3 Reasons to Slipcover in Summer

Custom Chair Slipcovers Natural Denim

Mary does “summer dress” beautifully.

As soon as warm weather arrives she swaps out her cozy, plush winter decor for fresh, breezy items in a lighter color palette.

Sheer linen curtains replace dark winter drapes. A bouquet of homegrown lilacs take a front and center spot on her mantle. And, her new natural denim slipcovers brighten up her English roll arm chairs.

I got talking to Mary about her seasonal makeover ritual when I was pin fitting at her  home in Lowell, MI. Here are 3 reasons why summer slipcovers suit her lifestyle so well:

1. Instant refresh.  With slipcovers, Mary can create an entirely new look & feel in her living room for the warmer months. Then, when winter returns she can store her summer slips and enjoy the texture and darker colors of her upholstered pieces once again. It’s like having two sets of furniture!

2. Protective and practical. Durable, washable slipcovers are the best way to prolong the life of upholstery. Mary’s home is busy during the summer, welcoming family, friends and pets. Her slipcovers protect her furniture from harsh sunlight, dirt, sweat, spills and muddy little paws.  Who cares if they get dirty — they’re washable!

3. Provides cool comfort.  Cotton denim slipcovers feel cool to the touch, which is ideal for our hot and humid summers here in Michigan. Mary chose a light color and a washed, casual fit for her covers, a comfy combo for laid back summer living.

Want more summer slipcover inspiration? Check out my denim slips in white and natural.

Slipcover Style: Indigo Ikats

Cotton Ikat Prints for Slipcovers

There’s no doubt a slipcover made in an Ikat print is truly a statement piece. Just look at Pam Morris’s camel back sofa and armchair above. Stunning, right? Especially in those inky blues.

These home decor prints are inspired by woven Ikat designs that use a resist dye method on the yarns before weaving the pattern. Ikat prints do a good job of capturing the tie-dyed look of the woven version. They’re good mixers, too. Don’t be shy about combining your favorite Ikat with other patterns such as stripes, checks and small dobby designs like French General’s Ikat Pointe.

Look for Ikats printed on medium weight duck/canvas in 100% cotton or a linen blend. They work well for slipcovers that get moderate use and occasional wash.

Slipcover Cotton Ikat Prints

Ikat fabric images from Fabric.com

Here are a few Ikat options I curated for your next slipcover project — clockwise from upper left:

As always, if you plan on making a washable slipcover be sure to do a wash and dry test on a one yard sample before you commit to purchasing your yardage.

Got Pets? These 5 Protective Slipcover Fabrics Will Save Your Upholstery

Pet-Friendly Slipcover Fabrics

Hello pet owners! In today’s post I’m answering your most frequently asked question: what is the best pet-proof fabric for slipcovers? Is there one that will repel pet hair and withstand cat scratching and dog drool?

Yes, there is one fabric that will do it all: Cordura Classic nylon canvas in 1000 denier. This super durable, stain and abrasion resistant cloth will completely protect your upholstery from cat claws and muddy paws. Oh, and pet hair brushes right off.

But fair warning, Cordura canvas is slippery, shiny and feels cold. Forget about comfort and beauty. It’s primarily designed for heavy duty use like horse blankets, back packs, work boots and even seat covers for an old pick-up – yes, I’ve made one.

My guess is a slippery, shiny nylon slipcover is not the look and feel you’re going for even with all of its protective bells and whistles. So, what’s the alternative?

I recommend these 5 fabrics for protective slipcovers:

  • 10 oz Army Duck — very tightly woven with 2-plied yarns making it very strong and resistant to tearing and moisture. Smoother surface than canvas.
  • #12 weight Cotton Duck — densely woven with 2-plied yarns. Very durable. A little more grainy  appearance than Army Duck. Resists moisture.
  • 14 oz Yarn Dyed Denim — heavy weight cotton denim with a two-tone color effect good at camouflaging pet hair and dirt. Wears and washes well like a good pair of blue jeans.
  • 12 oz Heavy Weight Cotton Canvas — workwear tough canvas (designed for coveralls, jackets) that can withstand heavy use.  Extremely durable yet soft.
  • 12 oz Cotton Bull Denim Natural — tight weave, strong and excellent coverage. Most durable 12 oz natural denim I’ve come across.

Are these cotton canvas and denim fabrics pet-proof? No, not 100% but they are tightly woven, durable and washable — key features that make a slipcover protective and long lasting.

In addition to guarding your upholstery against pet wear and tear, you’ll find these options make a good looking and comfy slipcover. Pet hair will likely stick to these fabrics. It’s inevitable. And, of course, excessive cat scratching on these fabrics will cause snagging and tearing over time.

Finally, you might be wondering why I didn’t include any synthetic performance fabrics in my fab five list. I’m talking about the high-end decorator upholstery fabrics (for indoor or outdoor) that resist stains. That’s because those type of fabrics (usually made from Olefin) are dry clean only and typically attract pet hair much more than unbrushed cotton denim and canvas.

Do you have pets and use slipcovers? What protective fabric do you like best?

Slipcover Replacement: Can your old sofa or chair cover be copied?

Replacement Sofa Slipcover DenimCatherine’s old slipcover was cat scratched, stained, shrunk-up and stretched out. At first glance you might think how in the world can her cover be copied with good results.

Well, in spite of its worn out condition, Catherine’s slipcover turned out to be a straightforward pattern to replicate. Here’s why:  

  1. Overall good fit. The slipcover frame (the body) fit relatively well. It only needed minor fit adjustments — a few simple fixes to restore the original shape such as adding ease, squaring up corners and raising the slouchy skirt.
  2. Cushion covers intact. The overall shape and fit of the back and seat cushion covers could be copied as-is. No additional pattern drafting or guesswork needed.
  3. New slipcover fabric similar to original.  Slipcover fit translates best when the fabric for the new slipcover is the same or similar weave and weight as the original. Catherine’s old cover was made with a sturdy cotton denim. For her slipcover copy I used this durable, washable 12 oz cotton bull denim in color Soft Cream from Big Duck Canvas.

See more slipcover copies I’ve created and learn what else to consider when it’s time to have your old slipcover copied.

Slipcover Maker News: Oatmeal Fabrics, DIY Tips & My Move

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SLIPCOVER STYLE: RUSTIC OATMEAL

Cotton Linen Oatmeal Slipcover

What exactly is oatmeal fabric? It’s a cotton-linen blend, or poly-linen, woven with two colors: natural and undyed flax. Most oatmeals take on a grainy texture and rustic appearance after washed. The flecked cloth is a versatile alternative to solid neutrals such as natural and beige.

Cotton Linen Oatmeal Home Decor Fabrics

Look, feel and weight vary greatly in oatmeal fabrics. So does the performance i.e. coverage, level of wrinkle, washability, etc. Explore! Here are several I like for home decor:

  1. Cypress from InstaLinen. A light weight 100% linen in a gray-tone oatmeal color. Too light for slipcovers but works beautifully for other home decor projects: shade valances (shown above), kitchen towels, pillow covers, lamp shades, curtain panels and more.
  2. Linen Slub from Big Duck Canvas. A textured 14 oz. polyester-linen blend.
  3. Latin from InstaLinen. This medium weight cotton-linen blend has a rustic, grainy appearance and works well for slipcovers that get moderate use.
  4. Vintage Linen Blend from Big Duck Canvas. A soft 12 oz. linen-cotton with a subtle fleck.
  5. Cotton Linen Blend from Big Duck Canvas. A pronounced basketweave with a soft hand.
  6. Boyd Natural from Calico Corners. I used this fabric for the chair slipcover shown above. It’s a medium weight cotton-linen blend that takes on a rustic texture after washed.
  7. Washed Grainsack from Pottery Barn. An upholstery weight poly-cotton-linen blend.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can find affordable used furniture at Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Chairs and sofas in good shape just waiting for a slipcover makeover.

This medium weight, tightly woven chino twill is a good option for making slipcovers when your home sewing machine can’t stitch through thick denim.

Big Duck’s #12 weight canvas is different than 12 oz. canvas. Both work for slipcovers but #12 weight is made with 2-ply yarns, which means it’s more durable and less grainy.


FABRIC BUYING TIP

Don’t judge fabric by the price. Fabric priced at $25 per yard isn’t necessarily a better choice for slipcovers than a $10 fabric. Just as a $5 fabric isn’t really a steal if it pills, shrinks-up or stretches out soon after you start using your slipcover. Shop smart. Buy a one yard cut to test shrinkage, coverage and durability before you commit to yardage.


NEW WORKROOM

This month I’m celebrating my 6th year in business and a move to my new workroom here in Michigan! I’m now tucked into a small, efficient live/work space with lots of natural light, wood floors and nature views. No commute and less stuff to manage. Yay! I’m looking forward to sharing more slipcover makeovers with you from my little creative spot.

All for now!  –Karen