How to Sew Sofa Covers

Written by michelle powell-smith
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If you have a good quality couch that still feels good and has years of life left, but is out of style or worn, making a custom sofa cover can be an ideal solution. Sofa covers can also allow for ease of laundering or just a change of appearance for your room. You should be prepared for this project to take a substantial amount of both time and fabric; however, the sewing skills required are not especially difficult or complex. Expect to make a cover for the body of your couch and separate cushion covers for the most durable and practical end result.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Muslin or old sheets
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Tape measure
  • T-pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Piping cord and trims as desired
  • Upholstery zippers

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  1. 1

    Measure your sofa to determine the required fabric yardage. A simple sofa with only three cushions may take as little as 19 yards of upholstery fabric and a six cushion sofa with a gathered skirt as much as 27 yards. Always purchase an extra yard or two to allow for problems and matching patterns as needed. You will also need to decide whether you want a skirt for your sofa cover and what type of skirt.

  2. 2

    Use muslin or old sheets to develop your basic couch pattern. Remove all removable cushions from your couch and begin draping and pinning your sofa cover pattern into place using T-pins to create the shape and adding darts as needed. Baste together and try your sofa cover on. If you are happy with the fit, cut away the excess fabric and remove basting stitches. These fabric pieces will serve as your couch cover. You may be able to simply create patterns for the arms and sides and use measurements to create a pattern for the centre of your sofa.

  3. 3

    Check over your pattern pieces and measurements carefully. Cut your sofa cover from your upholstery fabric and sew together. Be sure to mark and sew all darts for a proper fit. Add piping or cording to seams for a professional look. Use ties, Velcro or a zipper at the center back to secure your slipcover.

  4. 4

    Remove your current sofa cushion covers. Trace these onto your upholstery fabric, disassembling the cover if needed. Cut out and assemble your couch cushion covers, using a zipper to secure the cover. Separate cushion covers will make your slipcover look custom made for your couch, or even allow it to pass for upholstery.

  5. 5

    Give your finished slipcover a final pressing. Put your slipcover on the couch. It should fit neatly and snugly. Add cushions and decorative throw pillows. Your new sofa covers can add seasonal colour to your home, revitalise a tired space or allow you to revamp a great vintage sofa.

Tips and warnings

  • Make chair or loveseat covers using the same basic pattern making strategy.
  • Denim or cotton duck also work well and are quite inexpensive.
  • If you have children or pets, be sure to choose washable fabrics.
  • Pre-wash your upholstery fabric if you expect to launder it in the future.

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