Attached 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.
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.
What type of welt cord works best for slipcovers? My favorite is medium-firm polyester in size 5/32. This cord (above) has a poly tissue-like core and wrapped with a braided cover. Here’s why I like using it for sofa, chair and ottoman covers:
- Firm enough to keep its shape yet soft enough to bend around curves smoothly
- Doesn’t shrink or pucker when you wash your slipcover
- 5/32 size is ideal for slipcovers and the slightly smaller 4/32 is good for pillows
There are many retailers and wholesalers who carry this type of welt cord. For small quantities I recommend the retailer Sailrite and for large wholesale quantities I would go with Rowley.
Online upholstery suppliers often carry this type of cord, too. Tip: sample before you buy. I recently purchased 500 yards of “polyester welt cord 5/32” from an upholstery supplier and I was very disappointed with the quality. The 5/32 size was wimpy and the core was mushy and flattened quickly. Now I know not all poly welt cord is made the same way.
Avoid using cotton welt cord (left) for washable slipcovers. The cotton fill is a bit lumpy and loosely covered with fishnet. Another type of cotton welt cord is twisted like a rope. Either way, it’s mushy and flattens easily. Watch out, this stuff will shrink!
A custom slipcover can instantly transform the style of your chair. One of my favorite makeovers is Annette’s living room chair. I started with this traditional rolled armchair featuring an attached back cushion and tailored skirt.
I gave it a contemporary update by detaching and boxing the back cushion and removing the skirt. It’s amazing how modern the chair silhouette looks now especially with the French floral print!
Annette’s chair sits away from the wall. The back can be seen as you enter the room. An exposed back of a slipcover is a perfect spot for a special detail like this double breasted button opening. So pretty!
It’s all in the detail when it comes to a successful slipcover makeover. What are your ideas for transforming your outdated chair?