Floral Slipcovers: 3 Tips for Simple Pattern Match

A slipcover with a perfectly matched floral design looks beautiful! But what if you don’t have the time, extra fabric or skill to line up the pattern repeat exactly on every seam? Today, I share my floral pin fitting in progress with 3 tips for keeping pattern match super simple and still get great results.

Making a floral slipcover for myself has been on my to-do list for awhile. I love the cheerful look of a large classic or cottage-y floral fabric and how it easily mixes with solids and other patterns like stripes and checks.

I admit I’ve been dragging my feet getting started. I know planning the floral layout on my chair and perfectly matching every seam as I sew will require more time than I want to invest right now.

If this project was for a client, I would dive right in and get it done following all of the professional pattern matching rules to the T!

But for my project, I decided to take a more relaxed approach to matching the floral so I could save time and hopefully get it finished this month!

Here are a few things I did, and didn’t do, to make the pattern matching simple.

Big floral fabric on chair back.

1. Choose a forgiving floral pattern.

An oversized floral pattern with a layout that appears somewhat random and organic is a good choice for easy matching or if you don’t want to match at all.

This Waverly Fleuretta Mist Duck I used for my slipcover project is a good example.

The oversized flower bunches, leaves, and buds appear tossed. The half-drop repeat is designed to look loose and soft. These features are a plus because I don’t have to worry about a rigid grid layout or clean, sharp motifs that have to be matched precisely like a stripe, check or geometric print.

Floral fabric placement on chair slipcover.

2. Run the pattern layout in one direction.

Run the floral pattern in the same direction on all sections of your chair. This will make the layout look fluid over the entire chair and make unmatched outer seams appear less noticeable.

My floral runs all in one direction on the straight grain of the fabric. This is called up the roll. I placed it on my chair in that direction.

Take a look at the chair photo (above). All of the flowers are pointing upwards. Nice! But when the floral pattern on the inner arm naturally rolls over to the outer arm, it points downward. That’s OK because matching the floral on the outer arm seam is not crucial for this project.

Cotton floral slipcover pin fit in process on chair.

3. Match the vertical repeat on the front.

The front of my chair is what I see day in and day out. Since the sides and back are not visiable, I purchased less yardage and saved time by matching the floral only on the front sections.

I placed the pattern’s vertical repeat to flow from the top of the inner back, over the cushion lengthwise and down to the bottom of the chair front.

Chair seat cushion with floral cover.
Floral cotton slipcover pinned to chair.

I didn’t worry about matching the inner arms to the inner back.

And, I didn’t match the floral on the outer arm seam but I intentionally placed the pattern on the side section to look balanced.

Coral print slipcover for big wingback chair.

Here are a couple of finished slipcover projects with large scale floral-like patterns that are loosely matched. Like my Waverly floral fabric, these print designs look a bit random and organic making matching a bit more casual.

Blue and white leaf print fabric slipcover for chair.

Stay tuned for photos of my finished floral slipcover. I’m almost done!

Thanks for following! — Karen


  1. Your work is so beautiful and inspiring!! Thank you for showing me the possibilities!

  2. Karen, I could look at your pin-fitted slipcover all day! It’s perfection! Thanks for the tips to save time and money with making a slipcover. I’ll be sure to refer back to this post for my next slipcover! Pinned😊

  3. I love your posts and your work is so beautiful. I know I could never do anything like this!!! I also love your fabric choice!

    1. Sue — I appreciate you reading my posts. Thank you! Pin fitting seems daunting in the beginning but like learning anything new, you get the hang of it after a chair or two.

      1. Karen- The information you provide is priceless. I am doing more and more slipcovers which I enjoy and your techniques make me feel like a pro right from the get go.

  4. That is such a pretty floral. I can’t wait to see it finished. How many yards did you need for this project and how many extra is that compared to a solid? How much extra for welt trim? You do such lovely work. I always enjoy your blog.

    1. Susie — When I finish my floral cover I will post again and include yardage details along with a chart for how much extra to purchase based on repeat sizes. Stay tuned! And, thanks very much for following!

  5. I love florals, too! Great tips for those of us who’d rather not spend hours matching patterns.

  6. Thank you for sharing your excellent instructions with great photos. What a gift you have! I have been hesitant to start on two chairs, and this was just the inspiration I needed. Thanks.

  7. I just love love all your work and how you share with all of us! After retiring in 2019 from my homebased slipcover business I am finally just getting around to doing all my projects. I’m sure you know how that goes! :o)
    For almost 16 years I used the “pattern on half” method so not using a pattern still scares the bajeebers out of me.
    I have a sweet little barrel back T-deck chair that was my granny’s I may try it on. After that I have our two wing back rockers hubby and sit in when we watch TV and I think I am finished, until the next vintage piece finds me that is.
    Thanks again for sharing with us. I always look so forward to your post!

    1. Thanks so much, Barbie! Congrats on your retirement! I’m sure your customers will miss you as your work is beautiful.
      I know the scary feeling of trying out a new slipcover method. Let me know how you do with the right side out pin fit method. I hope you find it as in intuitive as the half pattern method. You’ve got quite a list of projects to tackle! Enjoy.

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