Category Archives: attached back slipcovers

The Slipcover Maker’s Guide to Detaching Back Cushions

Slipcover over attached pillow back cushions on a chair or sofa and you’ll likely end up with a sloppy fit.

The fabric never stays put. It shifts and poofs out around the cushion every time you sit down. Straightening and tucking the slipcover becomes a daily thing.

I rarely pin fit a piece with attached cushions. Too much work, poor results. Instead, I detach the cushions (when possible) and cover each one individually.

Below is how I detach a pillow-style back cushion.

Tips for Detaching Chair Cushion

  1. Remove the seat cushion.
  2. Pull the top of the back cushion away from the chair to see where it’s joined to the inner back. You’ll see a seam that attaches the cushion cover to the chair all the way around the cushion.
  3. Cut the cushion cover 1/2″ away from the join seam. Be sure to cut the cover not the inner back. Do not rip out the join seam. This method leaves the back of the cushion cover attached to the chair. No need to patch a gaping hole.

Back Cushion Detached

After removing the cushion it will look like this (above).

You can see the back of the cushion cover remains on the inner back of the chair. Pin fit over it as-is with your fabric.

Use the front of the detached cushion as a pattern to create a new cover. Add boxing, welt cord and zipper placket based on the measurements from the original.

Below is how this chair looks after I slipcovered it in indigo denim. The back cushion is now loose and has a removable cover. It’s shaped and sized just like the original.

Indigo Blue Denim Slipcover

Not all attached back cushions should be detached. For example, cushions on the loveseat below are not pillow-style. Instead, they sit flush to the inner back and appear joined or upholstered to the frame.

Detaching them would create big holes behind the cushions and perhaps compromise the  structure. Major patching would be required. No thanks.

Loveseat with Attached Back

For this type of design I slipcovered over the cushions. It’s a lot of work! I boxed and corded them at the top, sides and bottom.

Slipcover Example of Attached Cushions

Attached Cushions with Boxed Panels

Before deciding to detach back cushions from your furniture be sure to inspect how they are attached. Don’t assume all back cushions can be cut off with good results.

Keep in mind construction might vary on attached pillow-style cushions. The important thing is to always cut into the cushion cover not the inner back when detaching.

Tailored Slipcover for Loveseat with Attached Back

Loveseat with Attached BackAttached back cushions on a sofa or loveseat can be a little tricky to slipcover.

To get the best fit, I detach them and cover each one individually. This method is actually very simple and works great when the attached cushions are pillow-style.

For this slipcover project, however, that wasn’t the case. The back cushions were upholstered to the love seat frame. Detaching them was not an option.

Instead, I designed the slipcover to encase the attached cushions with a tailored fit using boxing panels.

Slipcover Example of Attached Cushions

Boxing the attached cushions at top, sides, center and bottom required a lot of extra work. This was not a beginner’s project! But the results are worth it. The slipcover functions better and looks more professional than had I created a one-piece tuck-in style cover.

Fabric for this project: 10 oz. cotton/poly canvas in color Charcoal from Big Duck Canvas.

This medium weight blend has a finer weave and smoother hand-feel than basic cotton canvas. It feels more like a densely woven poplin. Very durable for a 10 oz.  Very little shrinkage and low wrinkle. Pet owners beware: hair sticks easily to this fabric.

Attached Cushions with Boxed Panels