My blog was eerily quiet for a couple of days until I realized there was an error with the comments plugin! Well, it’s back up a running, so you can talk to me again.
Before the Chapel Market, I made a slipcover for an ottoman I found at a second-hand shop and promised a tutorial. The pictures were soon buried and I forgot all about it! I was digging through the depths of my Lightroom library and was reminded of my promise. So, here we go!
For this project, I used a couple of vintage textiles I’d been saving in my stash for just the right project. One was a piece of an old blue & white quilt with amazing stitching and the other was about a yard of antique cream homespun linen. The quilt piece wasn’t large enough to cover the top of the ottoman, so I needed to use pieces of the homespun on either side to make the top of the slipcover.
To do this, I centered the quilt piece on the ottoman and cut a piece of fabric large enough to complete each side, allowing for seams. I sewed the homespun on each side of the quilt square.
…and pressed the seams open, so they lay flat. I’m not someone who enjoys ironing, but it really is an important step when sewing.
See how nice the seam lays down when it’s pressed?
Now I have a solid piece of fabric to work with on the top. If you have a piece of fabric that’s large enough to cover the top, this first step is unnecessary.
Next, I made the piping. I think that custom piping is one of the details that makes a slipcover look “professional.” It gives it a bit of structure. To figure out how much I need, I use the cording and run it along everywhere I want piping, allowing for some extra just in case. In the case of the ottoman, I measured it around the ottoman twice – once for where the top meets the side and once for where the side meets the skirt. Once I know how much I need, I cut the same length of fabric in 2-3″ wide strips. I used the homespun for that.
Since the cording was longer than the strips of fabric, I sewed the strips together and, again, pressed open the seams, so they lay flat.
I wrapped the fabric around the cording and sewed it on with a zipper foot. If you get any special feet for your sewing machine, get a zipper foot! That is the key to sewing piping, so you can get the stitches right up against the cording. If you use a regular foot, the cording will flap around inside and, well, that would just look terrible.
I cut a length of fabric to fit around the side of the ottoman. Since I was working with a small piece of fabric, I had to piece three smaller pieces together. I prefer to make a “band” that fits around the sides of a piece like an ottoman or cushion before pinning it to the top. So, it’s in a complete circle, if that makes sense.
Put that “band” onto the ottoman inside-out (so the seams are pointing out) and put the top on upside-down. Pin the top to the sides, sandwiching the piping in between. I’ve said it a lot, but always double-check that your seams are all facing the same direction when working on a slipcover. The raw edges of the piping, top and sides should all be facing out.
It should look like this…
Sew along the pins, removing them as you go. Now the top is connected to the sides. (Note: where the ends of the piping meet, I just cross the ends and let them “disappear” into the seam. I’m sure there’s a more professional way to do this, but this method is simple.) Try the slipcover on right-side-out to make sure it’s fitting the way you want and the piping is stitched in properly. Sometimes I’ll try it on and realize something went awry. Don’t worry, though. There are few things a seam ripper can’t fix!
The pin on the piping that runs along the bottoms of the sides, where the skirt will be attached, and sew it on…
Next, cut the fabric for the skirt. I just wanted a little flirty ruffle, so I cut a piece of fabric about 3 1/2″ wide. I really do just eye-ball this kind of cut, but you can measure it out if that makes you more comfortable. I also didn’t measure out the length I would need, but made sure I had about 2 – 3 times the length of the circumference of the ottoman. Again, I was working with a small piece of fabric, so I had to piece several lengths together.
I folded the strip of fabric for the skirt in half width-wise…
(It didn’t matter with this fabric, but you want the right-side-out when folding it over.) Press that fold to hold it in place.
Pinch the skirt in a ruffle and pin it to the bottom (again, making sure raw edges are facing the same direction.) I didn’t pin this one in place, but just pinched and fed the skirt into the machine. I’ve made enough of these ruffle skirts that I can gauge how much fabric to feed.
Lastly, I clipped all of the threads and there you have it!
If you’re new to making slips an ottoman, stool or simple dining chair is a great place to start, so you don’t have to worry about arms and backs and zippers, buttons and ties. It’s pretty straight forward and you’ll learn basic construction skills that will translate to more complicated pieces when you’re ready.
I wasn’t planning to paint the legs on this ottoman, but they look a little out of place now that the dark floors have been sanded down.
I think they are in need of a little Mustardizing…