Sewing for the Home: Upcycle Your Hard Furnishings with Slipcovers

Nov 26, 2012

If there is one overriding peril of being a "dog-person," it is the extensive damage that needle-sharp puppy teeth can do to furniture. Indeed, one particularly energetic puppy named Chipper managed to chew through 4 chairs, 4 table legs, and the corner of a console in a very short period of time. Fortunately, he was a discerning puppy and only liked the reproduction furniture for dental fodder, but there was a thorough ring of puppy-height indents on what he did set his mind and teeth to. When he did this was a mystery to me, as he was either crated or under my watchful eye throughout his teething time. But he has proved to be a lightning-fast dog in many regards: catching lost dinner table scraps in mid-air, finding "treats" on the street, lunging for tennis balls, to name a few talents.

I am not one to throw out a gently loved furnishing, but I do like to keep up appearances. That's when I landed on the idea of slipcovering my hard furnishings.

     
Chipper preferred reproduction furniture. Too genius to toss: coffee table meets storage.
     
No more puppy teeth! The console is safely upcycled!
    
Along with lightning reflexes, Chipper has a great spirit of adventure. Here, shown tubing in middle age.
A slipcover can cover a multitude of sins and it can change up a room in no time. One usually thinks of slipcovers in relation to soft furnishings, but in reality anything can be slipcovered. (Ahh, if only life could imitate décor!)

I had a beautiful low red-stained console that was particularly genius for its double-duty service as coffee table and storage unit. At first, I tried to repair the puppy damage. I called the manufacturer and furniture repair stores, but no one had a stain to match. I even bought wood putty, but the lost console corner was too large to replicate. Someone suggested that I paint it, but the stain was too pretty to sully with paint.

In the end, I turned to my most reliable home décor solution: slipcovers.

As you can see from the picture of my console slipcover, this slipcover is really simple to make, with box pleats and cording around the console top edge. It's really only three key pieces and sets of measurements: the top, bias strips for cording, and skirt. Just remember to allow extra length and width for seam allowances, hemming, and box pleats.

And anytime I want to appreciate the former glory of my console, I just have to lift the skirt and ignore the chewed off corner.

Now if I can just figure out how to apply the principles of slipcover makeovers to the rest of my life!

For more home décor inspiration such as the Secrets of Home Decor Sewing video, check out  the Sew Daily Shop.

Are you a fan of slipcovers? Share any slipcover advice you have with us!

Happy stitching!

Amber Eden


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Comments

on Nov 26, 2012 11:42 PM

When I made slipcovers for two old wingback chairs I was undecided on which of three fabrics would be selected to sew these chair covers.  After many days of pondering, I ended up using all three : the solid green, the plaid,  and the calico print.   The three fabrics complemented eachother and gives a chic/country charm to my chairs. Unique and adorable!

ShirleyM wrote
on Nov 28, 2012 11:48 AM

This post really struck a cord with me.  When my dogs were puppies they chewed through a garden gate, the bottom of a shed door and the top of the panelling in a half panelled room.   I wish I could have covered these with a slipcover, LOL.

AmberStitch wrote
on Dec 3, 2012 2:15 PM

I know a golden retriever who chewed some siding off a house. Now that's some nervous energy!