3. If the width of your furniture is wider than your fabric, don’t use a center seam. Center one width of fabric and add equal amounts of fabric on either side.
5. Trim your seams. As you sew on piping or sew new sections of fabric onto your slipcover, trim off the excess fabric or it will be bunchy.
7. Always have the grain of the fabric going up and down never across your furniture. The exception is the arms, where the grain goes across the arms.
8. Try to use piping on the slipcover where it is on the furniture, although you may need to make some adjustments.
9. Use piping as your sewing guide. Always pin the piping on the slipcover while the slipcover is on the furniture, and follow the curves. So for the piece below, I would have pined the piping on the side piece of fabric first, and then basted the piping in place. Then when I sewed that side piece onto the slipcover, I would make sure that the basting seam was facing up so I could see where it was, as I sewed. So, if you can see your basting stitches follow them as you sew. If you can’t see them, take your work and turn it upside down. Now you should be able to see the basting, and you can follow the stitching when you sew.
10. Make sure the opening in the back for the cushions is big enough to insert your cushions. To be sure it’s big enough use the same size opening as your current cushion covers.
I use safety pins to close my slipcovers. Professionals, I know, don’t do that, but it’s fast and it works great.
11. When in doubt, rip it out. Sometimes seams don’t end up in the right place or they are bunchy. There’s no need to panic, just rip it out and redo the seam. I had to rip out several places on this slipcover. It took a few minutes to rip it out, a few minutes to resew it, but the result was worth it! Here’s a messy seam that I redid. The fabric isn’t flat, the seam isn’t up next to the piping, and there’s a gaping hole.
Here’s another example I wanted to show you.
Take 1 – bunchy, so I ripped out a small section, and re-sewed.
Hmm, still bunchy, so I sewed some more.
Still bunchy so I tried to smooth it out a bit more. It’s more smooth now, but the seam is very wavy.
I ripped out some of the work I did above, and pressed the seam with an iron. It looks pretty good to me, and that’s good enough. I normally don’t bother worrying about bunching if it’s on a spot you can’t see, but this sofa will not always back to this wall, so I wanted to be sure the back was an nice as the front.
I have already reached a point of diminishing returns here, so I’m stopping. I think the trick is to be picky enough for the slipcover to look good, but not so picky, that you spend 10 hours fixing things that people won’t see or notice. If it were to bother me at this point (which it doesn’t, it’s a slipcover after all) I would have to go with Take 5.
12. Press your seams open as you go when possible. Where you have piping on a seam, you will not be able to do this.
13. Pull the fabric taunt as you pin on new sections for a snug fitting slipcover.
14. Take your time. You want your slipcover to look professional, so take some extra time to ensure that it is neat and tidy. If it is a spot under a cushion that no one will ever see, then don’t worry about it, otherwise, go slowly and take the time to do it right. You’ll be glad you did.
15. When making piping, use a larger size piping than you think you need, skinny piping looks cheap. I am not sure of the size I used, but I believe this is a 16/32″ piping for this slipcover, although for the slipcover in my bedroom, click here, I probably used the 3/8″ size.
Here are some of the piping I have on hand to show you the different sizes available.
For this project I used the piping second from the left.
16. If you want a ruffle, use a ruffler to save time, stress, and aggravation. I’ll talk about how to use one later. They can be tricky and it is very easy to break a bunch of needles if you don’t know what you are doing.
I used a large piece of fabric on the back to soften the indentations from the tufts. Since this fabric was corduroy and had ridges, I also used two layers of fabric on the arms to soften the ridges there.
The ottoman was also tufted, so I used 3 layers of quilt batting under the slipcover to soften it.
Here it is in process without the layer of batting.