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

By Jennifer Chappell
September 10, 2002
Shelley Metcalf

Decide if a piece is worth covering. Gina says people shoulddecide if they really like the sofa's silhouette. If not, don'tbother.

Wash a fabric swatch to test for durability and shrinkage,before you have it made into a slipcover. Gina recommends allowing10 percent for shrinkage. For example, "If your upholsterer saysyou need 20 yards, buy 22."

Ask for the pattern. Many upholsterers make a muslin patternbefore they make the real slipcover. You can use it for otherslater.

Choose fabric thick enough to hide original upholstery. Lay thenew material over the old in bright sunlight to be sure you can'tsee through it.

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

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