Reupholstering Furniture Slipcovers

Creating new slipcovers for furniture is an effective and inexpensive way to give old furnishings a whole new look or protect precious pieces. There is an endless variety of upholstery-weight fabrics available, so you can choose the fabric and style of the slipcover to match or complement your home decor. Because slipcovers are also removable, consider washable fabric for those pieces that see a lot of use, spills or pet hair. Slipcovers require some experience with sewing; employ the help of a seasoned friend or family member if you are a beginner.

Things You'll Need

  • Muslin
  • Felt-tip marker
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Sewing machine with thread (optional)
  • Upholstery needle
  • Upholstery thread
  • Portable clothing steamer
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    • 1

      Cover the piece of furniture with muslin, cutting the muslin to fit each component of the furnishing. Pin the muslin pieces in place as you go.

    • 2

      Mark each muslin piece with a felt-tip market to denote its placement such as front, top of right arm and so forth.

    • 3

      Remove the muslin slipcover from the furniture and carefully unpin the pieces. These pieces will serve as a pattern for your slipcover.

    • 4

      Lay the upholstery fabric on a flat surface. Position the muslin pattern pieces on the fabric and pin into place.

    • 5

      Cut out the slipcover pattern

    • 6

      Pin the pieces together as directed by the notes you made on the muslin and then carefully remove the muslin pattern and set aside.

    • 7

      Sew the pattern pieces together using a sewing machine or an upholstery needle and thread. You can drape the slipcover onto the piece to help keep its shape when you hand-sew.

    • 8

      Clip off excess thread, place the slipcover onto the furniture and steam any wrinkles away using a portable clothing steamer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Because most furniture is not made up of straight lines and angles, you may have to experiment with the muslin as to how to pleat or notch and fold around corners, between the front and back of the piece and around the bottom. Additionally, seat boxing may also need to be cut narrower as you go down the back of the seat to give it a tapered look that fits closely. Make any other necessary notes on the muslin as you fit it, so you can replicate these fittings with the upholstery fabric.

  • Traditionally, slipcovers have a skirt bottom. If you want a skirt bottom, leave an extra three to five inches of muslin to drape around the bottom of the furniture’s legs.

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