I’m so grateful for friends, with sewing machines, and talent, and good humor, and sewing machines. Making slipcovers is not my thing – I am one avowed lousy seamstress. Heidi and Mary Jean weren’t fazed, they tackled it just like any other project, one step at a time – while I drug my feet, ordered fabric, wrote checks, and silently panicked. Looking back, I think I was afraid to put so much effort and $$$ towards something I wasn’t at all sure I would like. Wouldn’t it be easier/smarter to just buy a new couch? Ultimately, the retro shape, solid construction, and perfect scale of the two Salvation Army couches swayed me. I remember thinking of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous quote, “The physician can bury his mistakes, – but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines.” In my case vines = accent pillows and throws…OK then…thanks Frank.
Below is a basic outline of the steps for our slipcover. Our goal was never perfection (is it ever?). We were after a decent, fairly loose-fitting cover, that would change the color and update the feel of the living room. The take-away is hopefully this: it’s do-able, you can use things you already have (old sheets for patterns, re-purpose a bedspread or heavy curtains), friends lighten the load both emotionally and practically, and, if you don’t like it – well – there’s always pillows and throws!
Creating the Pattern
- Covering the couch with muslin pieces. (We used old sheets)
- Pinning sections together along seams
- Using a 5/8″ wide cardboard template to mark for the added seam allowance
- Cutting out the pattern, adding notches for proper alignment when sewing. Note! We labeled the pieces like crazy.
- Completed muslin pattern, pinned together
- Completed prototype. We made a test/prototype from another old sheet set – it almost fits!
- Figuring out a troublesome intersection
- Making adjustments
- Making more adjustments!
Cutting & Sewing
- After pre-shrinking and ironing the new fabric (very important – but you don’t need a picture of my washing machine), laying out the pattern pieces
- Making sure the pattern pieces are laid correctly with the grain
- Prior to cutting, verifying again that everything is laid out correctly
- Labeling each piece as soon as it is cut, noting the right side of the fabric
- Sewing (finally!)
- Ironing, really important to get all the seams nice and flat
- Lunch (of course!)
- Checking the fit of the arm, inside-out
- Checking the fit of the arm, right side out
Done! Actually, almost done – a few details remain such as changing the feet and adding a bottom border – but there is light at the end of this tunnel! Plus, I like it :)
And what were Heidi’s last words as we were cleaning up? “I wonder if it needs piping…”
We found a few great resources along the way for those who may want more details and direction. Check these out:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/AVISAOrganics (beautiful fabrics)