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.
When I picked up this rocker chair from my client’s house to begin work on it, a sweet little girl was curiously laying on it in the hallway where it waited for me to pick up. She told it me it used to be hers when she was a baby (I think she is about seven now). She thought I was going to draw on it to make new fabric and thought that it should be a dog print. Hmmm. Well, I can’t draw but I can make a slipcover and it’s not quite a dog print, but it is a wild one!
My client is drawn to a neutral pallet of whites and creams, so when she decided to stretch a bit and went with an animal inspired print that had a little bit of wild influence, I was pleasantly surprised. This fabric is from Revolution Fabric, a performance fabric called Magnet in a teal color. It actually looks more like a teal tone of a gray….which you could say is a form of a neutral. It will add a fun pop of color and interest wherever she put it. It has a rub rating of 30,000 and is washable!
The lines of this wingback rocker chair remained the same, with a white piping to break up the print and show the beautiful wing arm curves. We decided to keep the bottom corded and velcro’d to the bottom of the chair. I sometimes like to use a solid color for the seat decking to make it easier to see where the placement of the slipcover goes and to break up the busy pattern. For even more versatility and when she is done rocking the newest baby, she can replace the rocker legs with regular legs that she just happens to have and the finish of the chair will not be affected. I think the cleaner simple look of a corded bottom is perfect for this fabric.
What a better way to update this solid chair that clearly still held strong emotions to this little girl. It went from a heavy linen fabric that had years of stains and most recently cat scratches and dog chews. But that is life! I think this little girl thinks the chair will go back in her room, but I think mom has plans to use it for baby #3 but with a fun updated look.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This wing chair sat quietly in the corner of this client’s living room, unnoticed except for the fact that it was clearly didn’t fit into the décor and color scheme, though it filled the need to fill a space. My client was in the midst of updating a lot of elements of her home and also preparing for a high school graduation. This was the one piece of furniture that begged immediate attention. Her husband would rather have gotten rid of it, but Anne Marie had another idea. I helped her find the right lightweight cotton blend fabric that would work well with the navy blue and white trimmed living room furniture and the white and greige kitchen you could see from that corner of the room where the chair was designated.
We kept the design the same as the original chair but with a bluish gray contrast cording to emphasize the curviness of the chair. The bottom of the slipcover Velcro’s to the bottom of the chair to give this newly slipcovered chair the appearance of an upholstered piece of furniture. I refurbished the cushion by adding another inch of foam to the existing cushion along with new cushion wrap. Can you see the difference?
If you are considering using a patterned fabric for your project, be sure to figure in extra fabric to pattern match. This fabric had a repeat of the pattern both vertically and horizontally. What is this exactly? It is the distance in inches of where the pattern starts and ends and then starts over again.
Contrast cording emphasizes the curves
Hidden zipper in back panel
I try to match the flow of the design from front to back, from the top of the chair onto the cushion and from the cushion onto the bottom of the chair, as well as the boxing around the cushion (at least on the front where you will see it). Curves and angles of chair can make this challenging if not impossible in certain areas but it is just one of those little details that I won’t skimp on to give the finished piece a professional look.
The end result of this chair got a thumb’s up and approval from the husband. That is always a plus!
My client had what looked like two very different chairs. Obviously they had different fabric. But one had a skirt and one had a corded bottom. They also had different top pillows so they really looked like different chairs.
But once I took measurements it became clear that these were inherently the same chair. What a perfect opportunity to take two different chairs and make a new set of chairs to place in the same room. In order to do this we would use the same fabric, put a skirt on both chairs, and change the pillows to the same style.
June wanted something that looked like a linen but was reasonably priced. We found this 12 oz cotton/rayon blend from Big Duck Canvas in an oatmeal color. I see more slipcovers in my future with this fabric.
Typically I recommend you prewash your natural fibers fabric to take out any shrinkage in case you want to wash your slipcover in the future. This fabric shrinks about an 1″ on a yard (10-12%). Washed, this fabric has a more textured look rather than the polished sheen of the prewashed fabric and irons beautifully. However, June opted for the more polished look and did not want it washed. Dry cleaning is recommended in this case to prevent shrinkage.
What a remarkable difference and perfect update a slipcover made on these two chairs and ottoman. These chairs just jumped decades into 2019.
It’s been a crazy busy couple of months and May is looking about the same. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love working with fabric, repurposing and transforming your (and my) pieces. Thank you everyone for being environmentally conscious and not just throwing away your still good furniture. I’m a little behind on blogging on all my projects but hope to catch up soon.
I always think it’s neat when I describe a paint or fabric color by the feeling it gives me or something it reminds me of and then find out that the name of that paint color or fabric color is actually called something very similar. I’m sure this isn’t a coincidence.
By looking at this twenty year old eggplant colored loveseat you would think it’s seen better days. The fabric has a few rips in places and the print and color are dark and busy. But all you have to do is sit for a second on this loveseat and you will know why my client decided she had to give it an update.
Loveseat before in floral eggplant
original topstitched finish
The foam seat cushions have a down pillow top and bottom. Ooo-la-la. It’s so soft and comfortable. The back pillows needed just a little refresh with some poly-fill, but that’s it.
Natalie wanted to pull the colors together in her sitting room by finding a color similar to her window treatments, the print in her side chair and an accent color in her rug. She was looking for something with texture, neutral and easy to care for. We found the perfect shade of creamy buttery yellow from Revolution Fabrics called Grande Butter. Coincidence? I think not.
Though this high performance fabric is not “washable” like a slipcover would typically be, it is removeable for cleaning if needed. Revolution fabrics are inherently stain resistant and can be spot cleaned for most stains and if need be can even be bleached without damaging the fabric or stripping the color.
The original loveseat had a very relaxed, uncorded, topstitched cushions but Natalie wanted to go for something a bit more structured looking and so opted to go with cording in the same color, to outline the chair and cushions.
Arm covers for added protection
A set of arm covers to protect the arms, a couple of updated throw pillows and you have a “new” loveseat that pulls together the whole room.
What an impressive makeover and my client and her husband were thrilled!
I wish I could make decisions as quickly as my client Jacqueline can. She says it’s out of necessity and time. It has also been said that your first choice or instinct is usually the best one and we often way over think things. I know I do. Sometimes we just want to go out of our comfort zone and pick something that is not what we would normally pick but afraid to take the leap for fear we will have regrets. Choosing the right fabric for your slipcover project can feel like that especially because of the investment you are about to make.
Jacqueline was getting ready to move into a new house and as you do, you look at your furniture and try to see what will work in the new space and what wouldn’t. She dropped off two very different chairs that she’s had for a while but still were comfortable.
She knew she could find a corner or space in her new home but not in the condition they were in…dated red checked rocker and a worn golden toned tapestry chair. She quickly chose a print from Revolution Fabric, called Tangle. Jacqueline had a great instinct on this fabric because the finished product turned out great with this neutral tone-on-tone design that is a nice combination of sass and elegance.
To break up the pattern and to draw attention to some of the lines on the chair she opted for a solid tan fabric called Slipcover Twill also from Revolution Fabric. A simple corded bottom velcro’ed to the bottom of the chair, and a placket covered zipper allows for a neat, tight fit that looks upholstered but is easy to take off.
This particular fabric is washable, bleachable and dries in ten minutes, if you can believe it.
For the rocker, she picked a complimenting linen-looking high performance fabric from Revolution Fabric called Hailey. She wanted the same color of piping on the rocker as the chair and I think it was the perfect choice.
You could easily have picked a creamy white piping to understate it, but I like the fun bold look of the darker contrast and it ties in nicely to the other chair as well. A corner pleated skirt and side zipper complete this rocker and give it a fresh clean look that will fit where ever she wants in their new home.
If you are wondering where to start with fabric selection, check out my suggestions on preferred fabrics and then start looking at these different sources. I’m also available for a complimentary in-home consultation. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, follow you instinct and go a little wild. Remember, in the end, it’s what you love that matters.
A couple of years ago I purchased these fixer upper stools from the “Joyous Junque” yard sale at the Catholic Church in Moneta Virginia. I think I paid $20 a piece for them, my small part of the over $50,000 they raise and donate to various charities annually (click link above to read their incredible story). They definitely needed work but I saw potential and at the very least they would serve a purpose until I could get something else for my kitchen bar area.
The first thing I did was spray them with bleach water, hose them down and cut off the nasty dirty vinyl flamingo pink cushions. I wanted to be sure to start with a clean slate. I took a wire brush and scraped away any loose pieces. After drying in the sun, I spray painted them with a creamy white. Spray paint was the way to go to make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. A few paint cans and a sore trigger finger later, I was ready to make new cushions.
First I made a template of the seat taking in to account the curved back and cut around the front legs. I traced the template onto my 2” foam and cut it with my handy dandy electric knife. Fun fact…I used to work at J.C. Penney when we first got married in the houseware department. I bought it for next to nothing for our first Thanksgiving together and used it for 35 years! It has now been designated for my foam projects.
I was pretty happy with they way they turned out but in true ‘Denise’ fashion, I got bored with them and wanted to change them up again. A few blog posts ago I talked about Inspiration and how you never know when or where it will strike. Well, this past year I binged a bit on the Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie”. What does this have to do with my stools, you say? Well, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) live in a gorgeous beach house in La Jolla, CA. She had these slipcovered stools that I just loved and I thought, well, I can do something like that! So that became my next inspiration for phase two of these repurposed stools.
I decided on this high performance fabric from Revolution, called Beauchamp. It is washable, bleachable, lightweight but provides good coverage and drapes wonderfully. It was also so easy to sew and work with. My biggest challenge was creating the template to fit the stools and match up the stripes. The extra time spent on making the template paid off and the fabric had enough give for me to be able to match up the stripes without too much trouble and they drape perfectly. To help the covers stay in place, I sewed two ties into the back seat seam allowance that tie to the back to side posts. Invisible.
I absolutely love the way they turned out! I guess the true test will be when my grandkids are back and they crawl up and down. See, there is still some life in these old discarded stools.
I can definitely tell it’s January. Once everything is neatly put away for the next ten to eleven months for Christmas, things are looking a little stark. With this clean slate, you start to reimagine a space and want to fill it with something new. Everyone is thinking about refreshing, renewing and (applaud)…repurposing.
Before Christmas I picked up this beautiful and comfortable second-hand chair from a client that she found for a steal. It could definitely slide into any decor with its creamy solid fabric that was still in excellent condition with very little wear or soiling. But sometimes you just want a little more. That’s where I come in. Emily didn’t have to think too hard about what fabric she wanted. She had already used this “Fawn” printed fabric from Hobby Lobby on some dinette chairs seat cushions.
It washes beautifully with very few wrinkles so if need be, she can remove it, wash it and slip it back on. The print and color fit perfectly into her beautiful neutral color scheme that is throughout the main level of her home.
This chair had a couple of questionable design elements to consider, the large scrolled arms and the attached back cushion. My client wanted to keep the casual look of the arms so I created a slipcover with tucks around the arm curve and with the help of self-cording, followed the flow of the side.
The other challenge was what to do with the attached back. I had two options. 1. Detach the pillow case, leaving a fabric hole in the back, though it would be covered with the slipcover. 2. After removing the pillow case with stuffing (did you know that there is a zipper on the bottom?), flatten the case and tuck into the back. I decided to start with the second option to see if that would work so if she ever wanted to back to the original fabric, she could easily do it. And it did.
Finishing the chair with a corded bottom really leaves the chair looking like it’s been reupholstered but with the flexibility for change and cleaning.
When I brought the chair back to Emily’s house this week, she had a space all ready for it where the Christmas tree had been. Once placed it was like it was always meant to be there and gave the corner of the room a subtle punch of personality. The nice thing is that she could still slide this chair into any corner of her house and it would look great and fit right in with her design.
Do you have a piece that you have been putting off updating? If you are wondering if it is a good candidate for a slipcover, I would be happy to help you decide.