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Best Blue Jean Denim for Slipcovers

Swatches of denim in different shades of blue.

Cotton blue jean denim is ideal for washable slipcovers. This versatile and long wearing home decor fabric is designed for comfort.

I like using it to cover cozy armchairs and family-friendly sofas. It even works great for daybeds and dining chairs.

In this post I share some of my favorite blue jean denims along with tips for choosing the best one for your slipcover project.

Sofa with indigo denim slipcover.
Washed medium indigo denim sofa slipcover. Photo found on Pinterest. No source available.

I think of blue jean denim as the queen of all slipcover denims. It has a ton of character, much more than bull denim, and it boasts a wider range of blues than any other fabric.

However, choosing the best one for your slipcover project takes a little bit of know how. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Stay Away From the Stretchy Stuff

When I talk about blue jean denim for slipcovers I’m referring to indigo yarn-dyed denim — a durable twill woven tightly with natural and dark blue yarns.

As you shop for options, look for 100% cotton and stay clear of the stretchy ones. You know, the kind that has built-in synthetic stretch and bags out after you’ve worn your jeans for only a few days. Drives ya crazy, right?

An all cotton blue jean denim is my number one favorite for washable slipcovers. It will pin fit easier and wear longer than a stretch denim.

Folded piece of light blue denim.
12 oz. light blue yarn dyed denim with bleached wash finish.

2. Choose a Weight Based on Finish

The special wash finishes that give blue jean denim it’s beautiful grainy character also can make the fabric feel lighter or heavier than the weight listed in the description.

For example, a 12 ounce denim that has been treated with bleach and a heavy wash finish will feel softer, more limp and lighter weight than a 12 ounce dark indigo denim that was treated with only a light wash resulting in a heavier, stiffer feel.

This makes it a bit tricky to know which weight will work best for your slipcover.

I use 12 ounce for most of my yarn-dyed denim slipcovers. But depending on the finish, I might end up choosing a 10 or 14 ounce for better results.

My best advise — choose blue jean denim weight based on color/finish first, and then check to make sure it offers good coverage and durability for the type of slipcover you’re making.

Tip: If your sewing machine can’t handle 12 ounce denim, go with a tightly woven 10 ounce medium weight.

Learn more about how to choose denim weight with this simple guide.

Chair slipcover in washed indigo blue denim
Washed indigo blue denim fabric sample.
12 oz. medium indigo blue yarn dyed denim with a vintage mid-wash finish.

3. Test for Crocking

Cotton blue jean denim is finished using a variety of special washes: stonewash, acid wash, bleached, enzyme washed, tinted and vintage wash, and rinsed are some of the most popular ones.

As a result, you’ll find indigo denim fabrics offered in a many shades of blues: bleached pale blues, classic medium blues, saturated dark navy and more. You have a lot to choose from!

I love the saturated inky shades like the medium dark blue above and the super dark indigo shown below. They make gorgeous slipcovers.

The downside is the darker the indigo blue the more likely the dye will bleed in the wash and crock when dry.

Dark indigo yarn dyed denim front and back.
Dark indigo 12 oz. denim with a rinsed finish. 

Bleeding in the wash doesn’t really concern me. Like a pair of jeans, you’ll wash your yardage and finished slipcover separate from light color items.

It’s the crocking that’s the stinker.

When a dry denim crocks, it transfers color to another fabric when the two rub together.

Imagine wearing white pants while lounging on a dark denim sofa and later discovering they picked up some of the indigo dye!

If you go with a medium to dark indigo yarn-dyed denim, be sure to do a crock test before making your slipcover.

Karen’s crock test instructions:

  1. Stitch a decent size swatch of denim to a larger piece of unwanted fabric.
  2. Machine wash and dry on hot.
  3. Rub the dry denim on white fabric. Rub vigorously for at least one minute.
  4. Check the amount of dye that transferred.

If the dye residue is very noticeable, I recommend washing your denim yardage two times before starting your project.

That will minimize, or maybe even omit, the crocking later on when you use your slipcover.

Blue jean denim slipcover for sectional
Pottery Barn dark indigo denim sectional and bean bag slipcovers. Photo: Pottery Barn

Blue Jean Denim Resources for Slipcovers

I purchase 100% cotton indigo yarn-dyed denim for my slipcover projects from a variety of retailers.

It’s always a hit or miss search, but hopefully the tips I shared above will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

  • Carr Textile via SellFabric.com –12 ounce indigo denim in a range of blues and even some yarn-dyed stripes.
  • Fabric.com — zero in on the 10, 11 and 12 ounce weights. Avoid the lighter weights and the stretch denims.
  • Pacific Blue Denims — if you are an indigo denim connoisseur, you will love exploring the wide range of weights, weaves and finishes.
  • Nick of Time Textiles — check out the ever changing assortment of indigo denims in a variety of blue colors and weights from this discount fabric retailer.

As always, buy swatches before you purchase your slipcover yardage.

And, if you get a chance, tell me which blue jean denims you love most.

4 Comments

  1. I’m a new follower and SO excited to find you on my Pinterest feed! I’ve had bolts of white denim for yeeeears just waiting for me to learn how to make slipcovers (found them at Hancock Fabrics dirt cheap when they went out of business years back). Stayed up waaay too late scouring your blogs, and loved every minute. I especially love your detailed photos, your detailed step-by-step tips, etc. You have a new fan! Carol Hennessey

    1. Carol, welcome to The Slipcover Maker! I’m so glad you found me! Your white denim sounds perfect for slipcovers — it’s one of my favorites.
      Stay tuned for more tutorials. I will be going deeper into sharing how I pin fit right side out. It’s an easy method to learn especially for beginners.

  2. You teach me something new with every post Karen! I had no idea what crocking was and it’s so good you pointed it out. What a hassle it would be to make a denim slipcover and then have the color transfer to clothing! Agh! Thanks for another great post!

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