How to Make a Pattern for Slipcovers

Slipcovers are removable fabric covers for upholstered chairs. They allow you to quickly and inexpensively alter the appearance of a chair without a permanent change. Slipcovers can be made at home with a sewing machine. If you make a pattern you can use it repeatedly to make slipcovers for multiple chairs or future covers for the same chair.

Slipcover patterns can be made with old sheets or discarded fabric.
    Cover the chair with the fabric.
  1. Unfold the fabric and cover the chair with it. The center of the large piece of fabric should be approximately at the top of the chair back. Tack multiple pieces of cloth together if one piece is not sufficient to touch the floor all around.

  2. Tuck the fabric into the creases.
  3. Mold the fabric into the creases of the chair and around the cushions. Readjust the fabric as necessary to make sure there is enough fabric all the way around to touch the floor.

  4. Pinch up the extra fabric at corners and cut off the extra layers.
  5. Gather the excess fabric at corners or edges and trim it off, adding an inch for future seam allowance. Use the straight pins to temporarily seam the fresh edges to make a boxy look.

  6. The back of the chair before trimming excess fabric.
  7. Pull the fabric tight in the back of the chair. Trim around the chair at the edges of the chair back to leave the back exposed. Measure the chair back and, with the excess fabric, cut a rectangular panel the size of the back plus an inch all around for seam allowance. Reattach the fitted back with straight pins.

  8. Repeat step 4 for the rectangular areas at the sides of sofas. You may have to make two seperate panels on each side: one for top half and one for the larger bottom.

  9. Trim off excess fabric around the floor edge, leaving an inch of extra length for seam allowance.

  10. Use a permanent marker to label each chair part while the pattern is still pinned on the chair.

  11. Unpin the fabric and remove the pattern pieces from the chair.


  • Do not use fabric that has a lot of stretch to make your pattern. Upholstery fabric is sturdy and will not stretch, so if you use a stretchy material to cut your slipcovers, the finished product will end up being cut too small.

About the Author

Margaret Bryant is a long-time resident of North Carolina. She has recently written extensively for GolfLink and eHow. She has been writing for publication since 1999. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language/literature.