Art and Needlework home

Sewing a Slipcover from Start to Finish — Part 1


I am doing it! I’ve daydreamed of covering our three seat sofa for years and years and am finally pulling back my sleeves and diving into the world of slipcovering. Firstly, let me give you a little history about me and slipcovers. I haven’t made one–ever. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. In all actuality, I don’t often do home decor, I mostly stay within my garment making boundaries. Much rather make a dress than a pillow! I will stray from my ordinary sewing niche every once in awhile just because I would much rather make x, y or z myself than buy it at a big box store like Walmart. A house full of homemade decor is very, very tempting to me!

So this is the sofa in question:


The Sofa: This sofa is about 30 years old and is in fair shape considering the number of kids that jumped, rolled, and climbed on it over the years. It is actually a sleeper sofa so a fully functional bed is hidden within. The tweed-like upholstery is tattered on the arms but thankfully the cushions are not saggy or lumpy. So in conclusion: this sofa has many more years left and deserves a much needed slipcover to brighten it up.

The Fabric: The fabric I will be using is duck canvas (aka duck cloth) that I bought from Big Duck Canvas located in Georgia. I found their website by watching their video on how to sew a slipcover.  I really liked the look and drape of the fabric shown in the video so I took their advice and bought 12 yards of their 10 oz. duck canvas in the color Denim. Before I made my order, I filled out their sample form to request fabric samples. (So I can see the colors and choose just the right shade of blue.) The best part: they sent over the sample books quickly and for free. Not many places would do that.


The 12 yards of duck arrived in about three days’ time. They packaged it on a roll with a long, heavy duty plastic bag. Even though on the website they recommend spot cleaning, I really thought I should prewash the fabric. I need to make the shrinkage happen before the sewing! As you can well imagine, 12 yards of 60″ wide fabric is, well, A LOT of fabric. It is hard to manage. So I decided to cut it in half and do two rows of zig zag stitch on each raw edge to prevent fraying during the washing cycle.


I was able to fit the fabric in our washing machine but it became twisted in the dryer, so I just hung it outside on the line. I treated the duck like any 100% cotton canvas: machine wash with cold water. Line dry.

The Teaching Material: I am using three sources of information to make this slipcover a reality.

1. I am following Miss Mustard Seed on YouTube with her 8-part slipcover series. See the playlist.

2. Using a 1952 book on slipcovering called “How to Make Your Own Slipcovers” by Kay Hardy (pictured below). A slipcovering guru recommend this title to me and the only place I could find a copy was ebay. It may pop up there again. I was perusing Amazon for books on slipcovers. . . Pickings are slim to say the least. A shame!

3. And of course, the video created by the Big Duck Canvas Co.


So that is where I am at right now. In the next post I write, I hope to cover how I figured the yardage for the sofa. The yardage question was really puzzling me at the beginning and I’m probably not alone in this, so I will definitely want to share that next time. See you soon! Here’s to spring and new, fresher looks for the home!





Leave a Reply