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Thinking about slipcovers

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I don’t know if my husband can say the same thing, but all this year, I’ve been planning to move out of our apartment once the one-year lease ended. That’s sort of just me. I start to get antsy after about eight months of the same house. It’s a problem, I know. I think (hope) that it would be different if we lived in a real house. But apartments feel fluid to me. It’s easy for me to feel like it’s no big deal to just pick up and move for a change of scenery. There are so many amazing neighborhoods to discover in NYC! Why not try them all!? I feel the same way about furniture. Just about the time I finish a project, I’m ready for something new. Truly, it’s a sickness.

This month we signed another year lease on our apartment, which was a little hard for me. I’m feeling that itch to start fresh. I think it’s because this year has been reeeaaaaaal busy for me and we still don’t feel very settled here. Our place is sort of decorated, but not very well, and it’s certainly not “designed.” It doesn’t flow. It’s not very organized.

Since we’ve decided to stay here in our less-expensive-than-alternative-apartments-I-was-looking-at place, I’ve got a little extra money each month to make this space work better for us. I can’t wait to share with you guys.

First up! A new arrangement for our living room. I’ll have to share all the nitty-gritty details later, but our tv broke and is causing us to rethink the seating arrangement. I’m thinking of ditching the gray sofa (that I got for free from Custom Sofa Design, which went under for a good reason) and shuffling things around a bit.

I will keep my Lee English roll arm for another decade or two (seriously people! Invest your decorating dollars in good quality upholstery!!!), but the currant color is not my favorite. It’s upholstered in Sunbrella’s outdoor velvet in Ivory, which I have been testing and “reviewing” for the past year. All in all, I give it an A-. It is super duper soft for an outdoor fabric. And it wipes down really easy. I have two problems with the fabric: 1) I don’t love the creamy beige color (that’s a personal problem though) and 2) I wash the cushions like once a week and the fibers are starting to pull out. Again, I sort of feel like this is a personal problem. I feel like I am not caring for the fabric correctly. So, if you’re in the market for a kid-friendly velvet I recommend the Sunbrella – just maybe not in the Ivory color and also don’t wash it more than every other month and make sure to air dry.

So, I’m realizing I might be a slipcover girl. As much as I try to keep the food and beverages in the dining area, the kids forget almost daily. Evie unbuckles herself from the Stokke and walks around with her PB&J. No bueno for the rug and the upholstery. But I love throwing the cushions of the Lee and the gray sofa in the washer and having brand new couches once a week or before guests come over.

Wow, this post is getting chatty! Anyway, point is, I’m planning to slipcover the Lee in white denim or duck or heavy linen so I can bleach it. I would love something like this with little box pleats (from the Windsor $mith collection)…

Sort of reminds me of this sofa (anyone know the maker?):


Cole and Sons


Decor8

I think the white slipcover will be obviously a little more casual, and a little girlie. But the plan is to pair it with more masculine elements – like a boxy settee and more modern club chairs. (Which reminds me – anyone interested in a pair of navy bergere chairs? I told you it was a sickness.)

So, have you sewed a slip cover for your sofa before? I’ve done chairs before, but nothing this big. I’m thinking between the size of my couch, the roll arms and all those little box pleats, this one might be a job for the professionals. What do you think?

Also, anyone else out there with a similar case of Wanderlust? Am I the only one who craves constant change?

What did you think?
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89 thoughts on “Thinking about slipcovers

  1. I you do a slipcover, please do a tutorial! I found your other upholstry tutorials very helpful. Our couch is in desparate need of a slipcover…I'm a little nervous to make one myself, it's much bigger than a chair! I've even thought about making one first in muslin…so I don't screw it up.

  2. I love the pleated slipcovers. Any idea where I can purchase sunbrella velvet online? I've been searching for kid friendly dining chair upholstery and this might be it.

  3. My poor mother, bless her, is a slave to my slipcover desires and I've got her on a new project nearly every 6 months. After years of struggling with a twill set that seemed to be magically shrinking to miniature, we had a set made for two loveseats out of this fabric. If you like a little texture, it is amazing! They retained their shapes and sizes through 3 years of frequent washing and drying and are likely still living a happy life in a new home. http://www.ballarddesigns.com/quilted-white-fabric-by-the-yard/fabric-by-the-yard/solids/42030

  4. yes! I am the same way with furniture and wall paint…by the time i get everything "done", i'm ready for the next look. its terrible.

  5. Just finished slipcovering my beige sofa. Almost killed me. But I'm a hack sewer and I did it. Used Target sailcloth curtains. No hemming.

  6. It is an illness! Our poor husbands.

    I convince my husband that we need this or that, then after a month decide it's not what I wanted. We're on our third couch in a year and a half!

    What's the cure???

  7. I literally JUST finished my bedroom and am now on the hunt for new accessories. I blame the blog world – you're constantly on the hunt for new and exciting things to post about and all of a sudden, your stuff looks old and not as exciting :)

    I love the slipcover idea – especially the pleating. I'm eventually looking to redo my living room (again) and am definitely wanting to change up the upholstery without buying a whole new couch.

    Let me know if you figure out a way to do on your own – I'd be interested in how you approach!

    Kate
    Change of Scenery

  8. I am so the same way. Yesterday I listed the majority of my furniture on the classifieds. I want to sell it all and start over. It must be the constant exposure to such beautiful spaces that it makes us crave change too often!

  9. I'm the same way, get something new, ditch something else, decide I don't like the new item and get rid of it. My Man says he was sort of disturbed by my lack of attachment to things, but they are only things. As for moving, I'll stay put. But I know what you mean because I moved almost every single year I lived in NYC…8 times to be exact. Now that I have a real house, I'm in for the long haul.

  10. Are you crazy ? You JUST upholstered those chairs! They are GORGEOUS! You have to keep those at least for a little longer :) I know you can pull off the slipcovers yourself but what a job! Outsource that project and save yourself some sanity :) I look forward to your blog everyday.

  11. Oh I can relate! We just bought a home which I love, love, love, however the other day said to my husband that we may need to move someday to have more space when our children get bigger. Needless to say, he didn't like that! He says I'm always on to te next thing, and truth be told…I am! I think it makes life more interesting! :)

  12. I am in the process of making slipcovers for my big ol' goodwill sectional. I'm using canvas dropcloths I got on sale from Ace. That's just the only fabric I can afford right now and the spot and smudges are making me crazy. This is my first real sewing project (I did make one pillow case with some help at a church project once). I'm using my mother-in-laws old sewing machine and I'm thinking if I can do you you most definitely could do it.

  13. Have you tried bleaching a higher quality canvas drop cloth? I am currently in the process of trying this to slip cover 2 chairs. It gives you a very inexpensive, sturdy, white canvas

    Beth B.

  14. I'm no help on the sofa issue but I am amazed at the amount of changes you've done on that place, did I read that you put up partition walls? And especially when you only wanted to be there a year! To me it would seem a silly thing to customise furniture (bookshelves etc) if I was thinking of moving again, not to mention the expense. I couldn't justify it, either the money or the effort. But then I guess that's what makes us all different.

  15. while i have re-uphed a sofa, it was a clean lined mid century modern, and i used the old uph. as a template.

    the first 14 years of marriage we moved every year for the same reasons. and then we bought a house, ripped it apart and cannot move even if we wanted! we still have to put it back together.

  16. Long time reader first time commenter :-)
    I totally get the wanderlust…I have been "thinking" about buying a house FOREVER but the thought of settling down permanently kinda freaks me out. I currently have a great apartment that has the square footage of a house but went "off lease" 2 years ago so I can skip out at a moments notice.
    Also, your post about slipcovers couldn't be more relevant in my world. I currently have a red sofa, loveseat and chair that I am dying to cover in an off white cotton duck.
    Sorry so wordy I was all fired up from your post :-)
    Joanna
    http://www.bananaandbubby.com

  17. I love the box pleats, and have a slipcover from Pottery Barn with box pleats, but let me warn you– if you wash your slipcovers as much as you say you do, you will be ironing those box pleats EVERY SINGLE TIME. Just something to think about

  18. The wanderlust is alive and well in this house. We have moved 6 or 7 times (both coasts and across the country twice), in 12 years and about to have our 5th kid. When my husband came home and said he was applying for an exec. position in Belgium, I said "Can't wait!!!". Think it might be a little hard on my 9yr old daughter, though… she wants to stay in one place:(

  19. Oh, I completely sympathize–only I don't have wanderlust, I have decorlust. There's always new trends to try out, new styles to experiment with, new inspirations… I'd redecorate every week if I could!

    Love your blog, by the way. Talk about inspiration! :)

  20. I have made many slipcovers…3 different sofa slips…just for myself. Go for it! Slipcovers are so versatile and kid friendly. Mine are white and I do use bleach on them…esp. when my beagle jumps up on them with her muddy paws! Do I mention they were pet friendly too? Can't wait to see your sofa all slipped up!

  21. Do it! I have a very similar slipcover on a chair, with kickpleats in ivory duck that has been washed so many times that it's almost white. I love slipcovers and the chair sits with a slip covered camelback sofa in my breakfast nook. Why have a table and chairs when you can have a cozy coffee shop set up right in your own kitchen. I had mine made because I can't sew at all but I love them and with a teenage boy, wash mine all the time! Good luck!

  22. I;m a huge advocate of slipcovers and have them on almost every piece of furniture in my house. i love the new, clean sofa once a more or more – whenever i need it. can't imagine living with jeans you never wash for five years – same things with the sofa and chairs.

    move once a year? how lucky! we've been in this house over 17 years and wow. wow. can't imagine. i do redecorate about every five years or less it seems, everything is always in flux.

  23. I have the exact same sofa as you and I opted to order the slipcovers for it in white duck directly from Lee Industries. I debated going with the pleats and opted instead for the straight skirt option- which doesnt fall all the way to the floor–instead. As it turned out, Lee accidentally sent the pleats which I sent back for the correct skirt, but i did try it on my sofa (and the matching armchair) and it defunitely is lovely but gave off a shabby chic, feminine vibe.
    Anyhow, the coveralls wash up beautifully and surprisingly dont show as much dirt as one would expect given the white color. I shopped around with upholsterers but decided since i waned a tailored, tight fit to go straight to Lee for it.
    Anyhow, good luck!!

  24. I am always craving change. I have two sets of neutral slipcovers so it makes it easy to change things out. They are a life saver when you have kids. After a laundering they look so fresh-makes less stress for everyone.

  25. Forgot to mention- I priced out ordering a slipcover from Lee industries "coveralls" collection. I priced it through crate and barrel since that is where my sofa was originally purchased. They have a design that looks identical to the windsor smith cover (or is her cover for Lee?). If I remember correctly the cover was around 2k, but c&b has a sale (I think usually in the fall?) on furniture that brought the price down to around 1500. Not a terrible price, but my diy cover cost me less than $50 to make!

  26. You selling those gorgeous chairs! You ARE crazy.

    No I'm kidding. I think it's good to be settled for another year. Should be interesting to see how you change things up in the apartment.

    Whereas I'm thinking about breaking my lease and moving after month 9….

  27. I would LOVE to see some kind of slipcover pattern or recommendation for rolled arm/Bridgewater sofas. I currently own a traditional-looking one as a loveseat in a white/gray damask (thrift store find) and I need a better way to keep it clean. However, I've tried all the typical loveseat slipcovers and they just don't work. I look forward to a followup post!!

  28. I'm a big fan of the ruffle at the bottom of those slipcovers! Great idea.

    Sewing a slipcover isn't very difficult. I took fabric and draped it over my couch, pinned and cut and pinned and cut, drew some lines with a fabric marker and sewed it. It's not too bad if you aren't doing a pattern. But you also have to make sure that your sewing machine can handle the thickness of the fabric you're sewing (I used canvas and my regular sewing machine handled it just fine).

    Hope this helps! I love all of your furniture refinishing posts!

  29. I think we were separated at birth! I'm a moving fanatic as well (we've moved about 21 times) and even in the 4 years in Ireland, we lived in 4 different places!
    I sewed up a slipcover about 10 years ago for my sofa and chair. Not that difficult, just time-consuming and a huge amount of fabric to handle in an apartment.

    We sold our white slipcovered sofa before moving to Dubai and just purchased an English roll arm in natural linen. LOVE IT! My plan is to make a white slipcover for it as well and have already purchased the white twill fabric for it. After 10 years of white sofas, we just can't imagine not being able to just bleach out spots and have a "new" fresh sofa on a regular basis. The last time I made one I swore never again, but how soon we forget about the bad parts!

    I've got 2 leather club chairs I'm going to slipcover as well so let's see if I have any sanity left after all this! :)

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