Why I DIY
I am a DIY’er for two main reasons: I love the creative process and I operate on a budget. Home décor is a passion of mine that I must feed; I re-decorate more often than most. When I get the desire to change out furniture either inside or outside, I figure out a way to avoid buying anything brand new. Here is how I got two great chairs for my living room on a budget by making slipcovers.
Finding the Pieces: Know Your Personal Style
I regularly cruise Goodwill www.goodwill.org and other second hand furniture stores for cool finds. I crave a unique look, and am never aiming to be on trend, necessarily. I search for a mix of classic pieces and re-purpose items with a little hint of trendy accessories to keep everything fresh. For interior furniture, one can never go wrong with white slip covered pieces and just changing out the pillows and throws for a fresh and budget friendly update.
Odors and How to Make a Good Decision
I found matching chairs last winter in my local Goodwill that were disgustingly brown- corduroy, I believe, and super smelly.🤢🤢🤢 The lines on the chairs and the quality were spot-on, and so was the price. At $12.50 per chair, it was definitely worth the risk of bringing them home. Furniture odor is something you must consider when deciding to make a purchase for your home. I have found if the odor is cigarette related, it’s next to impossible to get the smell out (believe me, I’ve tried)! These particular chairs smelled distinctly like wet dog, not pleasant, but fixable.
Step 1: Cleaning
The first thing I did was set them up in my garage and clean them. I used bleach, which splotched up the brown upholstery pretty good, and two scrubs of Dawn dish detergent mixed with warm water. I let them bake in the direct sunlight to dry. This method worked beautifully, and when it was all finished, no more dog smell and I felt confident they were clean enough to be moved into my house.
Step 2: Choosing the Fabric
I ordered fabric from fabric.com in a white cotton duck. Choosing a solid makes it much easier to estimate yardage, as no pattern needs to be matched up when making cuts. Also, it’s important to consider thickness, and if the fabric will properly cover what’s underneath. Is it washable, stain resistant? Consider all of these things before buying, and be sure to buy a couple of yards over what you think you will need to make room for error.
Step 3: Sectioning
When the fabric came in, I washed it with hot water and dried it on high to go ahead and get the shrinkage out of the way, because I love to wash my slipcovers often to get them clean. I spent some time making loads of self-cording to have on hand because I love the custom look that cording gives to upholstered furniture. After that, I looked at the furniture in sections. I only cut one section at a time so as not to get too frustrated and overwhelmed. I simply looked at each section to examine how the lines ran and where I wanted the cording to be.
I also used lots of pins to join pieces together, lay them on the furniture to see how the lines were running, and then sewing: so lots of running back and forth from the sewing machine to the chair, one section at at time. I'll tell you, my brain was fully engaged during this part of the process!
Knowing Your Weaknesses
Weakness #1 for me was joining together two large sections and making it look right. What I did was I provided a few extra inches of fabric for these areas to be able to “tuck” the sections into the creases of the chair. This is important because when removing and using slipcovers, you must have a little slack. If it is too fitted, you will not be able to slip it on and off easily, which is frustrating.
Weakness #2 I knew about before starting: the box seat cushions. I say, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t. Well, the devil 👿👿👿 for me is a box cushion! I have never been good at sewing these, and almost always get them wrong. In order to alleviate this nightmare for myself, I simply dropped them off at my local alteration shop and paid to have this part done. #worthit
The End Result: Gorgeous
These chairs turned out so great! It took me awhile to sew the slipcovers, but I chose the dreary winter months to take this project on because if it is sunny outside, I’m going to want to be outside. I am not a trained seamstress. I am self-taught. This means it takes me longer to figure everything out, and slipcovers are a beast to sew, but so do-able. (If I can do it, anybody can)! I added some dainty little white folded trim to the bottom, purchased at my local Jo-Ann Fabric store for flair, and love how it turned out.
I ended up with a total investment of approximately $175 per chair. 😁😁 It took me about two months on weekends to get them done. I have washed them once, and have had no problems getting them back on. These chairs would have cost me probably $800-$1000 new for each chair, so the savings is enormous – plus, I get the satisfaction of knowing that I did this myself and it looks great! I would say definitely try this and to take your time. Walk away and do something else if you get frustrated. Message me if you hit a snag, watch YouTube videos, and have fun with the creative process!
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