Monday, April 25, 2011

Slipcovers: The Frankenstein Files

This was my living room sofa. 
It was 10 years old and was being demoted to the [newly finished] basement, so new living room furniture could move in.

Normally, that would be totes okay.
But the problem was, we had just spent close to a year finishing the basement ourselves, and
I had been working my hiney off to make the space a nifty retreat for my family.
We had fresh paint, new carpeting, custom cabinetry... and this old couch (+chair and ottoman) just looked dumpy.
I wasn't happy.
But we didn't have the budget for a second new set of furniture.
And there's no way I was buying a secondhand sofa because I'm terrified of bedbugs.
(solid surfaces only from Craigslist, people!)
Old furniture was making our new space that we worked so hard on, look OLD.

So I went to work.
I got a sewing machine for Christmas that I promptly named Martha, and taught myself to use it.
I made this pillow and I'm pretty sure I was the Queen of the World.

So since I could sew a pillow, then SURELY I could sew a slipcover, right?
OK, even I'm not that stupid.
I knew I couldn't handle the curves of the rolled arms on my current sofa. 
But I WAS confident that I could handle covering the cushions on my own.
Enter IKEA.

The Ikea Ektorp Sofa has the same shape as my old sofa, with two big differences: length and cushion quantity.

I took a chance and bought the Ektorp slipcover for $50 (which is an amazing price for a tailored slipcover), and rather than pay IKEA's outrageous shipping ($35 for shipping a $50 cover is pretty extreme, I think) a friend who was coming that way picked it up and brought it home for me (Thanks again, Sara!).
Good Homies are hard to find. :)

My sofa is longer than the Ektorp by about 3 inches on either side.  And it's a little more full in the rolled arm, but with a little tugging and some seam ripping, it fit.

Every time I see this picture, I keep hearing "Fat guy in a little coat...." in my head.
I love you, Tommy Boy. :)

Since my couch has two large cushions and the Ektorp has 3 small ones, I knew I had to make new cushion covers.  SO, I took the Ektorp cushions and cut them up, using that fabric to piece together the holes I had to cut to fit the arms, as well as add length to the sides. 
(sorry, no pics here.  I was with this thing and wasn't thinking "tutorial" during this process. 
I was thinking "finish fortheloveofGodFINISH")

It became this comic Frankenstein-ish piecing of fabric that still makes me laugh out loud. 
I feared if I took the "sleeves" off the couch and ran the pieces through the sewing machine, that I would overcompensate the seam allowance and sew it too small.  Since it was already such a tight fit and I am such a novice, I didn't want to take that chance.
The result is a massive amount of hand-stitching (followed by massive amounts of swearing)
that I don't think I could bring myself to do ever, ever again.

 I found a twill fabric at Hobby Lobby that matched pretty well, so I stocked up on my 40% off coupons and only ended up spending about $30 on fabric (that's with the coupon) for the cushions and piping.

The chair that goes with the set is actually a chair and a half - and the Ektorp is so small that my chair was actually closer in size to the Ektorp loveseat.

So close in size, actually, that I didn't have to sew this cover.  It is folded and the fabric is tucked in a couple places, but if you've read this blog for any amount of time you know that straight up "perfection"
really isn't my bag.

The result is an old, slouchy couch and chair that have a new lease. 


And coming soon I'll show you how making that ottoman slipcover (piping and all!) was the easiest thing to make since my first pillow cover. 
 No, really.

The goal was to buy us just a few more years until we can get new furniture for downstairs.
For now, my Frankenstein covers are suiting us just fine.
And since I did them myself, I'm so inappropriately proud of myself I could just bust.

Though, if you are a professional seamstress or have any semblance of sewing skillz at all,
and you come over?  You'll need to make eye contact with me at all times so I can be sure you're not looking at my crappy seams, m'kay? :)



  1. You are my hero. Absolutely awesome and gutsy to hack apart a slipcover and come up with an awesome finished project. And your pillows rock. Just added them to my pinterest board for when I get my butt in gear and refinish our living room.

  2. Saw you on The Stories of A to Z...great project!

    We shared our Personalized Recipe Cards:

  3. You did an amazing job!!! Beautiful transformation! If you can find the time, I'd love for you to stop by and share this at the Tuesday To Do Party.


  4. Wow- I second what choose to thrive stated! You are my hero too. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and we just finished our basement and moving the old boring furniture down there. It's so disheartning to have put so much time and energy into a place only to have a mismatch assortment of furtniture. If you come acorss any other tips- I have a leather loveseat and double recliner couch that NEED to be recoverred or disguised- open to ideas!

  5. You and 'Martha' worked very well together! Your slipcovers look fantastic. I really admire how resourceful you are to make adjustments to Ikea's slipcover. I just bought a slipcover for my wing chair from SureFit. Of course it doesn't fit well at all, but I just don't have the skill to alter it. You did a super job!

  6. You should be proud of yourself - they are beautiful!!! Awesome job! I am visiting from Katie's Nesting Spot and just became your newest follower. I would love for you to stop by and perhaps follow me back!

    Turning a House into a Home

  7. LOVE IT!!! Kuddos to you for making it work!

  8. I will be taking on an Ikea duvet! It is like 20+ inches too small.

    I hope mine turns out as well as yours did!

  9. I'm measuring my sofa now to see if the Ikea Hovas slipcover will fit. I would never have thought of this. Thanks so much for the idea!

  10. I read you used the ikea love seat cover for your chair and a half but what did you do about the cushions, it comes with two, did you just do one or did you have to sew them together?

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