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Make a Dropcloth Sofa Sectional Slipcover!

diy cropcoth sectional slipcover tutorial

I have been obsessed with a white slipcover for my family room lately. My initial plan was to buy two loose slipovers and alter them to fit my giant family room couch. I quickly disovered that my couch was WAY bigger than any commercially-made slipcovers out there. And I’ve only been sewing for a couple of years, so sewing a HUGE tailored slipover was SO overwhelming.

lowes dropcloths

I didn’t know what I could do  to make my white-covered slipcover dream come true. And then I was at Lowes and I saw the HUGE sizes of their dropcloths. My mind went into overdrive and I wondered, what I could take a couple of the large dropcloths and alter them to fit my couch?

dropcloth slipcover tub

I bought three and then I did a little research. My friend Marian at Miss Mustard Seed has a great tutorial on bleaching droploths. Be sure to check it out. I think my blog name should have been “Impatient Crafter”, because when I am in the middle of a project – I want that project done NOW!! LOL.

brown couch

(here’s a shot of the couch with the original brown upholstery)

Since I have HD washer and dryers, I took my slipcovers and bleached them in my big master tub.

before and after dropcloth colors

The second time I bleached them, I used a FULL gallon bottle of bleach and I left them in there for THREE full hours. Then I put them in trash bags and dragged them downstairs to my laundry room and washed them. And then I did the whole thing a THIRD time to get the almost-white color I needed.

slipcovered sectional couch

At this point I started doubting myself and I thought “what am I doing?????”  “I’m wasting my time on a project that I am not even going to like!!!”. I got a little discouraged. But I perservered  – hoping it would turn out.


dropcloth sectional instructions at tatertots and jello

Here’s how I made the slipcovers:

dropcloth slipcover DIY tutorial

making the long cushions

  • Once the dropcloths were bleached and washed, I dried them.
  • Then I laid one slipcover over one side of my sectional.
  • Now – this part will depend on the type of slipcover you want to create.
  • For mine, I wanted to create separate cushion covers.
  • So I took the bottom and top cushions off my couches, and laid the slipcovers on top.
  • I took one of the dropcloths and laid it over one of the sectional sides.
  • I put the seam of the slipcover at the top seam of the back of the couch.
  • There are finished seams on the dropcloths, and it will save you a lot of time to use those finished seams on outside edges of the slipcover. So I took the finished seam at the back of the couch and draped it over the front, over the seat onto the front apron. You want to add a little extra fabric at the seams so you can tuck the fabric into the seams of the couch.
  • Both sides of the dropcloths are pretty much the same, except that the seams at the bottom will have a right and wrong side.
  • So I took the dropcloth and laid it on the couch, and tucked it into the corners and then where the seams were, I cut the fabric on the sides to fit the sectional sides..
  • I have found that pinning the panels onto the couch really makes a slipcover more fitted than making paper patterns.
  • I laid new fabric onto the arms and front of the arms and pinned it withere the panels should meet. I didn’t use cording because that just seemed overwhelming to me. I just sewed the fabric together to make seams at the edges of the slipover.
  • Once you have the slipcover pinned onto the couch, you can sew the seams and then FLIP the whole thing over and put it on the couch with the raw seams underneath and the finished edges on top.
  • dropcloth sectional slipcover information

Now here’s the tricky part:

Since I have a sectional that’s not evenly mirrored, I had one section that I wouldn’t be able to “flip”. I actually did this wrong and it cost me about 3 hours of time to unpick and fix. So if you are doing a sectional, you have a couple different options. The first is to pin your sectional couch section and then go back in and unpin each one and flip the seams. This seemed overwhelming to me. So I took the seams and folded them over and pinned them. And when I sewed them the seams were clean but not the same as the other section. This worked out for me. I am sure there is a better way to do it.

For the back cushions: I made simple envelope back seamless cushion covers.

For the bottom cushions, I knew I had a few different options. At this point I was in day 2 with no shower. And I didn’t think I was going to love the dropcloths. I was a little discouraged and tired.  I knew I could make individual cushion covers with piping. But piping is SO time consuming. Or I could make simple individual cushion covers. OR I could make a big, giant single cushion cover for all three cushions on each sofa. So that’s what I did!!

And it really was easy. All I did was laid out my dropcloth and laid all three cushions in the middle. Then I wraped the material around the cushions so it met on the middle of the back seam. I then pinned it in place and took the cushions out. Then I sewed a seam where those cushions met and sewed it all the way down the length of the three cushions, sewing one end seam shut. I left the other seam open so I could slide the three cushions into the pocket. I flipped the big envelope so the seams were inside and inserted the cushions. Once the three cushions were inserted with the seam at the bottom, I flipped it over and put it on the couch, The open end had a open seam and I just tucked that open seam underneath the cushion so you can’t see it.

Once I put the sofa and cushion covers on, I wondered how to finish the bottom edges of the slipcover. I originally was going to add a panel of material that was going to have a little elastic in it, to give the whole slipcover a more tailored look. But then I remembered some gathered twill ribbon trim I had from HGTV’s new line at Jo-Ann Fabric. I ended up sewing that trim onto the bottom of the slipcover and I really think it added so much to the slipcover. I love it!!

diy dropcloth slipcovers

Once I finished the slipcover and put it on the couch, I discovered that I LOVE it!! It is one of my FAVORITE projects ever. I am so proud of myself. As someone that is a beginner sewer, I never thought I would be able to sew a slipcover – I mean, this project seems so HUGE!! And I love it! It’s almost white, the material is durable and I think it will last for a LONG time. It took me two full days of work – but I am so happy with how they turned out.

white dropcloth slipcovers

So if you have an idea and it seems a little overwhelming, don’t let that get you down!! Go for it!! If I can do it, you can too!!!

  • And here’s the thing that will REALLY make your dropcloth slipcover look great – IRONING. Ironing it is a little tedious but it makes the slipcover look great! The nice thing about the dropcloth material is that it is thick and durable. And once it’s ironed, it looks so much better!

diy dropcloth slipcover tutorial at tatertots and jello

It really lightens up the room SO much!! And I had a friend  on Instagram tell me that she made a dropcloth slipcover for HER couch over three years ago and it STILL looks great with four little kids. SO yay!!! I can’t wait to decorate my room for the holidays with my NEW neutral couch!!

chair pic

And if this projects seems to be a little overwhelming, be sure to check out my friend Shelley’s Slipcovering DVD – she is a fabulous expert. And she can walk you through all of the steps to making slipcovers!

Have you ever made anything out of dropcloths?? 
Let me know in the comments!! 

Have a HAPPY day!! 


jen signature




  1. MyHomeOnAShoestring says:

    I found a great Drexel Heritage couch for $300 with pristine 80’s upholstery. Can’t wait to try my hand at a dropcloth slipcover! I love the idea! Am now in the market for a sewing machine for this and other DIY home decorating projects. What sewing machine did you (or any of you other intrepid DIYers) use that worked with such heavy weight material?

  2. I’m so glad you did this first and blogged about it. I’ve thought about bleaching drop cloths before, but I would have been afraid to use as much bleach as was needed since bleach weakens fabric fibers and I’d be worried about winding up with holes. Glad to know it wasn’t an issue!

  3. Hi Jen: thought I would tell you about my canvas bleaching project. Bought 3 drops clothes from HD. Spent 3 days bleaching with zero results. Bought 3 more at my local paint store they are 100 percent cotton canvas heavy weight. So I’m going to try bleaching these and have to do this in the tub too. Guess will have to buy a lot of bleach lol. Already went through 2 gallons,

  4. Hi Jen, thanks for being where you were when I was searching for making slipcovers for my sofa and love seat out of canvas drop cloths. I went into my local hardware store this afternoon to check on sizes and prices. Lowes or Home Depot are probably cheaper because the ones I found were between twenty and thirty dollars each. I have a similar vision of having my “pet friendly” furniture and a similar area rug as you do. I also love your pillows which really make the room ‘pop’! Great job. I also could use your company while I tackle this project, are you free to come to help? Lol! Can’t hurt to ask!
    Love love love your projects!thanks for sharing!

  5. I am so impressed with your slipcovered sectional. I have a couch and loveseat I want to do because the fabric is outdated. I like the idea of drop cloths and it looks like Pottery Barn- love that look. Are the cloths a canvas and a heavy weight? I don’t have much experience sewing, do I need a special needle? I have a $200 Bernina and wonder if that is up to the task? You give me hope that maybe I could do this? I am afraid of tackling such a tough job. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful project. :)

  6. Hi! I love your blog and this tutorial. I’m mustering up the courage to slip cover two of my sofas. I just read Marian’s tutorial on bleaching drop cloths and noticed she had a ton of comments of people who had issues with botching and not much change in color. Did you have any issues with that? And did you follow her tutorial exactly besides using the bath tub? Thanks in advance and thanks for sharing!

  7. Jen, you did great!!! I am so proud of you! I know how much work it is!
    Shelley Anderson recently posted…Ticking Stripe Chair 1/2

  8. Thank you so much for posting this!!!! I just finished making mine for my sectional last night and I love how it turned out!

  9. I have a slipcover business in Washington state and have been making a lot of them lately using drop cloths. There seems to be different drop cloths out there and each one seems to have a different hue to them. A customer brought me a chair and drop cloth that she already washed and I can’t find it. She said she bought it at Lowes. After reading your article, I think she probably bleached it like your have done. Thanks. I am going to try it!

    I just bought a sectional, have two active dogs, and I have a pet friendly home! I was looking online to research a place that would have a cover that I could wash and quite frankly was white, since you can put that in the wash and bleach it, if necessary. Also, one that is water (drool) resistant! The material looks rugged and with the addition of a waterproof mattress cover sewn underneath, I think I (as a novice sewer, as well) can make this work. I am also considering dyeing some other colors into this, as, well!!

    Thank you!!

  11. AHHHHH! I can’t believe you used DROP CLOTHS! Brilliant. I bought duck canvas for what felt like a small fortune. I have two small kids and a white sofa, and just wrote an article for my 31 days about it. This idea just made it possible to make another. Again, great idea!

  12. I will definitely have to try this out. We are buying a house and it will be my first time actually decorating and I really don’t want to have to decorate around the red couch with gold-ish filigree pattern all over it. A slipcover would be easier! You’ve inspired me and I’ve already ran the idea by my hubby and he has agreed. Now to get the drop cloths and go to town!

  13. Your work looks phenomenal!! Terrific job!! You give hope to the ones like myself who have never sewn a day in their life!! Going to tackle this project.. My stance on it, ” hey if there is a will, there IS A WAY”. Hope it turns out decent enough for a playroom. :) Wish me luck!!

    Yours looks great!!

  14. Patti Horton says:

    I discovered the “paint dropcloths” a few months ago. I have been making throw pillows out of the paint cloths by cutting the material into 20″x20″ squares and then painting flowers or whimsey characters on the squares before sewing them together and stuffing with filling. My next project is the make a slipcover for an old wingback chair. I’m planning on painting the slipcover after I have covered the chair.

  15. Sarah Creed says:

    Hi Jen! Your slipcover looks amazing! I was inspired and so I decided to give it a try myself! I just thought I should put this out there for others as I ran into a few “problems”….I purchased my drop cloth from Home Depot and after 2 gallons of bleach (one each time)- it is still pretty “dingy” in color – OK, but not what I had hoped for. I too have a front loading washer so I thought no problem, I’ll use the tub like Jen. So the first 4 hours it soaked in my claw foot tub – let’s just say bleach and claw foot tubs (porcelain) don’t get along!! I also ruined my stainless steel drain – I was able to remove most of the damage with peroxide and baking soda but it still pitted. Day 2 – I decided to soak it in my kids fiberglass tub – after 4 hours (should’ve checked sooner!!) the drain began to react with the bleach – leaving black gunk & pitting a bit – again peroxide and baking soda helped. Just saying, be careful with high strength bleach in your tubs!!

  16. I did this!!! I didn’t bleach the fabric though but I did have to wash them several times to get that stiff/coated feeling out of them. I even used the same brand of dropcloths. Bought 3 pkgs from Lowes for less than $10/pkg…least expensive fabric I have EVER bought for projects (made basket liners with the leftovers).
    Next up, I’ll make drapery panels outta this stuff.

  17. I love, love this tutorial, but for the non-skilled sewer (not even sure how to thread my machine properly) it all looks so overwhelming. I could bleach all those drop cloths if you will come over and pin/sew it all up for me. :)

  18. Love the slipcover with the area rug and pillows can you tell me where they are from?

  19. This looks fantastic! Making a slipcover for our ‘very comfortable but desperately in need of reupholstering’ sofa is on my list for this winter. I was planning on using drop cloths also but didn’t even think about bleaching them. Definitely going to do that now! I have made cushion covers and hoop wall art using drop cloths as well. I love them and have a running list of ideas for using them rattling around in my head all the time. Need to get them all done I suppose. Thanks for giving me the boost to get this done this winter!

  20. I made slip covers for two chairs out of drop clothes. I have a red couch so I left them the more linen, natural color but I bet the bleaching softened them SO much. I even adddd a box pleat skirt! You did an amazing job and it transforms the room!

  21. Great job! Very tempting to try. Were you able to get the dip cloths on sale? I am seeing prices about $30+ for one sheet. Did you just get them at the hardware store?

  22. You did a fantastic job, Jen!! I have a sectional very similar to yours including color which is awesome for little sticky fingers, but I REALLY want to slipcover it. I have a slip covered chair and those covers are in the wash every other week! Some day I’ll cover the couch too. Yours turned out amazing! XO
    Christy recently posted…Old Fence Pickets to Pretty Tray

  23. Simply Wonderful! A courageous feat that became a beautiful success! What more can anyone ask for when attempting something such as this…congratulations. Thank you for the encouragement you’ve brought to others as well.

  24. I am SO happy I found this post. I’m getting ready to make a slipcover for my sectional but have been completely overwhelmed with the idea of this project. You have given me inspiration — and an excellent tutorial!!!!

    :) Linda
    Linda @ it all started with paint recently posted…Pom Pom Pumpkin Patch

  25. WOW!! You should be so proud of yourself Jen- they look amazing and it seems like a job for a very experienced sewer. I am seriously impressed. I totally get the impatient crafter bit- that is absolutely me. Good for you for persevering! It was well worth the effort.
    Krista @ the happy housie recently posted…Thrifted Upcycled Homework Station with a Vintage School Desk and Faux Chalkboard Chair

  26. Hi I love it!!! I was just wondering how soft it is?

    • Hi Katie!!

      I’ve washed it three times, so it is softer than brand-new dropcloths, I would say the fabric feels like canvas.


  27. I wonder if tis would work for a single chair? I need one to cover an ugly extremely comfortable chair, but don’t want to pay potterybarn 600$ for it!? Let me know if you have an idea on how I can adjust the pattern!?

  28. You did an awesome job…I love it. I am contemplating making drapes out of the dropcloth and dying them a chocolate brown…

  29. Jen–sow this on instagram, and had to hop over to see it all. I love what you’ve done! I have wanted to do this for a couple of years now. But last year I got a new sofa and love seat so I don’t need to do it anymore….
    you did a fabulous job, love the trim on the bottom!
    way to go!!!


    • Thanks Gail!!

      I am so happy with how they turned out. It was a kind of spur of the moment kind of project and I’m so glad I did it. Thanks for stopping by!! I hope things are going great for you!!


  30. Patty Lucas says:

    I made drapes for our living room out of drop cloths. I just washed, ironed and put them back up for the fall. I love the slipcovers that you made and I am tempted to try them myself (or you could come and live here for a couple of days).

  31. I like it, and I desperately need a slip cover. But I am nowhere near that brave when it comes to sewing.

    • Hi Manda!!

      That’s how I felt. I was just desperate enough to try it LOL! Maybe try slipcovering something smaller to start with? I’m seriously addicted and now I want to slipcover everything in my house haha!!


  32. Love this!
    I have a white couch…not slipcovered so it’s not so white anymore. It’s been on my to do list but this gives me the courage to bump it up to the top! Can you tell me how many drop cloths you used? I’d like to bleach them all at once.


    • Hi Cara!!

      That is an excellent idea!! I used three of the biggest size slipcovers and had a little bit left over but my couches are huge. I think each one was 30×15 Good luck – I’m so excited for you!!


  33. You’re tempting me! i think I may just have to try it but I think I will start with a small chair I have! It looks amazing. Love it!

  34. Oy!! Good job. I’m so scared of sewing big projects. I tried to sew a super simple quilt at the beginning of the summer, got as far as measuring the fabric, cried, and quit.

    • Hi Jayme!!

      I’m not gonna lie, I did cry a little bit during the project. But I’m so glad I finished it. Maybe try again and this time will go smoother? Sewing can be tricky that’s for sure!! I do a lot better when I don’t have to use a pattern or directions LOL!!


  35. Wow Jen, that is SOOO amazing!! I love the way it turned out!! It looks so professional and beautiful… nice work, as always :)

  36. Great job, Jen! It really brightens up the room.

  37. Wow Jen – what a difference! I’ve got to admit, tackling this kind of project scares the you know what out of me. I’ve been procrastinating about altering a linen slipcover I purchased for my wing chair that isn’t fitting as snuggling as I want. The fact that you said you’ve been sewing for two years and could accomplish this so successfully, might give me the courage to tackle my much smaller project. Thanks for the tutorial!

  38. Brenda Grover says:

    Great job….I made slipcovers for a 5piece sectional out of dropcloths (from SW)11 yrs. ago.for my camp …have added 2 SIL 2 granddogs and.4 grandkiddos… lots of muddy paws,blueberry stains and who knows what else…I have washed them “often” and they are still looking good…..enjoy decorating for the holiday with your new blank canvas\

  39. I was SUPER excited to see this post! I’ve been looking for this exact tutorial for a month. THANK YOU! You somehow read my mind. Amazing.

  40. Okay- I don’t have a sectional & yes this is still overwhelming. You are just going to have to come up here for a weekend & we can have a few days to transform my family room together. It’s less scary with a friend. :)

    Love it Jen
    Gina recently posted…Tagg Pet Tracker ~ Project 52 Week 37

  41. WOW!!!! I can’t believe you made your own slipcovers for a sectional – and from dropcloths!! SOOO impressive! I am scared of my sewing machine and need to take a class. Truly, reading about how you did this inspires me. What an awesome project – it came out great and you must feel so gratified that you did it yourself!!

  42. I cannot believe you made that!! Super impressed. The room looks so fresh and so clean.
    Megan recently posted…Saturday Share- Project Life Inspiration

  43. Well I’ve got a couch and two wing back chairs waiting for covers….this give me great hope that I can actually do it! Your’s looks beautiful and very well done! Thanks for sharing this!
    Abby recently posted…4 jewelry organizers you can make for FREE

  44. Great minds think alike! For so long I have wanted to reupholster my sofa, but the cost to buy the fabric is outrageous. I’m talking $900 outrageous. Painting is not an option as this is my sofa, not an occasional chair. For so long I was discouraged. Then I had a similar idea, to buy these same drop cloths and dye them my choice of color. Love how yours turned out!

    Stephanie @ Newlymynted recently posted…Easy Southern Style Bacon Mustard Greens

  45. That looks GREAT! I have a sectional that needs an update. Can I hire you to make me one? I know I don’t have the skills (or patience) to make it myself.

  46. Absolutely brilliant, Jen!!!
    Jessica @ Mom 4 Real recently posted…Primp Your Pumpkin Party 2 – Share Your Decorated Pumpkins

  47. WOW! This is seriously amazing!
    I’m really impressed. I don’t think, I had the courage doing such a big project…

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  48. This turned out AMAZING! I am so impressed with your skills! Seriously every doubting moment was worth it because the sofa looks stunning!
    Kimber recently posted…Weekly Menu Planning


  1. […] my “style” is. This year I had this vision of a gold and white Christmas. I sewed our dropcloth slipcover so I could have this neutral holiday decor. But I also love BRIGHT holiday too. So in […]

  2. […] * Slipcovers. Now making your own slipcovers is possible, there are several patterns available at your fabric store to help you in measuring and sewing them. However, it is no small task. Another option to fixing up worn upholstered furniture is using the art of disguise. Drape a pretty quilt over the back, or cover just the bottom cushions in envelope style covers, in a coordinating color or print. Add throw blankets draped casually over each end of the sofa or chair. Add comfy throw pillows along the length, and by the time you’re done, people will only notice the accessories, not the piece itself. Dining chairs with removable seats can be recovered with fabric and a staple gun, or a small cushion with a skirt can be made to hide the seat and legs. You can make simple slipcovers that look similar to a regular pillowcase to slip over the back of a dinged up ding chair as well. Learn to make slipcovers from drop cloths at Tater Tots and Jello. […]

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