Correcting Slipcover Problems - dummies

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

Whether your slipcover is too long or too short, too tight or too loose, there are ways to improve your slipcovers so they add charm to the room. Here, the biggest slipcover problems are solved:

  • Your slipcover is too tight: What if you’ve done your best to get a perfect, snug fit, but your slipcover ended up being too tight (you barely got it on, and you risk popping the seams if you sit on it)? If you planned a 1-inch seam allowance, get out your seam ripper, open up your seams, and resew them with a smaller seam allowance.

    If you didn’t start with a 1-inch seam allowance, don’t despair. Just add some strips of fabric (one with stretch, such as Lycra) in hidden areas of your slipcover to give it more wiggle room. By seeing where the fabric puckers — usually around the area where two seams meet — when you place it on your furniture, you can figure out where you need to add some give and how much you need.

  • Your slipcover has a crooked hem: After you fit your slipcover on your furniture, you may notice that your hem isn’t completely straight. Instead of starting over, consider adding a decorative trim to disguise a crooked hem. Choose a trim that will give you adequate coverage — a fringe trim (that has a decorative heading and a skirt) does the trick — so your mistake is fully covered.

    Pin your trim onto your slipcover while it’s still on the furniture, making sure that the trim is parallel with the floor, not aligned with the slipcover hem (which is crooked!). Try not to stretch the trim too tightly. Then remove it and sew or hot glue your trim in place

  • Your slipcover is too short: Ruffles can extend a too-short slipcover hem, giving added length to a slipcover while providing a softening, feminine touch.

    You can choose from a few ways when treating the bottom of a slipcover with ruffles:

    • The easiest way to attach a ruffle is to sew it on to the hem’s underside with a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

    • You can also attach the ruffle to the topside of the slipcover — the right side of the slipcover facing the wrong side of the ruffle and then add a decorative trim (one without a skirt) over the area where the slipcover fabric and ruffle meet.

  • Your slipcover slips and slides: Is your slipcover acting just a bit unruly? Elastic can help keep a sewn slipcover in its place. Attaching a few sections of elastic along the underside areas of your slipcover can go a long way toward preventing slippage.

    Your goal is to sew your elastic on so that it stretches along an area that hugs the furniture. Think of the way elastic sheet corners keep fitted sheets on your bed, or the elastic in a shower cap keeps it from slipping off your head.

  • Your slipcover has crooked seams: You may find that after you’ve finished making your slipcover and put it on your furniture, the seams are a bit crooked, or your slipcover lacks any oomph. You can add a trim over the seams to give your slipcover a great look and cover up any errors.

    Flat trims work best because they’re easy to apply; they also frame a slipcover nicely and provide contrast. However, fringe trims that hang down don’t work as well on vertical seams because the skirts go in the wrong direction, giving your slipcover a fuzzy or furry look instead of a chic one! Consider using a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch-wide ribbon; attach it with a zigzag stitch.