3 Slipcover Tips to Add WOW! to Your Wingback

Don’t you love the graceful contour of this traditional high-back wing chair? It features all kinds of curvy details: flared wings, arched top, rounded tight back and scrolled arms, just to name a few.

When I created this canvas slipcover for Laura’s wingback I made sure to draw attention to the wonderful curves with simple lines and a tailored fit.

Smoothing the fabric over the rounded areas as much as possible was key. Since fabric doesn’t naturally fold neatly over curves I had to drape & shape it using a few of my favorite pin-fit techniques:

1. Insert a yoke on the arched top at inner back. To avoid gathers at the seam that joins the inner back to the back, I pin-fit a flat panel (2.5″ wide) over the arch. This does away with excess fabric that would otherwise need to be gathered in the seam.

2. Shape curved darts over the seat. Pinning a 4″ curved dart at both sides of the seat (where the seat rounds to meet the front arms) worked like charm to smooth fabric.

3. Fold soft tucks on the wings. Instead of creating gathers (too messy) or darts (too pointy) I folded the excess fabric around the curved wings with 3 soft tucks. Keeping the placement equal between the tucks makes this treatment look intentional and neat.

Fabric for this project: #12 weight cotton duck color natural from Big Duck Canvas. Read my review for this cloth on my FABRICS page and be sure to follow my pre-shrink instructions.

Wing Back Slipcover Details

A Simple Canvas Slipcover With a Twist

Custom Slipcover for Lazy Boy Chair

A simple slipcover in a neutral color. Sound boring? Not at all! Especially when you choose a fabric and seam detail that are unexpected.

For example, the fabric vision for this slipcover was grey cotton canvas. I could have easily gone with this basic solid grey 10 oz. canvas.

Instead, I chose a 12 oz. yarn-dyed canvas: black and natural yarns woven together to create a two-tone grey color effect. The yarn-dyed color has more depth and interest than a solid grey. It has the look of chambray. Love!

For the seam finish, welt cord was the standard choice. Well, it was until I started playing around with a French flange (flat welt). I’m so glad I did! The pretty 1/2″ flange with little pleats placed around the corners soften the chair’s boxy appearance.

Chair Slipcover Grey Canvas for Lazy Boy

How-To Preshrink Slipcover Fabric

Slipcover Fabric Preshrink Tips

Imagine making a slipcover (or having one custom made) and then the first time you wash it  you can’t get it on your furniture because it shrunk. WHAT!!?

Yep, it’s a common scenario. And, once your slipcover shrinks there’s nothing you can do to restore the original fit. That’s why if you want a washable slipcover that will maintain its fit,  you must preshrink your slipcover yardage before you start your project.

Even fabrics labeled “laundered” or “preshrunk” will shrink. It’s misleading, I know. Those labels only mean the yardage has undergone a finishing treatment that softened the hand-feel and drape. During that process, a tiny bit of shrinkage is removed but not enough to keep your slipcover from shrinking up so much you can’t use it.

To minimize shrinkage in 100% natural fiber fabrics and blends I recommend preshrinking your yardage by washing and drying it on hot.  Read on to find out how I do it.  Continue reading

Should I keep my big, old sofa or replace it?

White Cotton Bull Denim Slipcover for Sofa

Philip’s old Mitchell Gold sofa, updated with a washable white slipcover, is ready to move to his new place.

Should I keep my big, old sofa or replace it? That’s the question most of us ask when we are planning a move or redecorating.  It can be a tough decision especially if you still love the comfort and size of your sofa but hate the worn, outdated upholstery or slipcover.

Keeping your old sofa is a good option when:

  • Springs are still supportive.
  • Frame is still strong and stable.
  • Seat cushion inserts are still comfortable and show little compression.
  • Size and style still works well for your lifestyle and space.
  • You can get at a least 3 to 5 more years use out of it.
  • The cost of moving your sofa and/or updating it with a slipcover, or new upholstery, is more affordable than buying a new piece of similar quality.

For my customer, Philip, the answer was keep the sofa and update it with a new slipcover in washable, heavy weight white denim.

“It turned out fantastic! I am so happy with the color and the fit. Once I get moved, I’ll use a steamer to get out some of the wrinkles and adjust the Velcro, but on first fit, it looks perfect to me. 🙂 I can’t believe the stitching and seams and welting. It looks just as good, if not better than the original, not an imperfection to be found! That old, faded and cat scratched blue denim cover is long forgotten.” –Philip

Custom Sofa Slipcover in White Cotton Bull Denim

On the flip side, replacing your old sofa is a good idea when:

  • It no longer feels comfortable.
  • You have to spend money on fixing springs, replacing foam cushion inserts, repairing wobbly legs, etc. Repairs and cushion replacements are costly.
  • It’s been exposed to water damage, doesn’t dry out and develops mold inside. Now were talking health hazard.
  • The size and style no longer suit your needs.
  • Updating it with a new slipcover, or upholstery, costs more than buying a brand new piece of same quality and size. This is usually the case for large sectionals.

Still on the fence about keeping your sofa?

Make a list of pros and cons of keeping it vs. replacing it. Compare the costs between having it moved, updated with a slipcover or upholstery and replaced with a brand new piece. Consider space planning, sentimental value, budget, lifestyle and long term use.

Cotton-Linen Slipcovers for Flexsteel Classics

Linen Cotton Textured Slipcover

Judy, one of my local customers here in West Michigan, got new slipcovers today. And, boy do they look fantastic in her family room!

I pin fit her 12 year old classic Flexsteel sofa and oversized chairs with off-white washed linen-cotton. Don’t you love the tiny raised pattern?

Soft, thick and textured, this casual slipcover fabric is a pretty alternative to natural denim and canvas. It also worked like a charm covering the rosewood color upholstery.

Flexsteel Chair Slipcovers Linen Cotton