Thursday, September 22, 2011

My DIY: How to make a relatively cheap and easy no-hem slipcover

Here are some how-to details from my slipcover project.

Total cost was about $225. This included fabric, new foam seat cushions, Scotchguard and shipping.

For comparision, a Pottery Barn slipcover for almost the identical sofa costs about $800.

For fabric I bought five sets of sailcloth curtains from Target. Each panel cost $10 and measured 42 by 96 inches, so I got fabric at less than $5 a yard.

I'm always down for what's cheap/easy. The other reason I went with curtains is that the edges are already hemmed. I can't cut or sew a straight line, so having one straight edge already built in gave me confidence to try this project. The curtain route also reduced the cost of a potential Craft Fail to proportions I could cope with.

On the down side, the fabric is thin. You can only do this on a sofa that is already white underneath. Even then, some of my seam allowance shows through. (For heavier bleachable white slipcover fabric, I would consider Dharma Trading. Best prices I could find.) There is so much labor involved in this I would advise not to let fabric price be the biggest factor. Go for something durable because believe me you will never want to do this again.

I won't go into detail about how to pin fit a slipcover since many other blogs have covered this. (For some examples, check out Honey Bear Lane or What the Craft.)

The only thing I did different was cut my pieces so that the bottom edge used a pre-sewn curtain hem. Pre-wash and iron the curtains of course.

I loathe the shabby chic look, so I spent a lot of time trying to get the slipcover as tight and fitted as possible. For a more modern look, I skipped welting. I lie. I skipped welting because it's too much work and I don't know how to do it.

To keep the look as modern as possible, I also eliminated the skirt. I raised the hem of the slipcover to show a little bit of the sofa feet. (For some tips on how to modernize a slipcover, visit Naomi at Design Manifest.)

I have a zipper down the back of the slipcover and on all the cushions. For a zipper tutorial, see this post.

Since I live in a 480-square-foot apartment, I had to burn out the bulk of this over one weekend. Our home looked like the mafia searched our place for a micro chip. If you live in a house, I would say haul your sofa to some dark corner and work on it slowly.

Here's the before - not bad, but the seat cushions were bulging and there was dinginess that no amount of cleaning would remove.

Here's the after.


  1. You is goooood. Now how can I accomplish this on a ugly sectional where the cushions don't come off? I'm screwed aint I?

  2. Wow, so lovely and I never would have guessed that it wasn't hemmed. I have a couch I want to re-cover but was having trouble finding a cover I liked. Now I will just focus on Fabric.

  3. The Honey Bear Lane lady tore hers off and covered them. Sounds ambitious though.

  4. Alina, it's hemmed. It's no-hem in that I didn't have to do it. Target did it for me when they hemmed the curtains.

  5. Good work Bromeliad!!My house looked like your this week.. guess that is just the way it is when you want to get things done!! :-)