Monday, October 5, 2009

As Promised....FiNaLLy.....The Slipcover Tutorial!

Hi there sweet gals! we go ....the slipcover tutorial as promised.

She's a homely little gal....but she's gonna be a cutie!

Let me first say that I am NOT a slipcover expert, just a gal that loves popping some fabric on furniture to give it a new lease on life. :-) So, I'll explain the process the best I can.

I don't have any special equipment.... I do have a lovely sewing machine, but I don't have a serger or anything you'll be able to do this with the standard sewing items.

My first advice would be to save pictures of every single slipcover you run across. It will be helpful to look at the construction of different styles of chair and sofas.

You'll need, scissors, t-pins, straight pins, measuring tape (the sewing type) and lots and lots and lots of patience! :-)

I don't care what the fabric label says....I ALWAYS prewash my fabric at least twice. I'm making these so they can be I'm tough. I've never had a fabric bleed, but they do shrink. You wouldn't want that to happen AFTER you've gone to all that work!


This could be a great project for canvas drop cloths.....I'm soooo into those right now! If you need a lot of fabric, however, it would be impossible to match dye lots.

And, DO cut your cording fabric on the bias. You won't be able to do the curves if you don't. And, polyester cording is the easiest to's more pliable than cotton cording. :-)

The beginning piece will be the inside back of your piece of furniture. You'll measure that part from top to bottom and side to side and cut your fabric about 4-6 inches bigger than that measurement.

Spend a little bit of time putting that piece exactly as you want it onto the back of the chair. It will be right side out. Pull it snug with fabric hanging off all around. You'll need to be sure that you have plenty of fabric at the bottom, that will be your tuck in area.

You'll be making the slipcover right on your piece. There is no pattern's fairly easy if you think of your cording as your pattern.

This is where the magic happens. You've used your T-pins to attach your fabric piece to your chair. Then, you'll pin your cording to that bit of fabric.....leaving the ends long enough if you're going to be running that portion down the chair or sofa. This is where the pictures you've saved will come in handy. You'll know if you're going to add a skirt or whatever past this bit and will need to extend your cording.

Carefully remove the t-pins and sew this piece of cording to your back piece.

See the cording extending beyond the bottom?

This is where it gets exciting. You'll be surprised at how simple it is.

Carefully put the piece you've just completed back onto the chair. This will be with the right side facing the chair. T-pin it to the chair.

Now you're going to cut the second piece. Again, 5-7 inches bigger than the actual measurement (side to side and top to bottom).

Carefully pin that to the first piece then remove it to sew it together.

Turn it right side out and pop that finished bit back on your chair and let out a big WHOOOOPPPEEEEEEEEEEE!

It's like MAGIC!!

It actually looks like "something" now! You'll be so proud.

This is where the little tuck-in part comes in. I think you can see how that's going to work now?

I'm sure hoping I'm making sense here. :-)

Next up.....the deck.

You won't be sewing this to the back piece yet.

Cut that piece for the seat again about 5-7 inches bigger than the seat measurement.

Pin it carefully to the seat with t-pins. Pin your cording to that piece with straight pins and whip it off to sew it together.

Now, this bit is a bit tricky, but you can do it! Mistakes get hidden in the little crevice at the back so don't worry too much.

The back piece is on right side out. The bottom piece is on right side out. You'll carefully make yourself a little seam with the raw bits tucked inside. It just makes it easier...I wish I could explain that better.

Yikes.....this is the part where I pull my hair out. You won't do this part on a cushioned chair, so I actually think they're lots easier. This is the finesse part. I wanted the cording on the right to come over to the cording on the left which goes downward. You'll need to fuss and play with it a bit. Remember, you can snip to make the fabric cooperate, but be careful not to clip it too short!

Pin it carefully and sew that baby up.

I tried to get a better picture of this, but I just couldn't do it. I hope you can get the idea.

Some people simply glue the raw edge of the cording fabric, but that's not my choice. Feel free to do that if you like though.

I cut one end of my cord down into the fabric. Meaning, the cording is hiding down there, the seam is open for about an inch and there's a bit of fabric leftover. I cut the other end down flat. Then I fold the longer end over leaving a bit of fabric and tuck that raw bit down inside.

Yeah, I know that didn't really make sense....I'm sure hoping you can understand what I meant.

Like I said....I ain't no teacher! :-)

Next is the box that goes around the bottom......sometimes you'll want this part and sometimes you may not. You can attach a ruffled skirt without this piece, but usually I like's your choice.

You'll do this with the entire slipcover on the chair, inside out. Measure around the chair leaving a bit of a seam allowance and stitch it together. It's starting to look like something, isn't it?

Oh're going to be so excited!

You can finish it up at this point by hemming the bottom if you're not a skirt kind of gal, but I always add a little something. Nothing minimalist about me!

I've used tiny little ruffles, pleats or a long ruffle. It's all up to you.

I always go back and zig-zag all the seams. I want these to be able to be washed regularly....

Ta Da!

This is the part where you'll get goose bumps and thank Jesus for seeing you through.

It is a challenge, but you can do it. Take your time........measure twice and cut once.

Think ahead a little bit so you can be sure you're leaving enough fabric or cording to attach your next piece to.

Ok my sweets!

Go out and zip yourself up a slippie!

I think it's easier to fit them snugly, but you might want yours sort of sloppy....that's good too.....just plan on leaving more fabric.

Big, huge huggies and lovies.....



  1. Hello precious! You are like patience on a monument! I could never trust myself to try this, although I have 3 chairs that could use this treatment!!! JOB WELL DONE! Love, Anita

  2. Wonderfully done Spencer... easy to follow and very inspiring...Nice to know where to come when I'm in a pinch!!!! xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  3. That chair turned out so well. I love being able to make slipcovers. It gives me so much freedom to buy upholstered furniture with a great shape and ugly fabric. I'm self-taught, so it's nice to see a slightly different method. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  4. My brain can't sew without extreme exertion so I admire you girls who can do it! ♥

  5. Okay. I am going to do this. You are leaving this up, right? I won't be able to start until January and then I have 6 dining room chairs, two sofas, three regular chairs, a headboard and lots of pillows and cushions. Believe it or not, I think I have collected enough fabric to do it. I'd better buy stock in cording, though. Thanks so so much for the tutorial.

  6. Yeah for slipcover tutorials!!! You were an excellent if only I knew how to sew :) I'm going to show this to my mom, who is my resident sewer...this is the best! And the chair looks FABULOUS!

    :) T

  7. Oh, Spencer! This slipcover turned out so beautifully! I would love to try this and you've pushed me a little more into trying. Your instructions are good. You're good at this!
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  8. Great job on the upholstery. Thanks for sharing how to do it. I have learned so much from the blog world. I like the fabric you used...Sally

  9. Great tutorial. YOurs looks just wonderful. I havn't done any slipcovers, but I think I could do this. Thanks for all the instructions. Hugs, Marty

  10. Good morning Spencer, oh much work, especially doing a tutorial, love it. Thank you so much for sharing, Rita

  11. Hi Spencer,
    WOW !! This turned out fabulous !! You make it look sooo easy !! You are a teacher !! Great pics as well ... Hoping your day is a blessed and happy one..
    hugs ~tea~xo

  12. Wish I was there in person watching you while you create. You made it look so easy......Char

  13. Cool! Now all I need is the chair! Thanks for doing this! I love your chair!
    Hugs, Lisa

  14. you did such a good job, i will try, but, i don't think i have that much talent, thanks for sharing

  15. You make it look so easy, Spencer! I do not like sewing and don't do it well...wish I did.

  16. It's lovely! But forget're hired. My sewing machine and I are doing the silent treatment at the moment.

  17. Oh Spencer!! Girl you ROCK!!! All I need to do now is find me a homely chair for my bedroom!! I need a cozy spot to sit and read!!! I think I spied this chair and a half for only $15 at a thrift shop! Think I could do it? It's a bit different! I'll let you know if I get it! Thanks for taking the time to do this and all of your great tips!!
    Have a blessed evening!!
    Love and hugs,

  18. It sounds like a hard project for me..but you sure did a nice looking job. It looks so professional.
    PS...I love your name, it's so darn cute!!

  19. Fabulous! The chair looks so much better and you mke it look easy.

  20. Spencer, You made that look easy but I'm not so sure I have your patience. That chair looks spectacular but the rest of my hair might turn white if I'd try to do that. LOL

    Hugs, Gretchen

  21. I just love how that turned out. The skirt is adorable. :) I'm so envious of people who can sew and do things with fabrics.

  22. Hello Dearheart...

    Just read your sweet note and had to come right's been too long since we've visited! How are you doing, Darlin'?

    Girl, you won't believe what I've just spent the entire day doing...slipcovers! heard me right! Do great minds think alike or what? Hehe! Ohh...I wished that I had seen your fabulous slip cover tutorial earlier! It's soooo good...your instructions are wonderful! Ohhh...and that little chair with its new slip cover...stunning!!! It's so pretty, Spencer!!!

    Well I must admit, I cheated with my slip covers! I have been wanting to slip cover my dining room chairs for sometime now...for more of a formal look. I found really beautiful (brand new) slipcovers at a local antique store...they were only $12 and beautiful fabric! Only catch...they didn't fit right so I took seams apart and redid them! Just got them finished and sat down for a break! They turned out fine but after seeing your pretty slip cover, I wished that I would have just made them myself! sure that I'll be using your tutorial in the future!!! What a talented lady you are, Darlin'!!! Thank you so much for doing this tutorial for us...I know it couldn't have been easy, but I for one, sure do appreciate it!!!

    Warmest wishes,

  23. Hey Spencer; That was a great how to slip cover... I even think I could do one.... now I just need a love how yours turned out.. so very pretty.... thanks for showing us how... have a great nite.


  24. Since I can't sew I see only terrible issues & frustrations beyond my imagination .... BUT ... sweet Spencer, you did an AWESOME job! I can't believe the transformation, it is beautiful, the fabric is gorgeous ... WHOA! WOW! You are very talented. I am highly impressed!

    Have a warm snuggly eve, my special friend. Hugs, TTFN ~Marydon

  25. Very cool Spencer!! You are gifted. I would love to be able to do that!! XOXO jules

  26. It looks so beautiful, but I'm afraid it's way beyond my skills. I hope someone else out there can benefit from your instruction because it's such a great project. Have a loveleigh night!

  27. wow! i'm so impressed, it's beautiful! great tute!

  28. What a GRAND tutorial! I am bookmarking this! I have kind-of winged it before...this is MUCH better!

    Thanks again!

  29. Beautiful, Spencer! i ma not a seamstress...sewing just makes me nervous. I used to do it all the time before my kids were born, after that I lost my love and patience for it. You have done a beautiful job here!

  30. Hi Spencer, WOW I am totally impressed and in awe over your chair. You did a fantastic job! And your tutorial was excellent. I will have to bookmark this page!
    Thank you so much for the "shout out" and the side bar link to the give-away. What a sweetie you are and just soooo funny! Hope you're having a great week!

  31. Well, you really knocked that one out of the park! It is lovely!

    I also wanted to let you know that you won our give-away over at Flea Market Style. Please email us with your full name and mailing address, and Ki will send you your prize.

  32. Oh my goodness...this turned out beautifully!!! I could never even think of making are so talented!!!


  33. You did a great job but it still looks like a lot of work, honey! I do love what you did with that chair though. Just gorgeous!

  34. I am in awe. And, I can assure you that I would never be able to accomplish this. Needles don't like me. ;-)

  35. Now I'm the one laughing. You made it look sooo easy. I've been wanting to make a skirted slip to cover my ladderback dinning chairs, top included. I know I've already complicated things by choosing a ticking stripe...Ha ha ha, I'm sure the joke will be on me!

  36. I just stumbled across your blog and feel right at home :O) GREAT tutorial, I'll be needing it this winter when we re-do the dining room...I'm a new follower!
    peace. cindy
    (ps...pop over when you get a chance, I'm having my first ever in the world giveaway)

  37. Spencer... it's just amazing what some pretty fabric and a skilled hand can do for a little chair in need of some TLC. Thanks for the tutorial! Now if I can just find the patience, I think I can do it too!

  38. Spencer, honey, you read my mind!!! I can't believe how adorable that slip is! Oh, I'm so excited. I've watched slipcover ladies cut and piece my chairs over the years, but I've never tried it. Now, I need to slipcover a little loveseat I want to move to another room. I am going to use white cotton duck or something like that.

    Oh, Spencer, this gives me hope that I can do this! I hope, I hope! I don't have a machine so it will take me a loooooooooong time, but I like to sew by hand.


    Sheila :-)

  39. Spencer darlin'! HOW NICE of you to show your daughter my world! Oh how I wish you could visit this place. It really is a magical corner of the midwest. You are so, so kind and sweet dearest Spencer! I am sure your daughter is just as beautiful as you! Have a blast of a Thursday! Bisous, Anita

  40. Wow! Beautiful job. You are one talented lady.

  41. Hi Spencer. First I have to tell you what a cool name you have, I always wished for a name like that when I was young. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving me such a very kind comment!! Always a delight to "meet" new people. I was reading your profile and say that, anyone who loves the movie, White Christmas is my kind of gal!! It is one of my all time favorites and I have seen it more times then I care to count. Hope you are having a good day. I will be back again. warmly, debby

  42. Wonderful tutorial, Spencer. Is there any way I could pay you to make me some? LOL!!

    I guess I'll have to give this a try if I want slipcovers for my dining room chairs. You've made it look so easy! Jumping in with both feet!


  43. Your slipcovers are darling! You did such a lovely job. I'm still a little intimidated though....


  44. Fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. Your finished product looks fabulous.
    Thanks for the tip you left on my blog regarding the drop cloths.

  45. Fabulous tutorial! You are so talented to be able to do turned out beautifully! Love the fabric you chose!

  46. Hi Spencer:
    I've made a few slipcovers, improvising as I've never actually learned to make one according to the rules. Your tutorial is perfect and so is your slipcover. Thanks for sharing!

  47. wonderful !!! exactly what i needed .. I need to practice first ;) thank you so very much for sharing such a wonderful tutorial

  48. You did a great job of explaining your technique. The finished product is beautiful! I particularly appreciated the tip about polyester cording versus cotton. I never would have thought of it. Good Job!!

    Susan and Bentley

  49. I think you are so clever!
    Great job explaining everything!


  50. You are so talented!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  51. What a sweetie you are to put this tutorial together ! It looks great..

  52. You make it look so easy! I know it's not (for me anyways). This is just beautiful, love it.

  53. Beautiful slipcover! I'm trying to learn to do some slipcovers, I am a little confused....Hopping around the net, with different tutorials, lessons and such. Some say. do it directly on the piece with the RIGHT side of the fabric upside down, and others say just the opposite (Right side out)?? How do I know which way is best? thanks! Margaret

  54. Spencer...thanks for the tutorial...I have always wanted to give this a try! THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Donna

  55. Hi Spencer,
    Thanks for stopping by Monkey Grass Hill. I am more impressed with your slipcovers. SO well done. This is something I've been wanting to learn, so thank you! I'll be back to really do it once I find another chair (that needs a slip:))


  56. Wow, Spencer!!!!!!!!!! You made that look so easy....which I know it wasn't....and it looks gorgeous and very very professional!! I would love to try it! I will have to come back! Oh my, that is so lovely!

    Hugs, Carolyn ~ Cottage Sunshine

  57. Hi Spencer
    Happy Sunday! Love the music....
    This chair turned out great! I love it...

  58. Now these are instructions I can follow. You make it seem very easy but I know it took some patience. I have an ottoman I want to slipcover and I am going to try your way. First time visitor and I will be back. Drop by my blog I am hosting a giveaway in celebration of my 100th follower. Kathy


Sweet and dear little Chickies....thank you so much for your comments. I read each and every one. I always try to make a return visit........sometimes I fail miserably... but you're alllll soooo special to me!

Many, many hugs!