If you are making your own slipcovers, the most important part of the process will be selecting and treating your fabric before you begin constructing your slipcovers. A well-made slipcover can last a long time, and carefully selected colors and styles of fabric can remain in style. So here are some common mistakes you should try to avoid before you make your slipcovers.
Not Pre-washing Your Fabric
If you are making slipcovers for your furniture that you intend to wash in the future, then the first thing you should do when you get your new fabric is wash it. This is because even preshrunk fabric can sometimes shrink, and if your slipcovers shrink after you have already made them, you will be left with slipcovers that bunch your pillows and don't fit over your solid pieces.
If you intend to wash your slipcovers at home in the future, you should start by washing them on the settings and with the same detergent you plan to use in the future. Only then should you begin measuring, cutting, and sewing.
Pre-washing Linen You Want to Look Crisp
There are times, however, when you will not want to pre-wash your fabric. If you want your slipcovers to maintain a very crisp, finished look, then you will want to keep the factory sizing, which is a starch put into the fabric while weaving, in tact. Removing the initial sizing by pre-washing linen will make your slipcovers look more casual and rumpled. However, if you do not pre-wash your linen, you will have to dry clean your slipcovers every time you want to wash them.
You can achieve a somewhat similar appearance by applying laundry starch to your slipcovers and ironing them into the shape you desire after washing, but it may take a few tries to learn the optimum amount of starch for your fabric.
Selecting Fabric That Is Too Lightweight or Low-quality
If you are sewing slipcovers for the summer, you may be tempted to select a lightweight cotton fabric. However, if you select lightweight fabric or low-quality fabric with short fibers, then your slipcovers will not hold up to everyday use and regular washing. Additionally, the color or pattern of your upholstery beneath the slipcovers may show through. Occasionally, you may be able to feel the texture of the upholstery through your slipcovers, which some people may find uncomfortable.
It is best to choose high-quality linen, chenille, or cotton duck for your slipcovers. Mattelasse styled fabric is also a good choice for a durable fabric.
Underestimating How Often You Will Have to Wash White Slipcovers
Many people desire the crisp, coolness that white slipcovers provide. They can make rooms look spacious, open, and chic. However, white slipcovers tend to collect a lot of stains, even through everyday use. Things you might not expect to cause staining, such as body lotion, can cause white slipcovers to look drab over time. You should consider off-white or neutral colors instead of white, or be prepared for frequent washing and repairs of your slipcovers.
If you do decide to make white slipcovers, you may want to make two sets, to have one available while the second is being laundered.
Using Too Much Printed Fabric
Slipcovers seem like an accent piece, so many people select heavily patterned fabrics for them. However, if you are making slipcovers for a couch or a furniture set, the patterns may quickly overwhelm your room. You may want to consider choosing subtle striped patterns or textured solids as opposed to busy fabrics. The exception to this is when you have small children or pets and hope to use the patterns to hide potential stains.
Avoiding these five mistakes will help you get started making long-lasting, fashionable slipcovers. You can also ask the salespeople in your local fabric store for more tips on fabric maintenance and care.