and Now for Something Completely Different

I’m not one who delves into home dec much. Not necessarily because I don’t take pleasure in sewing up or creating items for my home (please note that I said my home, because I would never do this for anyone else!), but since the Mr. and I are still in the “apartment phase” of life, it just seems like a lot of work to make something look good against drab walls and oatmeal colored carpet and who knows what else. There comes a point though, when I get the itch for a white picket fence to do some home dec and/or it becomes absolutely necessary to do something about the state of things. The couch has been on this list even before I got married – that being nearly 5 years ago. I always thought that maybe we would just get rid of the couch some day and actually buy a new one. However, since that miracle has not yet materialized and since I’m somewhat well endowed in the sewing department, I came to the conclusion that something needed to be done about this atrocity and it needed to be done now.

So, I made this lovely slipcover that you see before you now. Crazy, I know. I totally wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t believe that I made it either because Mr. S said that no one would believe that I made it. I’ve been working on this thing, here and there, since May. Making a proper, nice looking slipcover for your sofa is not an easy feat. This is actually the second time I’ve made one for this couch – which by the way, was my parent’s sofa from the 80s. The former slipcover was bright red – when I thought red couches were in and sadly, mine never was – and it was very poorly done. In fact I can barely bring myself to say that it was indeed my own work. I couldn’t even bring myself to take photos of it either as is was so unsightly and shameful, so sadly there are no before photos here. Believe me when I say that I’m sparing you some serious pain though.

This was a hard, very time consuming project. The baseΒ  – everything excluding the cushions – was actually not too bad. The arms were pretty difficult, in fact, almost like setting in a sleeve!Β  The hardest part of the base was the wretched zipper at the back. It’s not my finest hour, but after fiddling with it for several hours, I was tapped out. It looks way worse when you take the slipcover off of the couch, but since the slipcover is pretty tight and form fitting, it stretches out the slight bubbling that is going back there. Oh well! It’s decent. The hardest part of the sofa were those wretched cushions! OMG, I could have spit nails by the time I was finished with those. Originally, I had plans to do the welting (the cording) in the cushion seams, but I couldn’t do it. My patience did not win that battle and so I exclaimed, rather sadly, to Mr. S that the welting had finally defeated me and I would NOT be putting it in the cushions. Mr. S, very wonderfully, stated that he felt he would rather not have welting in the cushions anyway, because he felt couch cushions are more comfortable without welting. I’m pretty happy with that. All in all, with every expletive in the book, they came out pretty damn good! I even put in a lapped zipper at the back of each cushion. Yup. This was serious.

This slipcover took 15 yards of fabric. I used a nice high quality muslin to interface certain sections. I made all the welting. by. hand. and in all there is about 20 yards of welting on this couch. I followed the couch base exactly as it was on the original couch for the pattern. To make the pattern, I used muslin, draped it over the section of the couch that I was patterning/rubbing off at the time, stuck pins in the seams of the original couch and with a sharpie marker, added dots to where the pins were on the muslin. From there I took the muslin off the couch, connected the dots and added a seam allowance and cut it from the cloth using the muslin as a pattern. And now I have a pattern for my couch, if I ever wanted to make another slipcover – haha! It was a fantastic experience for learning one version of the rub off technique and I’m very excited to try rubbing off a favorite blouse soon sans sharpie marker, of course.

I purchased the fabric from and it’s this Amy Butler cotton sateen, home dec weight. After going to a local home dec fabric shop – anyone been to Designer’s Resource? Its INSANE! – I found out that these quilting cottons made into home dec cottons are extremely lightweight. I found it fine for my project and really for my sewing machine. Some of those home dec fabrics would require some serious machinery. The pillow fabrics are from a local joint called Home Fabrics, here in SLC and talk about cheap! The name of this fabric store was originally, $2 Fabric Store, and has since been changed. They have great basic home dec fabrics – nothing exotic or really beautiful like at Designer’s Resource – and for the price, they really can’t be beat. The slipcover and pillow covers are completely washable, which was important to me because my last version wasn’t. For those round pillows with the button, I had read an old Threads article on making these with a buttonhole in the cover – ingenious, right? I could also really use newly cut foam for the couch cushions, but for now, its all good.

So what do you guys think? It’s a pretty heavy duty project, I know. I think my sewing machine could now use a bit of a tune up only because this was a very hefty order. I’m so happy this project is off of my sewing table now. Literally. It was taking up way too much room… And I’m quite happy with the end result of my sofa slipcover – it is rather wild! Ha ha!



72 thoughts on “and Now for Something Completely Different

  1. Wow,what a great project. I can understand your thoughts about sewing home decor. I’m just apartment hunting and do not have any experience sewing home dec apart from cushions. Your work looks really professional. Good job!

  2. Hmmmmm…….Wow! It’s people like you, that make me want to be a better sewer/sewist.
    You should be so happy with yourself, that was some project you conquered!
    Great job!!

  3. Bravo! I did home decor sewing for several years for some local interior designers, and it is hard work! You did a good job. My first real venture into professional sewing was for home decor, but I have recently made the switch to doing mostly clothing. What a breeze in comparison! Sure, there are frustrations that can arise, but rarely do you have move all the furniture out of your living room just to measure and cut fabric for a King sized duvet.

  4. wow! i cannot believe you made this from scratch! it is amazing! really gave the sofa new life!! I am so impressed that you kept going with it for so long!

  5. Sunni, that is simply amazing. I can’t even recover myself sometimes, let alone a sofa. Great fabric choice too! I am in awe. Most of our sofa pillows do not have cording on the seams, btw, and those that do are wearing away in precisely those places.

  6. Wow, this looks amazing! I can totally sympathise with the difficulties you experience having recently covered seat and back cushions for 2 wooden armchairs myself. They were straight forward rectangles for the backs, and deep squares for the seats, and they still drove me to distraction. I truely dislike sewing for the home, but my hubby always manages to find these “little” jobs for me…… like when he convinced me to make floor to ceiling curtains for the french doors in our dining room. Ugh, horrible experience!

  7. I stand in reverence to a slip cover maker. Have done it, disliked it immensely, will not do it again. Yours is lovely, very well done. I am so impressed!

  8. I think you deserve a gold medal for Home Dec sewing! That is one awesome project and even though I’ve owned sofas that needed slip covering, I always bought something until it was time to replace the sofa. So I’m bowing to you for not only sewing up such a well thought out and welted slipcover but for having the fortitude to see it through!

  9. DAMN, girl! Color me impressed – I am in total awe! Slipcovers are something I don’t think I would ever attempt, for exactly the reasons you stated. Yours turned out amazing, though! Seriously. I bow at your feet.

  10. Great job! I embarked on a couch slipcover several years ago. It turned out OK, but I don’t want anyone to look too closely. Yours is beautiful.

  11. I LOVE the look of your couch! Fun fabric and happy colors. πŸ™‚

    This post was one of my favs from you as I’ve been dying to re-cover my sofa, but, as you know, it is a major undertaking. Recently, I had a day where kids and husband were away so I broke out the fabric I’d purchased months ago and made new covers for the loose pillows on the back as well as the toss pillows. Plus coordinating cushions for a wicker chair I’ve paired with it. While it wasn’t the fix I ultimately wanted, it made the drab old thing a bit brighter and injected a bit of new life.

    Congrats on accomplishing a feat some of us only dream of! And in fine style too… naturally!

  12. I’m kind of in love with this. I’ve loved this Amy Butler print, and it looks amazing on your couch! I’ve been thinking about having my couch re-covered, but this seems like a more reasonable option. Any tips for where to find resources on creating a slip cover like this (for those who aren’t as fabulously talented as you)?

  13. That is insanely amazing, I LOVE that you were able to do that! And what a fabulous and fresh looking sofa you have, just like new! I’m beyond impressed.

  14. This does look like a project that took a very good amount of time! I’m glad that it didn’t turn out as horrendous as your red couch. I give you serious props for delving into upholstery. Sleeves are enough for this seamstress πŸ™‚

  15. Wow – your sofa looks amazing! I’m truly impressed with your work. I was thinking about recovering 2 side chairs I have. Now that I’ve seen what you’ve done I might give it a go. Bonus for me is that my chairs don’t have arms! πŸ™‚

  16. WOW!!! This is awesome! I am so impressed that you made this. I’ve been wanting to make slip covers for a couch and chair and now I am re-inspired to try this.

  17. The cover and cushions are amazing! I think the most I’ve ever attempted in home decor are simple throw pillows–the simple square kind with no welting. You are clearly waaaaay more skilled and patient than I’ll ever be. I’m getting all anxious even thinking about undertaking a project like that.

  18. Wow, I just love it! Honestly, I know just what you mean about living in apartments and potentially getting new couches (that never come) and just constantly waiting, but this slipcover looks so amazing I almost want to make one myself. Of course, your warnings about how tiring this was are sort of putting me off (I’m finishing up curtains right now that are so much more time consuming than I’d ever thought they’d be!), but maybe I could add this to my list of things to make within the next year? Yes, this is just brilliant. You did an amazing job!

    1. Oh definitely! I think if you span the project out over the course of several weeks/few months its definitely possible. Its not a terrible experience by any means, but it requires patience and endurance to see it through. I didn’t work on it everyday by any means, but fit in parts whenever I could. I think trying to spit one of these out under a serious time constraint would leave you with something that you wouldn’t want in the end anyway because you’ll have rushed through the process and not really taken the time to make it extra nice.

  19. Brilliant! Looks like a professional job. I am duly impressed. If you can do this, you can do anything! You need to really pat yourself on the back, and Mr. S. needs to buy you a terrific dinner!

  20. Beautiful job!! My mom used to do that, she recovered the same old tired couch at least 4 times that I know of. Sorry to say I would never attempt that! But you did a grand job. Love the buttonup pillows too!

  21. I covered my couch back when my husband and I were in an apartment. My couch was red too, and the apartment carpet was a dark teal–gross. Thankfully, my experience with slipcovers was infinitely easier than yours because my couch is from IKEA and already had a slipcover. I took apart it’s red slipcover and reused the under-cushion part as well as the velcro. The new upholstery fabric was sent to me via fate, when I purchased all 11 metres (what was left on the bolt) at 70% off. I am incredibly impressed by your work here. I tried to make my cover without taking the old one apart, but I very quickly realized that it wasn’t going to happen without some serious hair tearing. It looks fantastic!

  22. sunni it is AMAZING! Seriously, I have sewn slipcovers and I know of which I speak. Mine have been nowhere near as nice as yours.
    congratulations and may it serve you long and well.

  23. The lemon green color of that pillow is so perfect for that couch! I love the combination of blue and green.. That’s’s so different!

    1. Thank you! It is a little on the wild side. When I first finished it, I couldn’t help but think that it looks a bit like something you might see in Vegas! Ha!

  24. wow – I think it looks fabulous – having only made slipcovers for my sofa cushions I can well imagine how tricky the rest of it was so well done;)

  25. This is just BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it. Great job ~ I almost feel like going out and covering my sofa but, well…that seems like a LOT of work and I’m still learning how to make myself dresses πŸ™‚

    1. It is a lot of work, but if you take it slow and span out the slipcover over the course of several weeks then it doesn’t seem like quite so much work and you end up learning so much along the way.

  26. O.M.G. GIRL WOW!!! Seriously looks amazing and I love the fabric and color choices! I’ve been considering recovering our sort of shitty Ikea couch (my bf thought owning a fawn pug and buying a navy blue corduroy couch while I was out of town was a good idea, sweet but no) but I’ve been on the fence for a year. Way to just go for it! Maybe I’ll be using you as my inspiration this fall and finally tackle the job. By the way, which places did you reinforce with muslin? I also agree that the welting on the cushions could be a pain…they always leave those marks on your feet when you’re trying to nap!

    1. Oh definitely do! I’m sure you’ll love the end result just as much as I do! With the muslin, I reinforced the cushion seat areas and the back of the sofa or the place where your back would be were you to sit down on the couch. I also used muslin in the skirt of the slipcover because I found that I didn’t want it to have a traditional turn-up hem and I wanted the skirt to have extra weight to it too.

  27. Love it! It looks so professional, and the fabric is perfect. I agree with you about the cost of decorator fabrics – some of them are so pricey that i might as well buy a new couch! I’m not brave enough to slipcover yet, and I admire anyone who is!

    1. Oh yes! When I stopped in at Designer’s Resource, I was shocked to find that you can actually pay upwards of $200/yard for decorating fabrics. I really don’t know why I was so shocked, I mean I’ve seen the same thing for fashion fabrics, but heavens, I would much rather just have a new couch than pay so much for fabric like that!

  28. Beautiful custom design of yours, i have a sofas and I do not what color should i put it. I am planning to have gray so that it will fit on my wall.

    1. I personally am loving the grey and cream color of mine! Seems like it will go with so much and if you go with a print, it hides stains and dirt so much better.

  29. Blimey! That looks like a project and a half. Don’t think I’d ever even begin to consider doing that myself, but you’ve done a great job. I looks fantastic.

  30. That looks absolutely fabulous. It is (almost) giving me the courage to tackle such a project. I have a couch that actually came with a slip cover. Should I use that as my pattern or do you think your method is easier.


    1. Thank you! You should definitely tackle this type of project, especially if you have a couch that already came with a slipcover! I imagine that you’ll have to unpick quite a bit of it, but really, that makes life so much easier if it already fits your couch perfectly. Go for it! You’ll be so satisfied with the end result if you give yourself ample time to do a good job.

  31. It’s BEAUTIFUL Sunni! Omg. I’m impressed. That fabric is fantastic. When I was in SL I loooved visiting Designer’s Resource. They have cheap knits and all sorts of good deals. I had fantasies of sewing all sorts of home dec, but nothing ever materialized.

  32. This is exactly what I’d like to do!! We’re renting a furnished apartment so I can’t just go and buy a new sofa, but I’m sooo tired of that grey sofa that we have. I am so glad that you’re showing it is actually doable. I’m just curious, how did you do it??! I want more “behind the seams”. πŸ™‚ How much fabric did you use on your sofa?

    I really hope me too can pull it off! Yours looks great! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Agneta!

      I see that you found my next entry. I used 15 yards of fabric for the entire couch and pretty much followed the basic guidelines outlined in McCall’s 3278. Not terribly difficult (well sort of, in some parts) but very time consuming. Allow for several weeks, if not months if you plan to make one and really want to do a great job.

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