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No Sew Sofa Makeover How to Cover a Sofa with fabric / drop cloth

Thu 25th, Jul, 2013

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Hey Beach Cottage ladies who like a bit of furniture re-arranging and decorating!

Well you post a pic of a white sofa makeover…basically a sofa covered with painter’s drop cloths in your old cottage and you get rather a few emails about quite how you did it without just laying a throw over the sofa and without sewing.

Soooo, I have put together what I have learnt about covering sofas…yes ladies in my world I will hold my hands up, I will admit it, I will take it on the forty-is-the-new-thirty chin and disclose that I have spent an inordinate amount of time in my little life googling

‘sofa makeover’

‘no-sew sofa covers’

‘how to lose your husband so you can buy new linen sofas.  in white’

‘sofa covers’

‘how to buy new sofas and get them in the house without your husband noticing’

‘cover your sofa’

‘how to make sofa covers from painter’s drop cloths’

‘how to disguise new linen sofas as pre-loved from Ebay & scored for $100′

‘give your sofa a new look’

‘how to feed your kids baked beans 20 different ways so you can buy new sofas’

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So, put it this way, I have mused this sofa-covering conundrum quite a bit…there were a few things to think about it too, I mean why not just get some covers made right?  But with new sofas somewhere in the future I didn’t want to put anything much into covering these…

So the requirements were :

1. no-sewing

2. minimal investment

3. more comfort

4. minimal effort

oooh now this is looking a bit trickier, no sewing, investment or effort…hmm life doesn’t tend to work like that…

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The more I researched and googled the more I came across painter’s drop cloths and the more I thought this could be the solution – relatively cheap, hardwearing, not too slippery, a bit like linen, the correct colour…you name it, these babies were checking about every box…

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 How to Cover Sofas – No Sew – Drop Cloths

1. buy the biggest drop cloths you can find and then cut them up, you get more bang for your buck this way

2. take all the cushions that you can off of the sofa

(unfortunately mine only has back cushions that are, thank goodness, removable)

3. lay your drop cloth over the sofa seat area only and roughly estimate what’s the best way to cut the drop cloth fabric to best fit the seat area of the sofa double folded and with a big enough overhang to tuck and fold into the crevices of the sofa 

so for example with the drop cloth I had I simply folded it down the middle and cut it in half giving me two pieces of double folded fabric

- you want the fabric double folded because a single piece of fabric will slip around much more (ask me how I know this or ask a Beach Cottage kiddo if they sat on a sofa with a single piece of drop cloth and promptly the whole lot slid to the floor)

- the amount of fabric you have to tuck in is key to it not slipping and sliding around when you actually want to sit on the thing and watch Midsomer Murders not just take photos of it for your blog.

4. cut your fabric – don’t worry about edging you won’t see that

5. fold your drop cloth piece so it is double folded, lay it on a table or floor and smooth it out and line up the edges…trust me do this bit

6. lay this piece of fabric over the seat of the sofa, smooth, smooth, smooth

7. push and tuck, push and tuck- all the over-hang fabric needs to be squeezed tighly into the crevices of the sofa (it’s much easier if you have seat cushions as I have in the other room) – this tight pushing and squeezing is what will stop the ‘cover’ slipping around and falling off when you sit on it

8. lay the other piece of fabric out and put the cushions on it, now wrap up the cushions like a parcel, leaving the bottom of the cushions with the opening of the fabric

9. place cushions on the sofa and then put your hands underneath and again squeeze and push the excess fabric in tightly so the fabric won’t move around too much when you sit down

10.  add texture to the arms of the sofa with crochet, knit or stripe, smooth and tuck this tightly into the sofa too

11. add lots of pillows and cushions in different shapes and patterns for interest and depth.

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That’s it, I now have sofas I am a little bit more happy with and it almost feels like we have a new room…

Sarah :-)

p.s. a few peeps wanted to know where the pom pom throw is from – I got it in Aldi last year :-)

 

 *no husbands were harmed in the making of this blog post

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28 Responses to “No Sew Sofa Makeover How to Cover a Sofa with fabric / drop cloth”

  1. Kirsty says:

    That works! Looks great. Unfortunately my sofas are brown so I don’t think that will work for me. Both cushions come off mine though so it may be a sewing job… I’ll save it for later I think. haha

  2. emma says:

    Hi Sarah all looks gorgeous as usual. I had a chuckle reading this post as I have lost count of the amount of time I have spent googling covering sofas, how to make slipcovers etc,which as you probably noticed on your searches they all open with something along the lines of it’s not as hard or as daunting as you think!! I beg to differ with these people having spent a long weekend a few months ago giving it ago all I ended up with was a thousand bits of white fabric that didn’t fit together properly and fingers that had been stabbed by that many pins I felt like I had become a human pin cushion. Needless to say the whole fiasco ended up in the bin and I ended up going with the no sew tuck it in method which will have to do until that dream white slip covered sofa is in budget. The positive to come out of this making slipcovers saga was it was on one of my google searches on this subject I came across your blog and instantly became an avid reader so I guess you are the silver lining of my making slipcovers debacle, so what I lost in white fabric and pins I have definitely gained in daily entertainment. Thanks for all do on your blog here I love my daily beach cottage fix. Have a great day :)

    • emma says:

      Oops forgot to leave name didn’t mean for it to come as anonymous. Em x

    • sarah says:

      ahhh thanks for a lovely comment Emma…oh I hear you on the pins and fabric, which is why there was no way I was going to attempt it on these…I have in the past covered a chair, nothing fancy and although not too hard the thought of doing it on two sofas plus the leather slipping thing would have been enough to send me over the edge…

      hmmm googling is dangerous isn’t it? x

  3. Ellen says:

    I sort of get it now! Who would have known the double fold part? I tell you, you get the prize:) my husband bought a new couch for me a year or so ago. It had pillows with French words, etc on them. Oh, it had the light linen look; but after a while it started screaming “Fake!!!” to me. Having just the one room house, every single piece of furniture is antique and almost all is painted white. So, as I mused about it, finally out loud, oh my! Well you just Know what my husband was thinking and replying back to me. Finally, Finally, as i would stare in disgust at this misfortune I had jumped over barrels to get, i realized it was only the 3 accent pillows that did not work for me. Well it was quite easy to lose a few of those to donations. I then took my favorite in the world fabric which is cotton striped ticking, made one pillowcase and used another vintage one I already had from France. One pillow is square, the cover from France is rectangle to hold a feather bed pillow. And now? It calmly speaks to me in French farmhouse. What a difference! Course linen look sofa with casual striped ticking pillows. My husband? He never said a word:)

    • sarah says:

      hahah good story Ellen – it’s funny how we buy things and then think later on ‘what was I thinking’ and it always seems to be the big ticket items! x

  4. Kat says:

    Ha, you make me laugh Sarah.
    It does look really good and very clever of you I must say.
    I have to ask though, is your husband standing there shaking his head about all of this, or did he not notice ;)
    Mine still thinks we have too many cushions and we hardly have any at all in my mind.
    I have two new ones (on sale I might add) to figure out how to purchase and bring in without him noticing. (he will!)
    Off to look at paint drop cloths in the garage that have not yet been used :)

    • sarah says:

      ahhh well mr bc is pretty laid back to be honest – I am lucky that he couldn’t really care less about things like decor so I get away with what I like…ahem to living in a house that has a lot of white…he just raises his eyebrows a lot ;-)

      I knew I wouldn’t get away with new sofas though…

      I think you should tell hubby that you are doing him a favour by only collecting cushions and not anything more expensive like designer handbags, that’s what I tell mine xx

      • Kat says:

        Lol, I like that reply.
        It’s often tricky on one wage and a tight budget. This is one of the reasons I like your blog.

  5. Annette says:

    Oh my gosh! This is perfect! I acquired an enormous down filled Crate and Barrel sofa off Craigslist for less than a $100 bucks! The seller wanted to keep the slipcover for her other identical couch. I scored an awesome sofa, but it has no slipcover, although it is white! I have a small piece of drop cloth hanging over one arm to see how I like the look/feel. It is going to cost an arm and a leg to have someone make a cover! I love the sofa so your brilliant idea is perfect! Thank you! I wonder if you could safety pin, perhaps diaper pin the cloth around the cushions so they will not slip out of place?! Can’t wait to give it a try! BTW, where have you found the largest seamless drop cloths for sale? The ones I have seen all have seams down the middle. There are tutorials on how to wash and treat your drop cloth before using it. Makes for a much softer feel!

    • sarah says:

      wow what a score! I would love that…

      I would totally do this idea, just cut and layer up the drop cloths instead of trying to ‘throw over’ that’s what keeps them on and tuck them in like crazy…I guess you could pin them too but if you leave enough over hang and then tuck it in well it should be fine :-)

      I don’t worry about the seamless thing I just cut it and then the cut side is the hidden bit…also the first one I did I pre-washed etc but not I don’t bother with that, they get enough washes just as being part of this family…

      hth

      Sarah

  6. Eleni says:

    Hi, Sarah! I am new here and I have to tell you that I like your blog and your makeovers! I am going to add you in my blogroll! I hope I ‘ll see you around…! Kisses……..!

  7. Hi Sarah! The sofa transformation is just lovely! I will be in your neck of the woods mid-August. Traveling from Texas to Perth to visit friends :)

  8. ali thompson says:

    love this idea! i do have darker couches but i’m sure i could come up with a way to make this work! love it–as always!

    • sarah says:

      thanks Ali, the trick is to layer and layer rather than trying to cover…just cut the drop cloths (or any fabric) into pieces and layer and tuck :-) good luck
      x

  9. N. says:

    I too have attempted the whole dropcloth slipcover thing and it was a huge fiasco. So much so that once I sewed the base together for the loveseat AND sofa (I am a masochist, I tell you), I left the cushions bare for 18 months before I could even think about covering them up with dropcloth. In the end I just folded the seat cushions together like a parcel and safety pinned them on the bottom.

    What I’m confused about with your method is if you fold the dropcloth so it is doubled, I don’t get how you don’t see the cut ends. Won’t they show if they’re on one side or the other? I’m confused and can’t see too well in your photos, but that could also because I just had my eyes dilated and can’t see worth a d@mn, but at least I can touch type.

  10. Val Stopford says:

    Hi Sarah
    Purple lounge lady here! Went out today and purchased two huge drop sheets!! How amazing they are – just like heavy linen. Not only will the sofas be covered but my ‘Dear One’ and I have decided that they will be great for curtains ( against white timber blinds) in the spare room. It is going to be a wet weekend down here in Tassie so the sewing machine will be getting a work out. Have recommended your blog to my sister in Qld and she in turn has told several of her friends about it!! We all agree that your ideas are amazing.
    Regards Val

  11. Anonymous says:

    Have used drop sheet for curtains heaps and they are great. Make sure you wash them first however as they shrink a lot. On chairs some can pill up a lot and others don’t so it’s the luck of the draw. Can’t get any fabric as cheap, that looks so great. I’ve had people comment on my fab linen curtains puddling on the floor….if only they knew!

    • Val Stopford says:

      Thank you for that great tip. We bought another two today for the couches and still can’t believe how cheap they are compared to buying canvas by the metre!!! I am even thinking of making dining chair covers out of them too. The list is endless!
      Regards Val

    • sarah says:

      haha funny…I haven’t had any shrink on me yet…. xxx

  12. Val Stopford says:

    I think Purple Lounge Lady sound rather exotic hahaha!!!!! Having great fun with the drop cloths and have spread the word. I think the paint shops will be wondering what on earth is going on as their drop sheets are walking out the doors! If they catch on they will probably raise the price! Looking forward to your next great idea.
    Regards Val
    PS – a mild winter in Tassie has lead to an early blooming of my daffies which are looking fantastic in milk jugs xx

    • sarah says:

      Yes it’s a mild Winter here in Sydney too…I haven’t got any flowers yet but bulbs are all over and nearly on the way to flowering!

      I have had a lot of emails from people who have bought drop sheets lol so I hope I get a commission haha x

  13. Val Stopford says:

    You should indeed!!!! You could make a tidy little sum from commissions. The curtains are made and hang beautifully – couch covers this weekend. Loving your painted baskets too. Has given me ideas to play around with all shapes of baskets lying around the house. Like you – I am a white fanatic – can never have too much so anything I can add white to….. I am there!!!

    Regards. – Val x

  14. Jess says:

    What a lovely little drop cloth!