutting the fabric smaller as you suggest. Cross your fingers 😜😜

  4. shalomchica

    Thank you for this helpful info! One question….which would work best with cat hair?? :) I know it clings to some fabrics & while not others … Any thoughts on that?

    1. slipcovermaker Post author

      I’m pretty sure cat hair will cling to all of the natural fiber fabrics I list. I made a truck seat
      slipcover for my Dad many years ago out of Cordura nylon canvas. His dog rode with him everywhere. The hair didn’t stick to it at all! It had such a slick surface. Not very comfortable however for a chair or sofa :)

  5. Janet

    I have a client, that I made draperies for, and she had someone make a slipcover for her sofa out of a white denim that the manufacturer claimed was pre-washed. When she received it, the fit was a little loose. The first time she washed it, she used cold water and dried it in the dryer. When put it on her sofa and the fit was a little snug, so I told her next time let it drip dry and put it one the sofa a little damp. The next time she washed it and drip dried, she could not get it on the soda. She ripped a seam trying to get it on, so she ask me to look at it. I could not get it on either, and then I just laid it on top of the sofa to see if it was the same size, and it was 2 inches narrower than the sofa back!

    Do you pre-wash fabric that claims to be pre-washed by the manufacturer? Have you had denim shrink again after the first wash? I make slipcovers once in a while, but have never had this problem. I would like to know if I should always pre-wash a fabric before I make a slipcover no matter what the manufacture label says for future reference.

    1. slipcovermaker Post author


      I preshrink all of my slipcover fabrics, including cotton denim, even when it’s marketed as “washed” or “laundered”. Those terms can mean different things from fabric to fabric. For denim, it sometimes means it has undergone a light wash that softens the fabric but not fully preshrinks it. Other times it means a type of finish was applied that gives it a laundered look and feel. Regardless, the fabric will always shrink. It’s important to work out the shrinkage by washing the fabric in hot water and dry on hot. Then, once it’s made into a slipcover I’ve found the shrinkage on most cotton denims is minuscule during the first wash and does not alter the fit. –Karen

      1. Janet

        Thanks so much. That is good to know. I will relay this information to my client. I love your website. It is full of helpful information. – Janet

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