Slipcovers? Swim noodle? :)

anele_gwFebruary 9, 2008

I am thinking of getting cheap slipcovers for my sofas-- can't sew/can't afford custom. My main concern is that they look sloppy after you sit on them once or twice, and they need to be fixed.

-Are there some good (cheap) ones out there?

-I read on Overstock (in the reviews) that a swim noodle keeps them in place. Does that really work?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Does your sofa have loose seat cushion(s)? If so, you can order slipcovers to fit underneath the seat cushions and have separate covers made for the cushions so everything stays in place. The custom option at the following link costs about twice what the ready made cheap ones cost but are still way less than full custom.

I'm getting ready to order some of these, so can't comment on the quality. I did order fabric swatches and liked 2 of the samples but thought the 3rd one was a little cheap looking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slipcover Shop

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 10:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I was thinking of the separate bottom cover, too. I am just afraid it will still look sloppy. I see ads on craigslist for slipcovered furniture and ugh-- not good. Like this:

and this:

Not so good.

I like the ones from Stretch and Cover, though . . . but maybe they are still messy looking IRL!

Here is a link that might be useful: Stretch and Cover

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's a link for extra fitted slipcovers available with the companies furniture . They are still twice the price of unfitted. But in the long run, the extra price is well worth it. Most of the 'name' slipcovers/throws are made of flimsy fabric which do not last and look like your examples shown. The majority of fitted/taylored slipcovers are heavier fabrics.

I was going to link you to sofacollection. They had great prices and bought 3 sets from them for my couch at 200 a set. Separate cushions, fitted and heavy twill. Sadly this company has gone away. I would have bought from them again even with a price increase. Irritating they are out of business.

Try a search for slipcovered furniture. Many manufacturers will sell additional slipcovers. A new site found is which has discounted prices on known brands. Even if the style is not exact, a slightly larger measurement will work. You can add padding over arms and in the cushions with little extra expense.

Bottom line is a good fitted slipcover will run at least 450 - 500. Ebay has a lot of the fitted slipcovers listed from major companies less than this, but I haven't gone this route so can't rec.

Here is a link that might be useful: slipcovers

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tip...get yourself some batting and add that to your sofa & cushions, this helps bulk it up a bit so those slip covers fit better.

I had the separate cushions option from Surefit...they don't have the option I had on their online ad now, but I liked this a lot better than the one piece kind. If you can't get batting, use an old blanket, anything to bulk it up, and you'll get the fit shown in the ads.

When my kids were small I was a slipcover maniac. I used a broomstick to hold the cover down, but you do need a good strong man to wedge it down!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone. It is good to know the reality-- you get what you pay for.

Even though, like I said-- I don't sew-- I think I am going to get a book about how to sew slipcovers. If I'd just learn to sew, it would open up SO many decorating options. I know the fabric will still be expensive and with 3 little children I barely have time, but it might be worth it to at least try.

Here is a link that might be useful: Simply Slipcovers

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Anele.

Don't let the fact that you don't really know how to sew stop you from tackling a slipcover. I looked at those ones in the link, and they still look makeshift to me, and I figure that anything that actually fits and isn't visibly tied on would be a step up from that.

I didn't know how to sew either, but I've seen it done on TV, so I figured what the hell? If it came out awful, I just wouldn't claim it as my work. I didn't have an instruction book or a video, or any experience at all in sewing beyond reattaching a stray bittom or two, but I had a Sunday New York Times to use to make a paper pattern to see how much fabric I needed for each piece, then I just cut the individual pieces out, pinned them inside out to the sofa with a zillion straight pins that I inherited in my grandmother's sewing box, and sewed it up right there on the sofa, then cut off the excess & turned it inside out. It ain't rocket science.

I remmeberedehearing people say to make a test slipcover out of muslin first, but I didn't bother, partly because I don't have bolts of muslin laying around the house, and partly because I didn't feel like going through the whole process twice. Once was bad enough. I bought a Surefit slipcover in a heavt matelasse & another big chunk of the same fabric for a cushion cover, then ripped apart the cover they sent & remade it. Total time, one weekend.

Just one word of advice. Pre-shrink your fabric. I didn't, and although it's easy enough to get this puppy off when the weather turns cool in the fall, it's a bear to get back on in the summer. I wash it in cold, them put it on still wet so it shrinks to fit, kind of like the way some people do with jeans.

Anyway, as long as you do that first, you can yank your slipcover off & wash it anytime. Be sure to post pics. Two last bits of advice: stock up on Band-Aids first, and always wash out bloodstains with COLD water, not hot. I'm just sayin.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, magnaverde, that's pretty impressive. Did you hand-sew all that? I've been looking at some couches like that but they were in dire need of reupholstery and I'm just not up for that.

I have grown to really hate my regular Surefit cotton slipcover - it sags and bags and just generally looks like crap. It's better than a throw-over but not by much! We're getting the back creeping down as well as the seat coming untucked. Rubber mesh shelf liner under the slipcover, big safety pins, and that stiff foam pipe insulation (since we had it around, kind of like a skinnier version of the swim-noodle thingy) didn't do much, we're still constantly fooling around with it. Maybe we don't sit neatly enough. :-) I bit the bullet and ordered a couple of stretch slipcovers from Overstock (the washable velvet ones) and I'm going to see how those go. I think the stretch type is pretty much all that would fit my rather-oddly-shaped loveseat, unless I did what Magnaverde did. Thankfully shipping was only $1.99 so I'd really only be out return shipping. I looked at Surefit's separate-seat covers but they didn't have anything suitable for my living room.

I have fabric swatches on the way from Stretch and Cover for my wing chair, but their fabric selection is very narrow, especially if you do want the separate seat cushions. Still, the prices are reasonable.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

magnaverde, you are such an inspiration! Gorgeous looks you have going on. What did you use to close the cushions? Putting in a zipper seems scary. Maybe I'll "stick" to Velcro, hahaha!

ITA about not doing the muslin thing. It seems like it would take way too long to do it all twice, and I can only get a moment here and there as it is. Newspaper is an excellent idea!

johnmari, I found some stuff that may help your issue. Never tried it, just stumbled across it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fitting Pretty

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One way to tighten up a sagging slipcover, or attach a bedskirt or sheets is to use those twisty corkscrew pins. Don't use them in children's rooms, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Twisty Pins

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I did the same as you...found two slipcovers on sale by accident that were the exact color/fabric wanted. Used one to make the cushion covers. Had to tweak the arms a bit and take in some overflow. But turned out well for a casual look. Far less expensive than buying the fabric too.

Oceana's suggestion is right on. She always is. Those pins work great and have been around forever. Many forget they exist. Didn't they first come out for pinning doilies to sofas/chairs? Memory of yore.

As for learning, link below is a thread which may give you a jump start in trying to sew one on your own. Sometimes there are classes at community colleges in upholstery and sewing furniture covers. Depends upon the area one lives in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slipcover thread

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 9:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

and always wash out bloodstains with COLD water, not hot. I'm just sayin.


I think a swim noodle would be too large in diameter. The company I bought my stretch slip covers from sends noodle-like stuff with the fabric, but it wasn't inexpensive. By the time I got done buying the separate seat covers, it was over $200 for a loveseat.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 10:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frank on Trading Spaces always recommended using PVC pipe to hold slipcovers in place. I've been meaning to buy some to try out on my new slipcover.

Surefit has these plastic tucker-inner things you can buy, but they were't cheap. I figured I'd try the pipe first!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made a sofa slipcover a number of years ago that we have used until it is no longer presentable. It was my first slipcover, although I have done other types of sewing for years. I used Singer's book, "Sewing Projects for the Home", which has excellent step-by-step instructions and good photos.

I made a main cover to fit underneath the single, loose seat cushion and a separate seat cushion cover. To keep the base cover in place, I used long strips of foam, cut from leftover cushion foam, and stuffed it in place. Strips were about 1" x 1" x whatever length I had available. I used several as needed. Worked great!

I did make a muslin pattern and yes, it was extra work but not double, as you don't sew the muslin, just use it to get the sizes of the pieces accurate. My thought at the time was that I would have the muslin pattern to use for additional slipcovers for a seasonal change of look or to replace the original one when it wore out. I'm not sure that newspaper would age as gracefully as the muslin and I paid only a dollar or two per yard for the muslin, as I recall.

Well, now the cover is worn out and I am looking to buy a semi-custom cover. The first project was a LOT of work and I'm evaluating the cost of the semi-custom one versus the "cost" of my time. LOL! I've actually looked for fabric but haven't found just the right shade of beige and Slipcover Shop's sample will work well for me (a tan denim).

Just my 2 cents worth ...

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 2:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I used the pvc pipe with rubber bands on them in surefit covers for our sofa and chair. It helped a little, but they still looked messy. I think we had to retuck every other day instead of everyday. Gave up. It was a relief to rid of the slip covers. I am hoping to get a custom made slipcover with separate seat cushions. Or make one. Sue

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 11:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you are going to make a slipcover, and you have children, I vote for denim (either white/bleach is a wonderul thing! or blue)or twill fabrics. All should be available in a variety of colors, and are relatively inexpesive. I did a white and a blue denim for my family room couch. Now going on 7 years and tons of kid/teen use, still going strong and looking decent. Just my two cents worth!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oceanna, too bad I can't use those pins around children! They look great!

I just thought I'd pass this on to anyone thinking about a cheap ready-made slipcover . . .I cannot attest to the quality, however, since I do not own one. JC Penney carries 2 piece sets made out of twill. I also found a coupon for 15% off, so for a sofa, loveseat, tax, and shipping, it came out to about $145 TOTAL. Pretty good, I'd think, considering that it is for everything and they are each 2 piece sets. They may be horrible, though, so in that case $145 is expensive!

The coupon code is MGP79.

They also have 2 piece ones made out of other materials, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Twill Slipcovers

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 9:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anele, yes, the quality is up for grabs. Even though they say "twill", my guess is stretchy polyester with a twill look. The cushions covers use elastic for a fit, they aren't full covers with seams. The pic shows fitting a couch perfectly. Also they didn't mention the fabric content and it said "may be washable or not".

Think the bottom line on slipcovers is cost, how they will be used, what the buyer is willing to accept. Suggest looking at slipcovers in person due to the varied fabrics and quality of work. There are so many options available now. And my bottom line is taylored to the furniture. It can be more expensive, but looks so much better and lasts far longer.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 8:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

emagineer, for the twill covers, the site actually does say they are 100% cotton:

100% cotton is stain-and wrinkle-resistant.

I know other higher priced items would be better/last longer, but sometimes if there just isn't the $, there isn't the $. When we bought furniture for my girls, my mom said-- don't buy from IKEA. It's so cheaply made. Get quality. Well, we did not have hundreds to spend per dresser, so we did get IKEA dressers (wooden ones) and they look cute, work well after 3 years so far. No regrets. Not saying this will be true for the slipcovers, but just putting the option out there for those who don't have $800+ for a slipcover.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 9:54AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Another example of a small house - living kinda big
This just happened to come across my view this morning...
MBR has been painted Wheeling Neutral!
Here's an update on our MBR paint color. Earlier this...
Help me find a new coffee table
Just before the Houzz migration, GWers helped me decide...
Red / burgundy accent wall?
Hi all! Would love your opinions on this ! My husband...
Can we talk about throw pillows?
I'm puzzled about throw pillows on sofas, loveseats...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™