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.
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?
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.
(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.
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.
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.
Here’s how I made the slipcovers:
- 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.
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!!
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.
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!
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!!
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!!