What are the best slipcover fabrics?

I recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics that are durable, washable and have long lasting design appeal.

Below are my favorite slipcover fabrics. Purchase them from the retailer links provided. I’ve tested each one for shrinkage, coverage and durability. These are the fabrics I typically use with very good results for my client jobs and my own projects.


Bull Denim Natural for SlipcoversNatural Bull Denim 12 oz. http://bit.ly/1GWXoYz and  Khaki http://bit.ly/29ziUKG

You can’t beat the quality of this U.S.A. made cotton denim for the price. It offers very good coverage and the after washed look is casual-chic. This fabric is not pre-washed but the crisp hand-feel will relax and soften when you pre-shrink it. Shrinkage: Natural 6″ on a one yard length and 3″ on the width.  

Washed French Twill Washed Denim 14 oz., Natural http://bit.ly/1XSgvML and White http://bit.ly/1VqgT59

This heavyweight, supple denim has a washed finish giving it a “French Laundered” look and feel; perfect for creating cottage-style slipcovers. It’s soft, substantial and has a slightly richer appearance than inexpensive lighter weight denims. Shrinkage: 1″ on a one yard length, 1/2″ on the width.  

See sofa and chair slipcovers I made using the Washed Denim http://bit.ly/1RvwcmD.

Brushed Dockside Denim WhiteDockside Brushed Denim 12 .oz., White http://bit.ly/1p9eoHj or http://bit.ly/1OWUfca

This medium-heavy weight denim offers pretty good coverage for a white fabric but the weight is less substantial than the denims listed above. Wonderful soft brushed hand-feel.  Nice bright white color. Shrinkage: 3″ on the 1 yard length and 1″ on the width.

See the sofa slipcover I made with Dockside Denim http://bit.ly/1W1gO57.

Hemp Organic Cotton Twill55% Hemp, 45% Organic Cotton Twill http://bit.ly/1mQrFkX

This medium-weight twill feels like bull denim except it’s beefier than most 10 oz. weights. The hemp fiber adds a little texture, which gives the fabric a rustic, casual look. Durable and offers good coverage. Shrinkage: 3″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.



Big Duck Canvas 10 oz Natural

Cotton Duck 10 oz. Big Duck Canvas 10 oz Canvas for Slipcovers

This is an economical duck cloth (canvas) that makes a casual slipcover of medium-weight. I like the hand-feel after it’s washed; the fabric softens up without becoming too limp.  It takes on a relaxed, broken-in look with moderate wrinkle. Go with color Natural for a painter’s drop cloth look. Shrinkage: White and colors 3″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width and Natural 4″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

See the slipcover I made with 10 oz. Big Duck Canvas in color Burnt Scarlet.

Big Duck Canvas 12 oz WhiteWhite Cotton Canvas 12 oz. Big Duck Canvas http://bit.ly/1ulUPqb

I like this heavyweight duck cloth (canvas) for simple White slipcovers that get a lot of use and frequent washing. It’s a good choice when lighter-weight White fabrics are not dense enough to cover dark colored upholstery. Shrinkage: White 3″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

Heavy Weight Natural Canvas for SlipcoversCotton Duck #12 weight Natural, Big Duck Canvas  http://bit.ly/1O6ywFs

A heavy duty canvas made with 2-ply yarns in the fill (width of fabric). It’s denser, thicker and more durable than 10 oz and 12 oz canvas. Designed for tents, awnings, tote bags, etc. but I found it works great for slipcovers. I love the casual, relaxed look after washed….wrinkles and all. Shrinkage: 4″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

Carr Go Canvas NaturalCarr-Go Cotton Canvas 8 oz. http://bit.ly/NAucQ9

A good canvas for medium weight slipcovers that get moderate use and washing. It’s tightly woven with finer yarns than a utility canvas so the texture is a bit more refined. I love the look and feel of the sanded surface. It’s slightly suede-like, which gives the fabric a rich appearance. Overall good coverage but check White and Natural to make sure your upholstery color doesn’t show through. Shrinkage: 1.5″ on a one yard length and 1/2″ on the width.

See the slipcovers I made with Carr-Go Canvas: Sherry’s Sofa http://bit.ly/1gxa2z0 and Jackie’s Loveseat http://bit.ly/1hqc3Ol and Bonnie’s Chairs http://bit.ly/1nEbmr5.

Hemp Traders Hemp CanvasHemp Canvas 11 oz., Natural http://bit.ly/No2cze  

A hard-wearing 100% hemp canvas with linen-like texture and a more upscale look than cotton canvas. It’s weighty but not stiff and offers very good coverage. Softens nicely with wash and wear. The look is relaxed like washed linen. The natural color varies dramatically from lot to lot so be sure to swatch it to view actual color.  Shrinkage: 3″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width.

Pebble Brushed Canvas NaturalBrushed Cotton Canvas 13.6 oz., color Natural http://bit.ly/1pAbNls

A thick, soft and supple canvas with more of a chunky weave than basic canvas. The brushed surface takes on a cottony hand-feel after washed. Some pilling may occur.  The un-brushed reverse side can be used with very good results. Shrinkage: 4″ on a one yard length, 1″ on the width.


Matelasse2 copyCotton Diamond Matelasse by Roth & Tompkins  http://bit.ly/29vZ4OS

My favorite 100% cotton matelasse in color Natural. Thick, supple, not too stretchy. The classic diamond pattern looks great in so many styles of slipcovers. Launders beautifully. Very little shrinkage but still requires pre-shrinking.

Here’s a wing back chair slipcover I made using this pretty matelasse.


Roth Tompkins Gingham CheckChester Gingham Check by Roth & Tompkins http://bit.ly/29pyl4T

I like this beefy cotton gingham check. It’s a classic and the Charcoal & Antique White colorway is a neutral I never grow tired of. Be mindful of the directional (one way) check pattern when cutting your slipcover. Nice texture, a subtle horizontal rib. Offered in many other colors. Shrinkage: 6″ on a one yard length, 2″ on the width.

See how this gingham check looks in a sofa slipcover and armchair slipcover.

5 thoughts on “Fabrics

  1. Pingback: Sewing slipcovers for a fresh new look

  2. sandy upchurch

    this article is really really helpful. One question though – it seems from reading this article that these fabrics are all machine washable. However, when I visit the individual sites to order samples some of the sites indicate that their fabrics are spot clean only or dry clean only rather than machine washable. Does your article mean that you have thrown all of these fabrics in the washer with no problem? If so, I am very very excited!!

  3. slipcovermaker Post author

    Hi Sandy,
    All of the fabrics I review on my FABRICS page are machine washable regardless of the retailer’s description. Yes, that means I’ve done a wash test on each one with good results. Be sure to read my reviews…I included info on shrinkage amount and give tips on what to avoid if applicable.

  4. Candice Stroope

    I was wondering if you have an opinion on 100% polyester upholstery fabric for slipcovers. I bought a yard from Joann’s today: Robert Allen @Home Upholstery Texture Mix Bk fabric in Twine (linked here: http://www.joann.com/robert-allen-a-home-upholstery-fabric-texture-mix-bk-twine/13556741.html#prefn1=collection&prefn2=content&prefv3=Available+In-Store&prefv1=Robert+Allen+%40+Home&prefv2=100%25+Polyester&prefn3=how-to-get-it&start=1).

    Tag says 30,000+ Double Rubs; Abrasion Grade: Heavy

    I washed it in hot water (no detergent) and dried on hot. It shrunk less and an inch or less in both width and length. I really love the look and feel of it, and would like to use it to make slipcovers for my sofa and love seat, but not sure if you’ve had any negative experience using 100% polyester.

    Thank you for your time.


  5. slipcovermaker Post author

    Hi Candice,
    I don’t use synthetic upholstery fabrics enough to offer a useful opinion. Bottom line for any fabric is if it offers good coverage, has normal shrinkage and doesn’t pill, pucker when sewn or crock it will probably work.

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