Four Fabrics–One Awesome Slipcover

Slipcovers are big jobs.  They take lots of time, lots of fabric.


For this couch cover,  my client and neighbor Pam and I went to Loomcraft Textiles in Burlington (NC)

Yea, they’re the one with the big “Free Fabric” banner on 1-85. Loomcraft sells bolt ends, seconds, discontinued fabrics.  The selection is AWESOME and so are the prices for that kind of thing. Many bolts start at $8 per yard.  There’s also a 5 dollar room where I like to hang out.


But Pam fell in love with this vintage-look barkcloth.   Because of the huge pattern that needed to be matched , there was only enough fabric  for 3 pillow fronts.  We had just enough solid for those pillow backs and the bottom cushions. Getting enough out of Pam’s third fabric, the black and taupe stripe,  was a stretch, too.  I actually used a fourth (hidden) fabric for the sofa “deck” which is under the cushions.


Yea, big job.  But BIG payoff.  Especially if you have dog(s), or kid(s).  There’s nothing like pulling those covers a couple of times a year and throwing them in the wash–

And there’s nothing like a satisfied customer (below)



Here are a few slipcovers tips if you’d like to try this at home:

  • I taught myself the basics with a good (old) book.  Seek out Sunset’s  How to Make Slipcovers and Bedspreads, by Oxmore house. The pictures are pure 70s, but the instructions are unbeatable.  (Trust me, I have a lot of books)
  • Always hold back a little fabric.  I made 30 yards of covered welt for this project.  It wasn’t enough.  Thank goodness, I’d saved a little rectangle of the stripe to create more.  The Sunset book has great instructions for cutting bias strips en mass.  From my little rectangle, I cut 14 more yards.
  • If you have a serger, use it on the raw edges BEFORE you stitch the parts together.  Otherwise, you need to zig-zag over raw edges as a final step.  It’s going to go in the wash remember–
  • And speaking of wash, do prewash and dry all your fabrics before you start sewing.  We roughed out measurements, then cut and washed.  Make sure to serge the edged if you think the fabric might fray.
  • Finally for your first slipcover, start small, a chair or footstool even.  You’ll work up to couches before you know it.

Personally, I’m ready for a slipcover break.  Anyone else with large project fatigue???



  1. C- Would be nice to see what the sofa looks like when you flip the back cushions, and how you used a different fabric for the deck. I have a loveseat chair (twin sleeper) I want to make a slipcover for but like you said, a little daunting. I really need to make a cover for my futon. Sunset does a flange like pillow sham but I’d like to make mine 2 tone so I can flip the mattress and have a different look.

    • I’ll take some photos of the reverse cushions and deck and post them.
      Re futon, can you just make it like a big duvet cover but with a zipper down on long side? That’s how I’d approach it. Let me know if you need help. C

  2. The sofa is lovely & very exciting pillow cushions. I know you enjoy the opportunity to be creative

    Thank you for sharing

  3. Oh Chris, I absolutely LOVE it. I really like the way u worked w/ the bark cloth (my favorite!). Pam is a very lucky chick. I would b so happy 2 have that couch in my home! U r amazingly creative & talented!

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