Category Archives: diy slipcovers

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

DIY Protective Cushion Sleeves

Protective Sleeve for Cushions

I install a slipcover. My customer throws a blanket over it. This is a common scenario with families who have kids and dogs.

Even though the slipcovers I make are protective and washable, many customers still reach for an extra layer of cover.  I get it — a blanket or sheet goes on and off quicker than a zippered cushion cover and can be washed as often as you like.  But it’s a bummer the lovely new slipcover disappears under all of that!

So, I came up with the idea for a cushion sleeve — a protective fabric loop sized to fit seat cushions. Easy to slip on and off. Quick to launder. And, a lot less expensive than having a second set of cushion covers made.

Here’s how to make your own cushion sleeves.  Use any medium to heavy weight fabric i.e. self fabric to match your slipcover, a contrast decorative fabric or a super protective fabric that resists moisture and stains.

Decorative Cushion Sleeve


How To Make a Slipcover: Favorite Books, DVDs and Videos

Making a Muslin Slipcover PatternLong before I started my slipcover business, I thought the only way to make a good fitting slipcover was to first create a muslin pattern.

This meticulous pattern method made sense to me. It’s a technique I learned in fashion design school. Creating a muslin was the first step in turning my design sketches into custom-fit garments so why not use it to pattern my chairs and sofa?  Well, my finished slipcovers turned out beautiful but the process felt like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Today, I still make a muslin when I need to work through complex details. But for all of my other slipcover projects, I use pattern methods that give me great results with fewer steps.

There is more than one way to make a slipcover that’s for sure. Choose a method that works for you and dive in! Here are some of my favorite how-to resources:

The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers by Linda Neubauer

Easy to follow step-by-step instructions with a focus on creating a muslin pattern. Excellent photos. If you are a visual learner you will like this book. I especially like the sections on slipcovering a wing back chair and how to pattern and sew box cushions.

Marge’s Custom Slipcovers, Easy to Make & Snug Fitting by Marge Jones

Marge’s method eliminates the muslin pattern making process.  Her book is filled with techniques and tips for just about every aspect of slipcover making. If you are stumped by installing decking or confused by how to cover an attached back chair, get this book!

Fit-Like-A-Glove Slipcovers DVD by Jenelle Dech

This training DVD walks you through every step of creating a slipcover for a wingback settee using the reverse pin-fit method.  I like Jenelle’s concise teaching style. She also shares tips I haven’t seen in other videos. If you are thinking about starting a slipcover business consider learning this efficient technique.

Slipcovers with Shelley, How-To Slipcover DVD

Here is another DVD that features the reverse pin-fit method. Shelley shows you how she patterns and sews an armchair slipcover with a skirt.  She pins the fabric inside out with welt cord in the seams and she does it fast!

Online Slipcover Classes at Craftsy

These Craftsy video classes are a fun way to learn basic pattern methods and sewing techniques at your own pace.  I particularly liked Kim Chagnon’s class, Custom Slipcovers Couches & Sofas. Great for do-it-yourselfers who want to pick up a few professional tips and techniques.

Paul A. Carter’s Half Pattern Method:  Video Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

In this 3-part YouTube video series, Paul demonstrates step-by-step how to create a pattern by pin-fitting only one half of a chair.  You will also learn tips and techniques for cutting out the pattern and sewing the slipcover. I like this pattern method for symmetrical furniture.