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Sofa Slipcover – Part 1

Something about the idea of sewing a couch slipcover is hugely daunting. Maybe it’s the sheer size of it or perhaps it’s the awkward shapes, but it sounds like something for the experts.

That’s totally not the case. This is actually a project I would put at intermediate level. Surprising, right?!

Take it one step at a time. Forget how huge it all seems and just start at the very beginning, progressing as you finish each piece. Before you know it, you’ll be done!

As another resource, there is a Craftsy course available called “Custom-Fit Slipcovers” with Kim Chagnon* which gives you the opportunity to ask the tutor questions specific to your own project. Craftsy kindly let me do the course before recommending it to you, so I know it’s good!

*This post contains affiliate links which may provide me with a small commission on purchases. Thank you for supporting this blog!

Custom Slipcover class via Craftsy

Using Drop Cloth Fabric

I used 1.5 packets of heavy duty painters drop cloth and sourced continuous zips for the cushions (which you cut to length and add zipper heads where needed). It’s an affordable way to get long zips.

If you’re using drop cloth, you’ll notice it’s kinda ugly. Don’t be put off, it’ll come right. Some people like it as is, but I prefer things to look a bit crisper, so I bleached it. If you’re not going to bleach it, you should still prewash any fabric you intend to use to prevent shrinking later.

Due to the nature of it, the fabric won’t ever be totally white, but mine is now a pale oatmeal colour and I like it. If you do want white though, it’ll pay to buy a heavy white fabric instead. Note: after 3 years, the weave gave out on the drop cloth and it started getting a number of holes. If you want your slip cover to last, I recommend investing in good upholstery fabric. The Craftsy course above covers what fabrics are best to use.


Here is a comparison of fabrics before (left) and after (right) bleaching. The difference is very subtle, but still lighter. It’s purely a matter of personal preference.

How To Bleach

I started by unpicking the seams in the drop cloth (it came in 3 pieces all sewn together) to make it less cumbersome.

Place fabric in top loading washing machine (or just a large sink if you have a front loader) with warm water. Add 2 cups of bleach and let the machine mix it for a little. Leave it to sit for about 6 hours. I occassionally got the machine to swish it some more over that time, just to make sure the bleaching was even.

Drain water and fill machine/sink again. Add 1 cup of bleach and your usual amount of laundry powder. Leave it for a few hours and drain.

Then run as usual through a full cycle with laundry powder and NO bleach this time. Some people like to add Hydrogen Peroxide to the final rinse to help neutralize the bleach. I didn’t bother.

Dry fabric as usual.

Part 2 – sewing the sofa cushions

Part 3 – sewing the body of the sofa cover

Filed under: Home Decor

About the Author

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Freelance writer, sewing enthusiast, and coffee appreciator living in NZ


  1. Ruth

    Hi there. Nice to see someone here in NZ blogging about these things. I love Miss Mustard seeed and sewed slip covers for our couch and two chairs by following herinstructions. I’ve also done a bit of refinishing and tried out the DIY chalk paint recipes. But it is often frustrating to try to “translate” things to the kiwi scene. I look forward to seeing what else you do.

    • Hi Ruth! Sounds like you’re quite the diy-er. Good on you! I agree, it can be quite challenging to find the same items here that you see on tutorials. The prices seem a lot higher here too. How did you get on with the chalk paint? Did it work? I’ve always wondered how successful they are. Thanks for reading and commenting. I always love a good blog comment.

      • Ruth

        Thanks for that. Funnily enough it was that post which led me to your blog 🙂 As for the diy chalkpaint, I have found it quite good. I use the plaster of paris method and it give a nice chalky, old fashioned paint look. I don’t really know how it holds up in the long run or how it compares to Annie Sloan

  2. Ruth

    Sorry, hit the wrong button… As I say I haven’t used real chalk paint so I can’t compare, but I quite like it. My latest experiment was painting union jacks onto stools I had covered with drop cloth. They turned out really great. Look forward to keeping up with your creative endeavours!

    • Oh wow, the union jacks sound amazing! Can I see pics? Did you have to add padding to the stools?

  3. Pingback: Slipcover Tutorial, part 2 – Cushions « Offsquare

  4. Pingback: Slipcover Tutorial, part 3 – Sofa « Offsquare


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