Ottoman slipcover help?

thecitychickenOctober 30, 2005

Today I found a large square ottoman at a thrift store for $10. It's about 2 feet tall and about 3 feet across, in a perfect square. It is on casters. I gave it the sniff test and it didn't smell bad. :) It is sturdy and very flat across the top. I plan on using it as a coffee table, as is the style these days. Little kids can't fall down and bang their heads on the sharp coffee table if it's an ottoman. :) And it can be used for extra seating. I was looking for one, so I was enthused to find it. The fabric is old, so I will sew a slipcover for it. I can't think of much that is easier to sew than a slipcover for an ottoman. It'll be fun picking out the fabric. Heck, I'll sew two. I browsed a few ready made ottoman slipcovers on-line and they want $99 for decent ones. That's nuts. Anyhoo, has anyone out there ever sewed a slipcover for an ottoman before? I'm thinking a simple box. Nothing fancy. No gathers or pleats. I might put trim around the bottom or something. Does anyone know of a simple formula to figure out how much yardage I would need?

The dimensions are:

34.5" across x 19.5" tall.

(2'10.5" x 1'7.5")

circumference = 138"

There is 36" to a yard, correct? And fabric is usually 45" wide, correct?

If anyone is a math whiz out there and can help me figure out how much yardage to ask for, that would be great!

Thank you!

--Katy S.

Some pics of ottomans:

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I think that you would need three yards. One yr. for the top and two yds for the sides cut down the middle fold line unless the pattern wouldn't look good on the side. Then you would need to cut it in strips of 19.5" plus some for seams and hem.
You can get three cut fom 2 yds. 3x45=135 inches. the top only needs 36" square so you will have a 9 inch strip to add to the sides. 135+ 9 =144 inches. Will have extra for seams.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 9:55PM
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Here are a couple of links that might help you out a bit. One is to slipcover an ottoman. One is to reupholster an ottoman. The last one is actually directions to make and slipcover some foam furniture for kids ... but I thought it might help with ideas anyway. Good luck.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2005 at 5:52PM
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No advice, just nosey! How's it coming along? Share a photo when you get done, would ya?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 8:46AM
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DesArcYaYa, I would *love* to show you a picture -- I love using my digital camera -- but I haven't done a slipcover for it yet! And here's why: The ottoman is too large to fit in my car, so I left it at my sister's house. She lives next to the thrift store I bought it from. I went back there another day but this time took the car back seat out, and it *still* didn't fit. So I will get it next time I take the '72 van to the city. The bummer is the van only gets like 10 miles to the gallon. But I can't wait to work on my slipcover project!

--Katy S.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 1:15PM
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I slipcovered mine the easy way. I covered the whole thing with fabric and tacked it with nails on the bottom. Like you were doing a seat cushion. Then I got a piece of decorative rope and tied it around the middle, between the cushion section and the frame. Worked out great and looks good.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:39PM
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Katy, since you haven't already made your ottoman slipcover(s), I thought I'd throw a few ideas/suggestions your way.

You might want to consider upholstery fabric for the slipcover. It usually comes in much wider width... 54" is standard, also found in 52" and 48/50". Upholstery fabric is much sturdier than dressmaking and most drapery fabric. It will stand up to rougher treatment that an ottoman may receive. And you will probably have less waste in cutting it out, depending on the pattern and drop (if any).

You might want to reconsider NOT having any pleats... a simple box pleat at the corners would add a lot to the impact.

Be sure to check at your library for books on how to make slipcovers. You will find lots of ideas and help. If they have, for instance, So Simple Slipcovers by Gail Abbott and Cate Burren, you will find the instructions for the "Bedroom Stool Cover" on pages 140+ very helpful. It will tell you how to make a paper pattern to use to determine the yardage of fabric needed, etc.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 8:50PM
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You may be able to find some good used material at a thrift shop or second-hand store. I was at one of the shops locally here, and was amazed to find two slipcovers for my overstuffed chair. They are in perfect condition, made out of the washable suede material and I only paid $8.00 each for them. The covers I had priced online started out at $85.00 each. Now I am in the process of sewing a slipcover for my big ottoman to match. I will first check the thrift stores though, to see if I can find enough material to make one, and if not, I'll buy it at one of the local stores. Feel free to email me, and I'll send you pic's of the chair cover and one of the ottoman cover when I finish it. I'm keeping it simple. Good luck!
Sandy A.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 3:02AM
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Very interesting this thread came back up:) I just bought about 5 yards of off-white linen at a yard sale for .50 cents. I plan on dyeing it a soft antique golden yellow to slipcover my wing chair recliner. Even if I mess up, it's not going to be a big loss. If it comes out okay, I'll post a photo.
If I slipcovered an ottoman I'd turn it over and see if it was screwed on,if it was take it off and staple the top and sides. If not, I'd measure the top with a cloth tape measure and add at least 1/2" all the way around. The same with all the side pieces. Not sure if I'd cut separate pieces for each side, or try to use one length. Just whatever was going to look best.
I bought semi-fitted Sure-Fit slipcovers for my sofa and loveseat at They were really,really inexpensive there,cheaper than I could buy the fabric and attempt to sew them.
Here's a photo of the fabric. And some green toile I bought,too, I might use that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kudzu's Blog

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 6:31AM
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Hi, kudzukween. It looks like I first posted my ottoman question in 2005? Well, what's weird is that I cannot for the life of me remember that ottoman. I don't think I'm that senile yet; I'm only 39! But I can't remember that project! Suffice it to say, I certainly don't have that ottoman in my house. Did I ever even go and get it from my sister's house? I don't know! This is weird to me. Maybe something really stressful in my life happened right after that and so it got pushed out of my mind. But...I do have *another* ottoman in my new house here. I got it from a thrift store for $3. It's funny because I read above that I spent $10 on the first ottoman. I can't imagine spending that much now! I must be even more of a cheapskate nowadays. :) My current thrift store ottoman is rectangular. It needs a slipcover, too. It has a strange problem where the top cushion is sort of askew and I don't know how to fix it. Oh, well! ~~Katy

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:06PM
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Hey Katy, I have ottoman story for you. 5 years ago I was making cornices and drapes for my ex boss and she had this square ottoman she found in thrift store too. So she asked me to make a matching slipcover for it. Well, about 2 weeks after my son took his life and I was in shambles for long time and somehow I totally forgot about the damn ottoman. I just discovered in the garrage covered in plastic and don't know what to do w/ it. My ex boss probably don't even remembers it, she is over 70 and I don't need it. I hate to just throw it away. I feel bad I was thinking, maybe I should just make the slipcover and use it as a sample for my portfolio since I still have the fabric too. Maybe I can even sell it.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 4:43AM
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By all means put a fresh cover on it! It will make you feel good to find a pretty fabric and do a little sewing to give it a different look.

There are a couple of ways to recover an ottoman by either doing a loose slipcover or reupholstering. Both are easy. Just find a fabric you love love love and do something with it. Staple or sew. It'll do you good.

You can add some fluff to it if you tack on some batting. Also, if it has legs, try unscrewing them before you decide how to jazz it up.

I am always up for a little slipcover talk!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 1:01PM
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Don't skimp when buying the fabric, 3 yards should be more than enough. Upholstery fabric is 54" wide. One of the easiest ways to make your cover is take the old fabric off and use as a pattern (if you like the current style). Add an inch to all pieces for easier sewing and sew at least 1/2" in. This is because upholstery pieces are tighter and will give you an easy fit for a slipcover.

Use some inexpensive muslim and sew a mockup. This should probably be done anyhow for a cover under the slipcover.

There was a long thread on sewing slipcovers in this forum, but I couldn't find it through the search. A lot of good threads have disappeared. One of the posters here is really informative on the how-to. Hopefully she will chime in here.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 11:23AM
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Just a tip that might help those who are looking for inexpensive upholstery fabric. I've bot many, many yards of very good upholstery fabric from upholsterers which were left over from their jobs. I've paid an average of $3 per yard for fabrics which would have cost much more. They were of course in pieces but some were as much as 3 yards and none were less than 1/2 yard which is enough for pillow fronts or many craft projects. It's also possible to use 2 or 3 different but coordinating fabrics for one piece so one could have a very inexpensive upholstery project this way.

Definitely worth a phone call to a few local upholsterers.

I always wash these fabrics before using so the finished product may be washed.

Whichever fabric you use for an ottoman, I recommend also making a couple of cushions to tie the fabric to the general scheme.

I've also found free upholstery/drapery samples but that's another story! And a very happy find.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 8:58PM
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