How to Cover Furniture With Sheets and T-Pins
Slipcovering upholstered furniture with sheets is an easy way to hide ugly or worn upholstery, protect a fragile fabric, brighten a room, or lighten a room's furnishings in summertime. Because casual slipcovers or drapes made from sheets are less formal than tightly fitted covers, they can relieve a room of its dressy atmosphere and create a style sometimes called "shabby chic."
New and used sheets are widely available at a variety of prices, so almost anyone can afford this kind of casual slipcover.
Drape the king-size sheet over the center of the sofa or chair back. Pull one end forward across the seat cushions, and down nearly to the floor. Keep the sheet straight on the furniture, smoothing it over the upholstery as you proceed.
Tuck several inches of length behind the cushions. This allows the hemmed end of the sheet to cover the front of the furniture completely. Use a yardstick or a sturdy wooden dowel to anchor the sheet after you've tucked it tightly into the old upholstery.
Drape the remaining width of the sheet over the arms.
If the sheet is not wide enough to cover both arms, split a second sheet lengthwise and drape the halves over the arms. Arrange each half so that the hemmed side is toward the front of the arm.
Turn the unhemmed side under about an inch, and tuck the folded edge into the old upholstery. Use T-pins to secure it to the upholstery behind or under a fold. Tuck a generous allowance of fabric beside the seat cushion, as in Step 2, and anchor it with a ruler or a dowel.
Arrange the folds of sheet at the front end of each arm. There may be enough fabric to fall all the way to the floor. In this case, no further finish is necessary. If the sheet falls short of the floor, arrange the folds neatly and pin the excess fabric to the old upholstery at the bottom or side of the arm.
Secure the hanging portion of the sheet at the back of the couch with T-pins. Secure any loose corners with T-pins. The slipcover will not remain tightly fitted, but it should remain in place through reasonable wear.
- White sheets will not completely hide dark upholstery. Decorators recommend using a heavier white fabric, such as duck or denim, for complete coverage. A white quilted bedspread is also ideal, and some drapery fabrics work well too. Dark draperies tend to make great slipcovers.
- For a more presentable look, remove cushions before draping the couch or chair. Place each cushion in a square of fabric large enough to wrap the cushion just as if you were wrapping a gift. Secure the fabric with sturdy masking or duct tape on the back.
- The fabric you use to cover your furniture must be washable.
Karen W. Waggoner is a retired teacher and lifetime scribbler. She has published short stories, essays in anthologies and periodicals. Waggoner is the author of the memoir, "On My Honor, A Navy Wife’s Vietnam War." She is a graduate of Stetson University, the University of Connecticut and Christian College for Women.
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