Welcome to Slipcover Week – an eight part series to show you step by little step on how to make slipcovers. Yesterday we learned all about the supplies you’ll need and how to make piping. This post is where we’re going to start working on cutting fabric, starting with the cushions. Thanks to Online Fabric Store for providing the beautiful fabric I used for this post!
There’s a million ways you can cut your fabric, but this is how I cut mine to make the most of every single bit of it. Below is a little graphic to show you how I cut it off of the roll.
Contrary to every single tutorial out there, I do not wash my fabric before sewing. I know… I know. I cut it straight off the bolt. But here’s the big secret: NEVER EVER EVER wash it in hot water. I ONLY wash slip covers in cold water and put them onto my furniture when they’re wet. As they dry it forms to the fabric and fits like a dream. (Please don’t send me non-fabric-washing hate mail. This tutorial is how I personally do them – so I’m spilling all of my dirty little secrets here.)
Starting on the end where the fabric comes off the bolt, first I cut my cushions, carefully lining up the fabric to get the most out of it that I can.
I trace the cushions out with a pencil, leaving 1/2 an inch around the edges for seams. More than that and you’ll have a mess. Half an inch is plenty of seam allowance. Trace them all out and cut along your lines. Wonky parts with arms, etc. will be a little harder, but trace them out just like square cushions, following along the lines of the original cushions.
With the side scraps, you’re going to cut out the edge pieces for the cushions. Measure the depth of your cushion, then add 1 inch.
Here’s my secret trick: My cushions were 6 inches thick. Two of these 1/2 inch thick, 4 inch wide boards from Lowe’s (which are actually 3.5 inches wide) add up together to make seven inches. Instead of measuring 7 inches from the side a million times, I used two of them side by side to get my 7 inch strip to go around my cushions. You could achieve the same result by measuring whatever size you need and cutting a template from cardboard (the 2/$1 kind for school), then use it to trace out your side pieces.
To get your zipper measurements, run your flexible tape around the length of the original zipper (or where you want it to be). These parts will be 1/2 the width of the rest of the cushion surround.
Line up the zipper portions on the selvage edge, so you can get a clean edge next to the zipper.
To get the rest of the cushions, use the full width (2 boards width – or 7 inches in my case.)
Once you get to the end of where you cut off your cushions, move over to the other side of the fabric (where you cut the piping) so you preserve as much of the selvage edge as possible for the skirt and base of the couch.
Want to see all the slipcover posts? Here ya go!