How to Make Sofa Cover Patterns

If the sofa no longer fits the style of the room, or if you want to change the color scheme of the room, a slipcover can be much less expensive than replacing the sofa.

A new cover gives an old sofa a new life.A new cover gives an old sofa a new life.
A good-fitting slipcover starts with an accurate pattern. Making one takes some time and attention to detail, but the result will be a pattern that you can use repeatedly.

Measure each section of the sofa and record the measurements. Measure the back: side to side and top to floor. Measure the inside back: between the arms on the sofa and from the top to the deck. Measure each arm: from the front of the arm to the back and from the deck up and over the arm to the floor. Measure each front piece: inside the arms and from the floor to the place where the deck and inside back meet. Measure the front of the arm at the widest point, and from the top of the arm to the floor.

Add 4 inches to each measurement and cut the pattern fabric to these measurements. Write the name and dimensions on each piece, and center the piece in its appropriate location on the sofa. Pin the piece in place, pinning into the sofa, pinning at least once every 8 inches in each direction.

Insert pins to hold adjacent pieces in the same position as the seam to be sewn. Pin snugly to the sofa outline except around the deck where the pins are placed away from the sofa at least 3 inches. The extra fabric is tucked into the sofa and helps hold the finished cover in place. Fold excess fabric into pleats where necessary.

Trim the excess fabric away, leaving a 1-inch seam allowance. Indicate registration marks on all pieces. For example, write an "A" on the inside arm on the seam line, and a corresponding "A" on the inside back at the same place on the seam line. These registration marks indicate what sections sew together and what points on each seam must match. Indicate on each piece a directional arrow pointing up, to the top of the sofa back, or up to the top of the arm.

Draw a line all around the perimeter of the cover pattern, up from the floor the depth of the skirt less 1 inch.

Remove the cover from the sofa. Remove pins, from the bottom upward on one of the back corner seams if more ease is required to remove the cover. If pins are removed, this opening must be completed with a zipper or hook and loop tape on the actual cover. Cut around the bottom perimeter on the drawn line.

Remove all the pins and gently press the pieces flat.

Things You Will Need

  • Fabric tape measure
  • Pen and paper
  • Pattern fabric
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Ruler


  • Use lots of pins to secure the pieces to the sofa. A better pattern will result if the fabric does not shift when being pinned.


  • Test the marking pen of your choice to be certain it does not soak through the pattern fabric to the sofa.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.