Slipcover Fitting Methods

Just recently a fellow slipcover diva asked me what method I use when fitting slipcovers.  Unfortunately, I was unable to give her a definitive answer, as I use several methods.  So in this post, I will describe three methods of fitting a slipcover.  I have used all three of these methods during my slipcover career and each one serves a specific purpose and is useful under different circumstances.

Outline Method

This is the first slipcover method I learned.  As I described in this post, I attended the Custom Home Furnishings Academy for a 4 day slipcover class.  The instructor Karen Erickson was the instructor at the time, and this is the method she uses.

With the outline method you use the welt cord to outline the furniture exterior pieces.  This gives you the shape of the furniture.  Then you add interior pieces, stitching in the ditch of the welt cord.  This is an excellent method for a beginner, as you don’t have to see the final outcome before you start.  By outlining the furniture, you let the furniture guide your final outcome.  Check out Karen’s site for more info on the outline slipcover method.  She also has a DVD available.

Pro: an easier method for the beginner; does not require you to visualize the end result before you get there.

Con: takes longer than other methods; requires you to have the furniture available.

Muslin Pattern Making

With the pattern making method, you use muslin or some other inexpensive fabric to make a pattern for the slipcover.  Using the muslin, you pin fit the furniture just as you would if you were using the slipcover fabric.

With this method, you will need to decide on seam placements and design details as you pin and cut.  You can use the existing details on the furniture as a guide, but you are not bound by them.

Pro: by not using the slipcover fabric, you will not be intimidated when cutting; you can perfect your fit before cutting into your slipcover fabric;  and you are free to somewhat alter the shape by not following the outline of the furniture.

Con: can be a little time consuming as you need to now cut the slipcover fabric using the pattern; if you decide to change some design details, you will have to start over.

Double on Half

With the double on half method, you only fit half the furniture, using the slipcover fabric.  This only works on symmetrical furniture and on furniture that is not badly out of shape on one side.

The basic premise is you find the center of the furniture, fold fabric right sides together and just pin fit on side of the furniture. For the arms you place 2 pieces of fabric with right sides together and treat as one, fitting just one arm.

Pro: a quick method that works with symmetrical furniture; both sides of slipcover look the same.

Con: requires you to unpin the slipcover to assemble it; a bit more difficult that the other methods; and does not work on asymmetrical furniture or with badly misshapen furniture.

While I just lightly touched on 3 slipcover fitting methods, you should have enough information to decide which one is a fit for your personality and skill level. Feel free to ask questions or leave a comment.