Do you agree with this statement? Drop cloths are not used just for painting anymore. I sure do. Over the years I have used drop cloths for valances for my kitchen windows, napkins and place mats. I have sewed pillow covers, made stenciled coasters for summer soirees and Christmas parties. And one of my favorite ways to use drop cloths is for upholstery fabric and slip covers.
My newest project is covering the cushions on the wicker set in my sun room. I sprayed the chairs and ottoman white when I participated in The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest®. I absolutely love how they turned out. Well, of course, I couldn’t leave the original covers on the cushions. It didn’t go.
The go to material of choice is a drop cloth. It is a neutral color which I wanted and very sturdy. It will hold up to cats, dogs, children and anything else life throws at us.
But the thought of this project felt overwhelming. I have done small upholstery projects but this is the biggest one to date. And considering I am teaching myself as I go is very overwhelming. Truth be told because I tell you my successes along with my failures, I am not happy with the ottoman and need to redo it.
I started with the ottoman first and slept on it, no not the ottoman but my mistakes and what to do. I will tell my story of what I came up with.
The first step is to make a pattern. And now that I have the pattern, I can make a slip cover wardrobe. To make the pattern I lay the pillow on brown contractor’s paper and traced around it. The way this cover is constructed is the material folds over the top, side, and bottom. The material on the side wraps around it on 3 sides. Allow for a seam allowance. I used the original cover as my guide and duplicated the look.
Measure the side material and draw that on the brown paper and allow for the seam allowance. Continue to measure against the factory cushion. When you are satisfied you have it drawn correctly use the scissors you use to cut paper to cut out the pattern. I never use my sewing scissors for anything other than material so the blades don’t get dull. Pin the pattern to the drop cloth and cut with the sewing scissors. I got a 6 x 9 drop cloth and it was the perfect size for all 3 pieces. I also look for a tightly woven one. Not all drop cloths are created equal.
Continue to use the original piece as your guide. I sewed the zipper to the drop cloth first and created the side panel. For best results use a cut to size upholstery zipper. The next step is to sew the side to the top of the material of the cushion.
This is where I realized my mistake. When I sewed the ottoman cover I sewed it without fitting it to the ottoman cushion. So when I started with the chair cover I put the drop cloth one on the cushion and pinned and based it right side together. Then I sewed it and lo and behold when I turned it right side out and put it on the cushion it was perfect. Can you imagine my relief?
My Sewing Tips
Before you start the project, wash and iron the fabric.
What’s the old adage? Measure twice cut once. This is very true.
Iron seams open.
When the piece has a curve, clip around the curve so the fabric lays flat.
If the piece has a corner, clip the point off at a diagonal and iron open.
I feel like I made this sound so easy, I sure hope so because after I broke it down it was not as intimidating as I thought it would be. Isn’t it great that drop cloths are not used just for painting anymore? It is a stylish and economical way to learn how to reupholster. Now not only is the furniture updated but I have a pattern to use for more slip covers. I love it! Do you? Now I need to sew new pillow covers.
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