Rescue or revitalize your tired, dirty old sofa by using slipcovers. Slipcovers are cheaper alternatives to buying a new sofa or reupholstering your current one. However, buying sofa slipcovers is not necessarily cheap, especially if you want the high-end materials used. If you make your own sofa slipcovers you will save a lot of money.
Things You'll Need
Muslin cloth or paper pattern
Fabric (washable and durable)
Scissors or dressmaker shears
Tailor's chalk or marker
Measure the sofa. Find the lowest point and measure from there to the highest point. Then measure the width. To determine how much fabric in yards you will need, multiply the height by two (hx2) and the width by four (wx4) then divide the total by 36. Formula: (hx2)+(wx4)/36 = y . Alternatively check at a local upholstery fabric store for a cheat sheet, most (including Calico Corner) have yardage measurements for every sofa shape and size.
Purchase muslin cloth and sofa fabric. Buy extra, preferably multiply the yardage by two to have some extra fabric for making decorative pillows, for covering cushions or future use.
Make a pattern. Use a muslin cloth or pattern paper to use to create the pattern for the sofa slipcover. Muslin cloth is better than paper because it can be draped over and would not tear or rip apart when putting around the arms or corners. Drape the muslin cloth starting at the back of the sofa going down to the back bottom part. As you drape the muslin, put some pins to hold it in place. Use a tailor's chalk to mark areas along the corners and the bottom part where you will make a cut. Make sure to add about 2 inches for the bottom hem.
Drape the muslin cloth to the front of the sofa, starting from the tip of the back cushion going towards the front bottom. Make sure that you give extra allowance for tucking in and for the bottom hem. For tucking give at least 3 inches and for the bottom front hem add 2 inches. Place fabric pins to hold the fabric in place and mark with a tailor's chalk along the corners and bottom part where you will make the cut.
Drape the muslin cloth around the sofa arms. Put pins to hold them in place. Give 1 inch of seam allowance, then mark it off with a chalk. For rolled arms, make sure to use separate muslin cloth for the rolled arms and another piece for the lower side of the sofa. If the arms are straight and not bulky, you may be able to use one piece of muslin cloth. Pin them in place, mark the areas where you will cut later on which should include a 1 inch seam allowance.
Cut along the marked and pinned areas. Use a sharp dressmaker shears or scissors and cut the muslin in place for better result. Remove the cut pieces one by one.
Prepare the sofa fabric. Pre-wash the fabric to avoid shrinkage after sewing.
Lay the sofa fabric on a flat surface. Invert the fabric whereby the part that has design will be facing down and the raw side is facing up. For starters, use a plain colored fabric, avoid too much pattern or design so as not to have problems matching the designs when connecting or sewing the fabric together.
Lay the muslin cloth or paper pattern cut-outs on top of the fabric. Cut the patterns on the fabric.
Put the pieces together, one at a time, then sew using a sewing machine. You can add cords for piping to finish off or strengthen the connections. Hem the bottom edge.
Turn the finished sofa slipcover inside out and then try it on for size.
Sew the decorative pillow covers as well as cushions if needed.
Keep the muslin cloth or paper pattern for future sofa slipcover projects. This will save you considerable time. Choose sofa fabric that is durable and machine washable for longevity and easy maintenance.