How to Make Slipcover for a sofa | DIY couch cover

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A step-by-step tutorial on how to make a slipcover for a sofa or couch. 

Did you ever consider how to make a slipcover to restore a beloved piece of furniture in your home? 

Plip plop. Plip plop. Whoosh! Beep, beep. Honk! Squawk!

Not the usual sounds you hear when you’re on your sofa. 

Except if your sofa is sitting outside in the rain, lonely and unprotected at the curb, evicted from its beloved home.

Your home. 

Where it sat comfortably for years, supporting your family through all your daily activities. 

Remember when you vacuumed wayward crumbs and found loose coins in its sturdy corners to feed the parking meter or pay for overdue library books?

While its structure is still firm and intact, your sofa now has a worn look, with tattered arms and cushions. 

One snide comment from your visiting aunt about a local furniture shop she simply loves hits its intended mark. 

And now, the sofa that happily tolerated endless reruns of your children’s favorite movies and buckets of popcorn has become an outcast.

But the story didn’t have to end that way!


Your sofa is still a valuable piece of furniture in your home. 

Instead of discarding it and paying thousands of dollars for a replacement, I can show you how to make a slipcover for it.

I finally finished a slipcover for my couch. The whole process took about a week to complete and it was not as painful as I feared. 

My new cover is a blue canvas – we originally wanted gray but we fell in love with this lively shade of blue. 

Want to learn how to make a sofa slipcover and save your sofa from the dumpster? Let me share the process with you.

create a slipcover for a sofa

And, if you can not remember my old couch, here is a little reminder. Look at those ripped cushions – I do not miss them!

old leather sofa

To make a slipcover for a leather couch, I had to be careful because the fabric would shift as I tried to pin things together. I followed this great tutorial by Honeybear Lane on how to make a couch slipcover

But let’s show you how I completed my slipcover. 

To start, here are the supplies I used.

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supplies for slipcover

The upholstery chart stated that I would need 14 yards of fabric but I wanted to wash the fabric before making the slipcover, so I added an extra 2 yards for shrinkage. I still have about 2 yards leftover after completing the slipcover.

I also moved my sewing station to the living room to have easier access to my sofa.

sew piping

Follow my instructions for making the piping for the slipcover and sewing the cushions with a zipper enclosure. Once I reached this point, my couch looked a little better.

new couch cushions

The biggest improvement, though, was when I decided to add piping to the top cushions of my couch. I wish I could have removed the cushions like the Honey Bear Lanes tutorial from above,  but my cushion was firmly attached to the couch. Because these cushions were attached to the sofa, it did make it a troublesome piece to sew.

sewing back of slipcover
side of sofa slipcover

Make sure when you approach the corners on the fabric that you sew 1/2″ away from the edges.

sewing corner of slipcover

Also, place the RIGHT side of fabric against the couch – you will be pinning everything inside out.

make a couch cover


But let’s not skip ahead because you’re probably wondering how to determine the size of a fabric piece. Unlike the cushions, or if you reupholster a chair, you can use the old fabric pieces as a template (pattern). When you are making a customized slipcover, you have to determine the size of the exact sofa you have. 

There are two different ways to measure the fabric pieces:

  1. Use a tape measure to give you an approximation of the size needed for each specific area. Remember, you want it larger than you will need because you can always trim extra fabric.
  2. Drape the fabric against the sofa and trace the outline of the piece with a fabric marker. Then, cut out the shape about 2” larger than the outline. 

These fabric pieces (panels) are then ready to sew together.


To connect the panels, pin the fabric together and trace with the fabric marker where you need to sew the pieces together See the image below as an example.

sewing fabric slipcover

One thing I would do next time to make the slipcover look more professional is to add piping to the arms. Instead, I pinned the fabric together and traced along the arm line.

sewing arm of slipcover

Here is what my slipcover looks like, inside out, after sewing all the pieces together:

sew couch slipcover


Before adding a hem to the slipcover, you should sew the back of the cover together. You will need to add Velcro to be able to fit the slipcover securely over the couch. 

To do this, stitch from the top of the slipcover to 13-14″ away from the bottom (where your hem will be). For the last 13-14″ baste stitch (just a wider stitch) until you reach the bottom.

I cut two fabric strips at 4″ x 13″ and cut 2 strips of Velcro at 11-1/2″. For each side of the sofa, you will have four in total.

Velcro for slipcover

Fold the fabric pieces in half and sew 1/2″ away from the top and bottom edges. Then, trim the corner by the folded edge – this will give the fabric a point after it is turned over.

cut corner of fabric

Now, turn the fabric right side out.

create a fabric point

Pin the Velcro 1/4″ away from the folded edge.

attaching velrco for slipcover

Sew the Velcro into place.

Velcro for slipcover

Place the Velcro fabric piece 1/2″ down from where you started your baste stitch and pin into place (make sure you are not pinning to the back of the piece of fabric but the side piece).

attaching back of slipcover

Then, pin the other side of the Velcro strip directly across (back panel of slipcover).

couch slipcover for Velcro

Next, sew all pieces into place and unpick the basting stitch.

back of slipcover
back of couch slipcover

To hem the edges of the slipcover, measure from the floor up and pin into place. Finish by topstitching.

hemming slipcover

And now, you have learned how to make a complete slipcover! Do not mind the wrinkling fabric because I did not see the point of ironing.

create a slipcover for a sofa

We have really been enjoying our newish couch. I still wish I would have added piping to the arms. And I have found that because my couch is leather underneath, the cover does slide slightly. 

But, overall, a huge improvement from before. 

I plan to add some accent pillows to brighten up the space and our dear sofa will never know how close it was to being tossed to the curb!

Anyone else making a sofa slipcover or want to?

Interested in more home sewing projects? Here are some other posts you might enjoy:

make a couch cover

How to Make a Sofa Slipcover

Yield: one sofa slipcover
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate

Is your sofa need an update? Save money by making a sofa slipcover to go over your current sofa.


  • Canvas Fabric
  • Thread
  • Upholstery Zipper
  • Piping
  • Velcro
  • Fabric Marker


  • Sewing Machine
  • Seam Gauge
  • Scissors
  • Pins


  1. Wash the fabric and create a sewing station by the sofa. sew piping
  2. Use the old cushion as a template to create new cushion couch cushions
  3. Drap fabric over sections of the sofa to create a template of what needs to be cut. Sew pieces together as you go along. sewing back of slipcover
  4. Sew pieces and test fit with the cover inside out. sew couch slipcover
  5. Add Velcro to the back of the slipcover to be able to remove the cover from the sofa. back of slipcover
  6. Hem the bottom of the slipcover. hemming slipcover
  7. Turn the slipcover right side out and enjoy your updated sofa!create a slipcover for a sofa
arm of sofa with pins to make slipcover
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  1. Hello! I just wanted to say that your tutorial was excellent! Plenty of pictures and explanation, and I didn’t need to use other resources to supplement yours. I don’t know how to post a picture of my couch project that I just completed, otherwise I would! I added some patterned fabric to the side panels of the cushions (the ones you sit on), and also to the skirt of the couch. I also used kraft paper to make patterns for the large couch pieces because I didn’t think I would be accurate or patient enough to just throw the fabric onto the couch and do it as well as you did. Again, thanks for the wonderful tutorial and I hope I can use it as a resource again for another future project!

    1. Hi Sarah, I am so glad that this tutorial was a help to you. I would love to see your couch. You can send me an email of it: Cannot wait to see it! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Christa Ferreira says:

    Hi Megan, Here I am struggling at 4am in the morning. I do not know where to start. I want a slipcover, but my coach is a little different from yours. When you sit on yours, didn’t the whole cover pulls up? I have tried to make a test from old linen, but something is wrong… :( and… I am from South Africa (Afrikaanse mamma), so beside the pattern struggle, the English is also not good.

    1. Hi Christa, I am sorry you are struggling with the slipcover. Because my couch is leather under, the fabric does slide slightly when you sit on it from the back. I have thought to use something to hold the fabric into place on the back of the couch but I have not done anything about it yet. I hope this will answer you question about the fabric moving around. Please let me know if you have another question. Best of luck!

      1. Patricia T Dunno says:

        Maybe if you tried some rubber that is used to keep rugs from sliding on your couch cushions, this would help. Also you can find the same material in the kitchen area in department stores.

        1. That is a great idea! Thanks Patricia, I will have to give this a try!

  3. Hi there! How could I make this work with a leather reclining sofa? I’ve been trying to cover it for almost 3 months now but it seems impossible!

    1. Hi Andrea, I have not seen it done but I have heard of people reupholstering a reclining sofa. Sorry, I am no help.

  4. Claudia Phillips says:

    Great tutorial! And your “new” sofa looks fabulous. I think it’s fine without piping on the arms. I am reading slipcover tutorials and trying to get up the nerve to make my own. Thanks for sharing.

  5. You did a great job! That is well fitted. Do the leather cushion covers zip off? They are likely just batting or foam underneath which should stick better to the canvas and help lose some slip.

    1. Thanks Lou, I really wish the cushion covers did zip off but it is all attached to the frame of the sofa. That would have been a lot better option. Thanks for sharing that tip!

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