Slipcovers are an easy and inexpensive way to modernize older furniture and update the look of your room. Save money when redecorating by covering existing furniture with fabric that matches your new color scheme. Calculate your slipcover yardage and shop for fabric discounts, closeouts and sales. Slipcovers can also be made from old draperies. Look for sturdy fabrics that will hold up well and materials you can throw into your laundry to easily remove stains and dirt.
Launder and iron the fabric. If the fabric used to be drapes, rip the seams with a seam ripper and iron the fabric flat. If the fabric has a pattern or design, you will need to position the pattern carefully so it matches up on the seams as you make the cover.
Drape the fabric, face down, over the largest part of the chair or sofa first. Usually this will be from the spot where the seat back and seat cushion join, over the top of the seat back and down to the floor. Allow 3 inches of extra fabric at the floor hem. Allow extra fabric (6 to 8 inches) at the seam to tuck deep into the cushions if you are making a one-piece cover. A one-piece cover goes over the entire piece of furniture, cushions and all, and is the easiest cover to make.
Drape the second largest section next. This is usually from the back of the seat cushions forward and down the front to the floor. Allow 3 inches of extra fabric at the floor hem. Allow the same extra fabric measurement you used for the first piece at the seam for tucking in a one-piece cover. Pin the seam using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
Drape and pin the fabric over the arms last. You will need to trim the fabric to follow the line of the furniture. Allow for extra tucking fabric along the inside arm seam where it joins the side of the seat cushion fabric.
Go over each pinned seam. You want the cover to fit well. It should be fitted on all seams except those around the inside where the cover tucks in between the cushions and the back and arms. The hems should be long on all sides.
Remove the cover from the piece of furniture and sew the seams. Clip your corners and ease your curves. Turn the cover right side out and place it on the furniture.
Tuck the seams deep around the cushion edges until the cover fits properly. Note any adjustments. Make any adjustments for a better fit. Put the cover back on. Tuck it in, and it fits well, pin the correct hem length. Sew the hem, trim the seams and iron your cover.
Put the fresh cover on the furniture. Use rolled magazines secured with rubber bands pressed deeply into the tucks to hold the fabric in place.