How To Make Furniture Slipcovers
Furniture slipcovers are used to protect, cover damage and seasonally change the appearance of furniture. Learn to make slipcovers.
Slipcovers have provided an amazing way to protect furniture, cover damaged furniture and seasonally change the appearance of furniture. They can be made from almost any type of fabric and in some cases flat bed sheets have been used to make delightful slipcovers. If you want to make slipcovers for your furniture these are the things you will want to consider.
You will first need to decide on a color scheme before you look at fabrics. If you are trying to brighten a dark room then lighter colors will work best. Although pastels are beautiful in most rooms, you will need to consider the type of traffic your furniture will be submitted to. Lighter colors will show stains much quicker than some of the richer colors. If your room needs warmth you might want to work with earth tones, adding a bright splash of color as an off set. Earth tones tend to hold up well since most stains will blend with their colors.
The next thing you will want to consider is how the colors you have chosen blend in with drapes and decorative items you have chosen for your room. Slipcovers can be inexpensive to make but can quickly raise the cost of renovation in a room when drapes and decorative items do not blend with them. Often when deciding on a color or design for slipcovers, it is wise to bring in fabric samples to help you get the whole picture of how the finished room will look. Most fabric stores will supply you with samples of your choice at a minimal cost.
The next thing you will need to determine is the amount of fabric you will need. To do this, measure the furniture items, including the cushions. Always add one inch for seam allowances and 6 inches for tuck-ins where the arms and backs of your furniture meet the seat. If at all possible try to get two narrow sections from one fabric width. When you plan to make a straight or gathered skirt for the bottom of your furniture you will need to plan extra fabric. Add an extra 1 1\2 yards of fabric to allow for covering cord. An average wing chair will take approximately 7 to 9 yards of fabric to cover. An occasional chair usually averages 4 1\2 to 6 yards of fabric while a club chair will take 6 to 7 1\2 yards. Measure all the seam lines on the furniture you are covering to help you calculate the amount of cord you will need.
In a case where there is an existing slipcover you might consider cutting it apart to use as a pattern for your new ones. When this is not the case, you will need to drape your fabric on the piece of furniture with the right side out. The lengthwise grain should be running from the top to bottom of the piece of furniture. Always work from top to bottom and from the center out when smoothing the fabric. Pin it along the upholstery seams with T-pins and then cut out the pieces allowing for seams and tuck ins. Be sure when you do this to add extra seam allowance at the back of a cushion for inserting a zipper and at the bottom. Take your scissors and clip the seam allowances at the corners and inside curves. Then before removing the fabric, spread the seam allowances open and mark the seam lines with dressmakers chalk. Now you are ready to remove the pieces. Be sure to label each one as it is removed.
Each section will need to be sewn together with piping in the seams. At the curves make pleats, tucks or gathers to control the fullness. The zipper will need to be sewn into a side back seam. The zipper will need to be long enough to extend at least three quarters of the seam length. To do this you will need to open the zipper and place it face down on the seam allowance that holds the piping. Place the teeth of the zipper next to the covered cord and its stop one inch from the bottom seam line. Stitch the zipper in place and then close it. Fold the other seam allowance under and stitch the zipper to it. When you are making the cushion covers you will want to stitch the zipper according to the centered method, which will extend it across the back and into the sides. To do this you will need to baste the placket opening and clip the bobbin thread at 1-inch intervals as you press the seam open. Place the top of the opening facing you and extend the right seam allowance. With the zipper open, face down on the seam allowance and the top stop 1\4 inch below the seam line, machine baste the zipper tape along the stitching guideline. Then close the zipper and sew the left tape to the left seam allowance. Move to the right side of your fabric and baste through all the layers 1\4 inch from the center. Be sure you stitch just outside the basting in two steps starting each time from the bottom center of the placket. Then simply remove the basting stitches. When this is finished you are ready to put the slipcover on the furniture and mark the bottom seam line. Next attach the skirt or facing and tack the seam allowances or facing to the underside of the chair. You can also attach two 12-inch lengths of twill tape to each corner of a skirted slipcover and tie the corners to the chair legs.