cushions · Slipcovers

Bull Denim Slipcovers

Carolyn drove a long way to bring me her Ethan Allan couch, chair and ottoman. Though in perfect condition structurally, the fabric was showing signs of wear and needed some attention. She wanted a new casual look and definitely liked the idea of washing the covers to keep them fresh and clean.

Bull Denim is a classic favorite go-to fabric for slipcovers. But you don’t have to settle on just white or off white. It comes in an array of colors like Vermilion (red), Rattan (light gold), Creamy Ivory, Lizard (green), Harbor Mist (light blue gray), Golden Curry, Fossil (taupe/light brown), Fern, Dusk blue, Chestnut, Black Bean, Brown, White, Light Gray, Charcoal Gray. My client chose Vanilla from Big Duck Fabrics. It’s a buttery cream color in a hefty weight. At 12 ounces, this twill fabric is especially perfect for a slipcover if you need to cover a print underneath.

Most bull denims are 100% cotton and though they may say “preshrunk”, you will still need to prewash it before sewing to remove any remaining shrinkage. Just be sure to do this in 3-4 yard segments as this fabric is very heavy.

Her new slipcovers would feature cording on the back following the curves and current cording on the back of the couch, a new line of cording following the curve of the arm construction to keep it simple and avoid lots of pleating and shifting. A placket zipper back with corded Velcro bottom finishes off this transformation.

This creamy Vanilla color is a perfect base for any season. Just add your favorite seasonal colors and textures through different pillows and throws for a whole new look.

Slipcovers

Chairs and Cats

This was a fun project with a specific purpose other than updating an old piece of furniture. Often times slipcovers are used to give new life to old pieces of furniture. In this case, my client wanted (needed) a solution to preserve and protect her beautiful dining room chairs upholstery that her beloved cats started to use as their scratch post. When I arrived her chairs were completely covered in beach towels to protect them.

There were a few things that were important to Rachele when creating new covers. First, she wanted to keep the color and texture of the fabric about the same as her original upholstery. Secondly, she wanted to still show as much of the wood of the chairs as possible. And lastly, the covers needed to be washable with three little kids. Rachele actually gave birth to her last son during this process.

Fabric

For the fabric we used the same fabric from Big Duck Canvas I used for the couch and a pair of arm chairs I recently slipcovered, a cotton/rayon blend in a natural oatmeal color. I prewashed it to remove any shrinkage. Initially it wrinkles a bit, but nothing a little steam can’t handle.

Big Duck Canvas Cotton Rayon Blend in Oatmeal

Design

In designing the covers for these chairs we decided to make two piece slipcovers so if just the seat cover needs to be cleaned, she wouldn’t have to remove the top piece. Less to iron and wash! For the top, we used side tabs that allows for a removable but a tight fit option. It is secured to the chair with Velcro tabs that not only fit with the design but are pretty much hidden for their function. I lined the tops to cover all the seams providing a cleaner finished look.

The two captains chairs required a slightly adjusted design to work around the arms so that it could still be removable. Arm pads secured with Velcro under the arms finishes off the slipcovers and completely covers and protects the original chair’s upholstery.

The bottoms basically just covered the seat and Velcro around the legs, edged with a light self cording.

The overall look is simple, clean, and functional and hits all the criteria Rachele was looking for. Much better look than beach towels.

cushions · Slipcovers

Slipcovers for a State of Transition

My client Jenny is in that familiar state of transition.   You know, the time where your kids have all but left the nest and pursuing a life of their own but you’re too young to retire just yet.  Currently in a townhome, they do envision this a temporary place until the next phase.   Even then, they wanted to update and freshen it up to enjoy it themselves before any resale in the future.   My sentiments exactly.  Why wait until you are ready to sell before updating!  Been there, done that.  Do it now so you can enjoy it, keeping in mind what is timeless and sellable.

In addition to the typical repainting and kitchen updates, their furniture needed a bit of a refresh as well.  They had a heavy, comfortable and still functional couch, arm chair and ottoman that fit there space just fine and they wanted to repurpose instead of buying something new at this point. The textured chenille couch was a dated gold tone and the microfiber on the arm chair and ottoman were worn smooth in spots.   

Prep Work

The couch, arm chair and ottoman all required a bit of prep work before construction of the new slipcovers.  Did you know that on attached back cushions there is a zipper on the bottom so you can remove the cushion insert? FYI, if your cushions are looking a bit flat or squishy, you can remove the inserts and refill them to give them more fluff. Check out The Slipcover Makers tutorial on how to do this yourself. With Jenny’s permission, I removed the back cushions and made templates with the old cushions to make new loose cushions.  This was a first for me and I felt a little intimidated to cut off the existing cushions, but I followed some awesome instructions and all went well.  The Slipcover Maker has a great tutorial on this process.  I also cut off the skirt on the couch and stapled the skirts on the chair and ottoman to the bottom wood of the chair to reduce bulk so they would not interfere with the new skirts.  With the newly deconstructed furniture I was ready to tackle the slipcovers.

Arm Chair

For the armchair, Jenny chose a high performance, linen-look, washable fabric called Phoenician from Revolution Fabrics in a Toast color.  It compliments the fabric she chose for her couch and the rug and other chair she has in her living room.   A pair of arm covers will help extend the life of the slipcover and reduce the need to remove the entire slipcover should the arms get soiled.  But lets face it, in a house without kids full time, it shouldn’t need to be cleaned often.

Ottoman

In addition to stapling the skirt to the wood base of the ottoman, I converted the pillow top ottoman to a solid ottoman by add a layer of batting and a muslin slip slipstitched to the piping.   The end result is a clean and simple ottoman with a slipcover that can be easily removed and laundered. 

Couch

Jenny chose an oatmeal colored cotton/rayon blend from Big Duck Canvas .  This fabric definitely required prewashing in order to preshrink it for any future washing.  It did wrinkle a bit but nothing an iron and a little spray starch or steam can work out. The back featured two zipper panels that line up with the bottom pleats to make it easier to take on and off yet still allow for a tight fit. The final result is a more casual updated sofa to give them a few more years.

I always try to learn something new from my projects. After tackling the removal of the attached back pillows, I am inspired to try this on my own gray microfiber couch and loveseat for a fresh update sometime in the near future. 

Crafty Things · Slipcovers

Sunroom Makeover

The sunroom of this repeat customer just underwent a makeover, piece by piece.  A couple of years ago I slipcovered the little yellow slipper chair in the bottom right corner, along with two yellow accent pillows.  Recently she had a couple of chair cushions recovered for her sunroom.  They went from a faded red stripe cushion to a taupe/gray buffalo check.  We also replaced the crumbling foam to give them new life.

It’s a nice balance between farmhouse and a classic modern trend.   With the new cushions and the yellow slipper chair complete her loveseat felt a little left out still in it’s red stripe. 

Toni and her husband decided to go with a solid stone-washed canvas in a charcoal grey.   This beefy heavy weight canvas from Big Duck Canvas was prewashed to get out any remaining shrinkage.  Because it is a blend it also did not wrinkle very much at all.

Design details included a French style seam on the back of the chair and cushions.  The width of the fabric was over fifty-five inches, the length of home decorating fabric.   So this decision was partly due to that and partly due to a design factor. It was just enough to break up the gray and give it some interest.

A skirt on the bottom of the loveseat with similar pleats covers the existing pleated skirt.  A placket-concealed zipper in the center of the back allows Toni to easily remove and wash the slipcover.

We had just enough leftover buffalo check fabric to create a couple of small throw pillows to tie into to two side wicker chairs.   Toni wanted a big bulky zipper on the back that was not concealed.  In fact she wanted to have it be part of the design.

  I chose a creamy white colored coat zipper with metal teeth and stitched it so that it showed on the charcoal colored back of the pillow. A fun little tassel finished the look (it looks green in this photo, but I promise it is gray).   Sometimes it is all about the details.  Now she has a beautiful sunroom that exudes a calmness with the gray loveseat, a little break and interest with the buffalo check cushions and the  just the right amount of yellow to warm things up just in time for the warm weather.  Do you have a favorite color that draws you in?

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