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How to make upholstery arm covers for my sofa

Updated July 20, 2017

You have a new sofa, and your children immediately rub their sticky fingers on the arms of that beautiful upholstery. Perhaps the cat decides the arm of your sofa is the perfect nap spot and scratching place. To protect your furniture investment, arm covers are a simple solution and easy to make from the remnant fabric from your furniture manufacturer.

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  1. Measure the length you desire for the arm cover from front to back of the arm. Add 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inches) for a 2.5 cm (1 inch) hem on the end of the cover and a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) seam at the front.

  2. Measure the width across the arm. Arm covers usually meet the cushion edge on the inside arm and should hang evenly on the outside. Add 5 cm (2 inches) for 2.5 cm (1 inch) hems on either side.

  3. Trace the shape of the sofa arm's end, using pencil and paper. Add 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) all around for the seam. Cut out your tracing. This is your pattern for the arm cover end.

  4. Lay out your fabric. It is best to use a remnant from your sofa, but if you don't have a piece big enough, a coordinating fabric is fine. Mark the length and width of the sofa cover with your fabric pen or chalk. Use the selvege (side) edge of your fabric as a guide for the width so your cover will be straight with the grain of the fabric. Repeat for the other arm.

  5. Pin your pattern on the straight grain of the fabric. This means the pattern is alligned with the weave of the fabric. Trace your pattern and repeat for the other arm. Cut out your pieces

  6. Pin the cover to the end piece, with right sides together. If the arm end is round, clip the curve within the seam allowance to fit the pieces together. Stitch the end seam. Use a heavy-duty needle for heavier upholstery fabrics.

  7. Turn the arm cover right side out and check for fit. Make any adjustments necessary. Press your seam using a steam setting, but check your fabric content first to be sure it's OK for that much heat.

  8. Turn up 2.5 cm (1 inch) on the sides and end of the cover and 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) on the end piece and pin in place. You can sew the hem on the machine or by hand.

  9. Tip

    A dressmaker's ham is a helpful tool for pressing a curved seam. These are available in the notions department of your fabric shop.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil and paper for pattern
  • Tailor's chalk or fabric pen
  • Straight edge or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Fabric remnant from sofa
  • Sewing machine
  • Heavy-duty needle for your machine

About the Author

Jean Breeding is a freelance writer in Knoxville, Tenn. She is a former high school English teacher and has participated in writing seminars for teachers in Tennessee and South Carolina. She recently completed coursework to become a certified technical writer. Demand Studios is her first professional writing venture.

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