Slipcover Tips

Shelley Metcalf
If you're working with an upholsterer to design slipcovers for your furniture, consider this practical advice from Gina Ellis.

Decide if a piece is worth covering. Gina says people should decide if they really like the sofa's silhouette. If not, don't bother.

Wash a fabric swatch to test for durability and shrinkage, before you have it made into a slipcover. Gina recommends allowing 10 percent for shrinkage. For example, "If your upholsterer says you need 20 yards, buy 22."

Ask for the pattern. Many upholsterers make a muslin pattern before they make the real slipcover. You can use it for others later.

Choose fabric thick enough to hide original upholstery. Lay the new material over the old in bright sunlight to be sure you can't see through it.

Heavyweight fabrics, such as denim, last longer. Use a weight of at least 10 ounces.

Don't be afraid of white. With bleach and other whiteners, tough stains will disappear.

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