Jun 26, 2009

Romancing The Slipcover!

Country Living Magazine
photo credit: Joseph De Leo

Romantique !
I’m currently having custom slipcovers for a client sewn up in a workroom I contract with. Slipcovers can be a great look, but they can be tricky at times. Along with having experience with various types of fabrics and trims that work best for slipcovers, I know my way around a sewing machine. So I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips and explain some of the intricacies of custom slipcovers.

Country Living Magazine
photo credit: Joseph De Leo

Custom and ready made slipcovers are two different animals completely, and their price reflects this. Fitted custom slipcovers are a high quality product, which are tailored to fit the piece of furniture like a glove. Semi-fitted or shabby-chic styles are looser and have a relaxed fit. Custom slipcovers are usually less expensive then a full upholstery job, but it is still an investment, so you want to get good value for your decorating dollar.


Country Living Magazine
photo credit: Joseph De Leo

Depending on who you are working with, the piece of furniture needing a cover, will either stay in your home or be brought into the workroom after it has been field measured. Sofas and chairs with straightforward lines usually can be left in the home. If the piece has an intricate silhouette it probably will need to be brought into the workroom so it can be fitted properly. One of the advantages of slipcovers is that it allows you to change out your look instantly without having to replace the furniture. Frequently, slipcovers are used on a seasonal basis with white and off-white being popular choices.


Country Living Magazine
photo credit: Joseph De Leo

When choosing fabrics it is important to pay attention to its weight and the type of fabric it is. If the fabrics are either heavy or have a rubber backing they may not be a suitable choice. If the slipcover has pleats you want them to lay flat and not flair out. 100% man-made fabrics tend to flair out, but there are exceptions. Also, if the fabric is too thick the seams will not lay flat on the furniture and will look bulky and ill fitting.

Southern Living Magazine

On the other end of the spectrum, if the fabric is thin and does not have “good body” the finished product will look limp and saggy. You can beef up a thin fabric by adding a liner, which in turn will bump up the material and labor costs considerably.

diyideas.com

You want to avoid selecting a fabric which unravels easily, because it will not hold up well to repeated washings or dry cleaning. Look for tightly woven fabric so the underlying color or background pattern will not telegraph through to the top.
If you want the ability to machine wash and dry your slipcovers you must make sure they have first been washed and dried prior to being sewn. If you plan on dry-cleaning your slipcovers this step can be eliminated.

Pottery Barn

I am including a good example of a ready made slipcover from Pottery Barn. It is a good value and the fabric is decent, but it will definitely fit looser then a custom product, unless your sofa is oversized.

Cottage Style Magazine

This sweet yellow check nightstand slipcover was to cute to pass up, so I threw it in for good measure!

71 comments:

  1. What a great assortment of examples of slip
    covers and as you pointed out less expensive
    than replacing the furniture. Good custom
    made slipcovers are well worth the investment.
    Myke

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  2. these are such beautiful examples!!! I have been playing with the idea of slip covers or full on upholstery...wow...there are a lot of pretty covers...and it would save me a LOT of work!

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  3. Super advice. I love the look of slipcovers, but I really do think they have to be fitted properly or the whole thing looks bad. Guess I am just too much of a perfectionist. Hugs, Marty

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  4. I'm a super big fan of slipcovers!!! I love the one on the bedside table. Love it!!

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  5. Thanks for all of the advice. I am actually about to make a slipcover for a chair and a sofa. My Mom has done several custom slipcovers so I am hoping for her help if I hit a snag. Thanks for the inspiration.
    DD

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  6. Oh my- how beautiful!

    Your blog looks amazing as usual.

    Laura

    Enjoyed visiting!

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  7. I have a new slip covered sofa and chaise. I love the fact that if I tire of the color, I can order a new set.

    It is the loose Pottery Barn look, but it fits in well with my casual beachy/contemporary decor.

    It sounds odd, but it works with animals and grandkids. I will have to take some new photos.

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  8. White always look so chic and elegant. It has a class of its own. Unadulterated. And slipcovers are great idea when we wish to opt for a quick change for a different look and like you said, a cheaper alternative than a full uphostered job.

    ~Silver

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  9. Slipcovers are one of the things I've yet to make an attempt at, but would love to have the courage to try! I have two chairs that really need them!!

    Thanks for the examples and info Cathy!
    Have a nice weekend!
    Sherri:)

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  10. Hi Cathy, I am so glad you found my blog so I could enjoy yours! I have been thinking about slipcovers in my living room...thanks for the education!
    ~Patti

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  11. Oh my....we do like the same things you and I!! Just now saw your note, so glad you came by,all the best,Chrissy

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  12. I am so glad you threw that last one in...it is my favorite!!! Each one is beautiful!!!

    Thanks for the information!!!

    Enjoy!!!
    XOXO
    Cathy

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  13. I'm a slipcover junkie. I love slipcovered furniture,especially the custom variety. Your photos make me want to get a couple more chairs slipcovered right away. I love the monogrammed pieces for sure!

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  14. Cathy, great post on slipcovers! I have been wanting to get a slip cover for my sofa but I have been shying away from the store bought ones. I most want a soft white (but not quite cream) soft cotton Matelasse. I just worry how it might hold up as a slipcover.

    I'm glad I stopped in! Thanks for the info!

    Tina

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  15. Cathy, that is a gorgeous variety of slipcover styles. Thanks for sharing them and all the info. I am trying to work up the courage to try to slipcover a GW chair with some free fabric. what have I got to lose? Linda

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  16. My heart just skipped a beat with these photos. I love slipcovers and they have saved me from replacing sofas for many years by just washing them. I really love how they dress up a chair. I'm thinking about trying to make one of my own for a small vanity stool I have. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  17. Thank you Cathy, for the inspiration.
    We used to have a joke about pink and green, as kids, thinking they were the awesome colors, why? I do not remember but it was fun to be reminded. PINK And GREEN
    We have always used wall covering in the kitchen and formal living room, hallways and dining room, master bedroom and bath.

    Painting rooms like the family room or library, gym and children's room made sense because I could paint a room over quicker than washing down the walls every spring: a fresh coat for a busy living space
    Great ideas, thank you for sharing with us

    Yes, we can

    ::

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  18. Beautiful slipcovers, but I am just in luv with that little tabletop slipcover! (Oh, how I wish I could sew!) Thank you for all of this fabulous inspiration. laurie

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  19. I love slipcovers too! My red sofa is from Ikea and I love the fact that they all come with your choice of a slipcover. It allows you to change things up. I really love all the slipcovered chairs you have posted on here. They are to die for...all the dressmaking details are just gorgeous!

    Thanks for following us. We are loving your blog!
    Karin

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  20. ~WOW! Cathy they are all gorgoeous!
    Love the pretty initials on the chair. :)

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  21. What a great post! Thanks for visiting Carolina Mama and for the word up on my unlinked link. :) Love your blog. Have a great day.

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  22. I do love white, and these slip covers look wonderful. I could just sink into that first, plush seat and just nod off for the rest of the weekend.

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  23. Thank you for the visit and kind comment to my blog; as I was then able to visit you in turn!
    Your blog is lovely; I will bookmark it!
    :)
    ~Becca~

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  24. Cathy your blog is absolutely beautiful.

    I love you comment 'recyle yourself.'

    Renee xoxo

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  25. Cathy, thanks so much for coming by and the warm Hello. Your blog is stunning! I love this post on slipcovers. I'm hoping to glean alot of decorating style and information from your expertise! Thanks again, come by any time.
    Debra

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  26. Hi Cathy!

    Thanks so much for coming....I'm so happy to have found your blog...I'm CRAZY about slipcovers. They just flat-out make me happy. I've made lots for my house and still have several to do.

    I'll be back to visit for sure!

    Blessings,
    Spencer

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  27. tad too frilly for my taste, but then, methinks it would be for most guys, cathy ;) lol

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  28. thanks for the great post on slipcover, i too love them...Im doning mine now in the Dr, for the summer...
    kate

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  29. Hi Wolf,
    It is always nice to have your company. My DH expressed the same sentiment. I thought it was good fun to add a touch of frivolous fluffily!
    Cathy

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  30. Wow, that is beautiful! (the whole blog is!)

    From SITS, I just became a follower. Your talent is incredible.

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  31. Slipcovers make a room warm and cozy. The slipcover out of yellow plaid makes me smile.

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  32. Cathy,
    Thanks so much for visiting me and welcoming me so warmly. I will add you to my favorites and become a follower of yours. I love your blog it's
    very informative and pretty to look at. I am also a designer but mainly focus on redesign. I love inspirational pictures and you are full of beautiful ideas. Nice to meet you and I will be back again and again......Kim

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  33. slip covers have come such a long way, haven't they? i think my poor couches are in need of some love...i wonder if slip covers would work for a sectional...hmmm...

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  34. Thanks for sharing the information. I have never really been a slipcover fan, but do need to do something about my sofa and loveseat. That project is on the very bottom of my "to do" list anyway. Thanks for visiting. I really did not need the calories, bacause it is to hot to get out and walk them off. :-)
    Glenda

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  35. Alicia,
    Regarding sectionals:
    You can either have a slipcover custom made or buy the ready made variety. Some ready made slipcover companies carry sectional slipcovers, but you are limited in the fabric selection. It also will not fit as well. If the sectional is a common size and style you will have better luck finding a ready made slipcover.
    A custom slipcover will be tailored to fit perfectly, but cost more. I suggest getting estimates for both to compare the price difference. You can then make an informed decision based on that. ~Cathy~

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  36. thanks for the advice!! i'm looking online to see where i can find ready made to fit mine...it's so hard to order online without seeing it first!

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  37. Alicia,
    If you find a slipcover possibility, order a fabric sample. This way you can see its true color, how tightly woven it is and if it wrinkles easily. Inquire if you can order just one slipcover piece so you can do a test drive. This way if it doesn’t work you can return it and you won’t be out so much for the shipping and restocking fees. Ready made it is not going to fit perfectly, but you can use safety pins or corkscrew pins to nip and tuck it in a few places. Just make sure the pins are hidden. You don’t want it overly taunt or it could cause tearing of the fabric when you sit on it. Depending on the fabric you will need to iron or steam your slipcover first. Iron on the backside so you don’t scorch it. Once the slipcover is on your piece touch it up with an iron again, using a press cloth to keep from damaging the fabric. Please keep me updated on your progress.
    Cathy

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  38. Thank you so much for sharing this info,It really is helpful.These chair with their slipcovers are just gorgeous.Those slipcovers look like they were made on the chairs.Beautiful work.
    XXOO Marie Antionette

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  39. Hello Cathy, nice post. I like those with monograms, so chic. I am a good sewer and made simple ones once, but I have cats, who walk in and out the garden ?!!! Alas, meaby in the future, in my future other dreamhouse. I like to visit you.
    Be well.
    Ariadone

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  40. Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for coming by to visit me. I really like your blog, and this post about slipcovers was fabulous. I am a HUGE fan of slipcovers and use them all over my house! I will DEFINITELY BE BACK TO SEE YOU!!

    Karen
    My Desert Cottage

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  41. Hi Cathy! I finally made it to your blog and I LOVE it!

    The slipcover for the table is adorable and I want to do that with one of mine. I have a big square coffee table in my bedroom that is in need of something just like this, so thank you.

    As for your tilt-top table, you know I'm rooting for the seashell decoupage.

    When you visited my blog you ask about the camera I use. Mine is also a Coolpix, but not a point and shoot. It is the Coolpix 4300 and is very user-friendly, it has both automatic and manual settings. If you remember the closeups I took of flowers, I simply used the closeup setting and a tripod. I take tons of pictures to make sure I get one I love. My camera is probably five years old and I'm looking to get a new one, but I have been very happy with the one I have. My son, the Tiki carver/photographer, told me the one I should get and when I remember to ask him I'll pass that on to you. If you have any questions, feel free to email, there's a link on my blog.

    Anyway, now I'm here and I will be back!

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  42. I have living room furniture which seriously needs to replaced. Unfortunately it's not in the budget but now you have me thinking about slip covers. Think I will have to look into Pottery Barn!

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  43. Oooooh VERY pretty slipcovers!!!

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  44. I love the little slipcover for the small end table in yellow checks. What a great idea for a little girls room!

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  45. Wow, beautiful!! Why don't slip covers ever look like that when I use them?! :)

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  46. Hi Cathy, Great information about slipcovers! I also enjoyed your Victorian houses post and the one about filling an empty corner (beautifully!). Your blog is gorgeous and so full of helpful information -- can't wait to explore it further.

    Thank you so much for your sweet comment on Affordable Accoutrements. You definitely made my day. Hope our paths cross again soon ...and frequently!
    Warmest regards,
    Bill

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  47. I bought a pattern set with misc slip covers recently. I am hoping to work on them soon.

    I actually really like the "head board" in that last photo. I have been trying to decide on what to do about a new head board in my bedroom & I think I may give something like that a try.

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  48. Beautiful slipcovers!! They are so restful, I wanted to sit right down and stay there....

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  49. Wonderful slipcovers. Thanks for sharing all of this. Also, thanks for the comment and becoming a follower of my blog. You are entered in the giveaway for each. I am making a list of all right now and will draw for winner. I will post by morning. good luck.

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  50. Thanks for helping me out here with slipcovers. SO much great info for one like me who is decorating challenged. I adore the little slipcover for the night table. I never thought of that. That would look so cute on my wicker tables:) Happy 4th of July and I thank you for posting about my little patriotic G-son in his hat.
    Joyce

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  51. Love those slipcovers! jen

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  52. Very informative. Thanks!

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  53. I love slipcovers. They easily change furniture without having to buy new!

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  54. Wow! What a world of information on slipcovers. Thanks so much as I am soon to have to do that. Thank you so much for taking the time to inform us! :)
    Happy July 4th to you also..
    Hugs,
    Mona

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  55. What lovely examples of romantic slipcovers. Love these! Thanks for sharing, and have a wonderful weekend! :-)

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  56. Hello, Thankyou for visiting my blog recently. I have enjoyed looking through yours, its beautiful and has some gorgeous photographs. X

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  57. Gotta have that "R" slipcover! Have a wonderful week end and a fabulous 4th!
    ~Really Rainey~

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  58. Hi Cathy!
    I just love, love, love all the pleats, and the backlaced chair slips always get to me - there is just something about them. Dreamy!
    Happy 4th!
    xo Isa

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  59. three columns now... great job, cathy :)

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  60. Hey Cathy, I hope you are having a wonderful 4th of July!! I just love all of the slipcovers you have showcased here. I also like the fact that a slipcover can completely change the look of a piece of furniture without breaking the bank. They are so durable, and really a wonderful thing!

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  61. Beautiful slipcovers. Looks fabulous and cozy.

    Have a great day.
    Regina

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  62. My GIVE AWAY will be posted by tomorrow morning-there's a peak preview of one of the items-go check it out and send everyone over to get their names in Monday morning.
    Cheri
    www.itssoverycheri.blogspot.com

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  63. Thank you for the great insights. I am considering a couple of covers for dining room chairs ---I loved the first photo.

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  64. Hi Cathy ~ I just became a follower of your blog (which I love, btw)! This post caught my eye, so it's the one I decided to comment on first. Love the explanation and the pictures you used. I have a couch that I'm going to want to get slipcovered once we down-size, so this post was of interest to me.

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  65. I wish they made slipcovers for recliner couches. I have a flexsteel that has a recliner on both ends. It is in great shape, but I have a one hole on a seat. Too expensive to cover and no slipcovers to be found.

    Willow

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  66. Too FAB for words. I like your taste.

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  67. Elizabeth Taylor follows your blog?
    The Vintage Kitten... I will check her out.
    Okay, I want slipcovers... I like the ones with the ties...I like them all, just beautiful. Romancing is the perfect name for this post.
    Lee

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  68. I so love the slipcover in the 2nd photo (country living magazine). That is exactly what I'd like for my down sofa. The box pleats are so crisp and I love the way the feet show. Such a fresh and elegant look!

    Moreover, I love the texture on the fabric! Might you know what fabric that is, or, can you recommend one that has the same look but is washable?

    Cheers!
    Tina

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  69. Hi Cathy, thanks for visiting and following my blog. You know I had to click on the slipcover button first. Great info you shared.

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  70. The whole blog is fabulous! the design,sofas, bed,everything on it is perfect!

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  71. Just beautiful thank you so much for sharing with us..

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Thank you for visiting I appreciate your comments!
Cathy