How to pick fabric for slipcovers

One of the most common questions I get from clients when they are looking to have a slipcover made is, “What fabric should I buy?” The simplest answer I can give is to ask yourself two things: how is the slipcover going to be used and secondly, do you want to use a fabric that is a solid color or a pattern.

First, let’s talk about use. The material you chose to make a slipcover should directly correspond to who will be using the finished piece and how often. For example, cotton and cotton blended fabrics tend to be comfortable, easy to care for and excellent for everyday use.

If the piece you are looking to slipover is more for special occasions then you may want to consider upholstery grade (backed) luxury fabrics including silk, chenille and velvet.

Once you have determined the end use of the slip covered piece you can ponder the pros and cons of patterned versus solid fabrics.

Patterned fabrics can really make a statement even in muted tones and they are excellent at disguising seams and the inevitable stain. The downside of choosing a patterned fabric is two-fold: you need to purchase 40-60% more fabric than a solid fabric because you create more waste when aligning the pattern to the lines of the furniture which in turn leads to an increase in labor because it takes time to carefully cut and sew pieces in such a way that they align properly.

Solid colored fabrics can be easier to work with because there are no patterns to align (so they have less waste than patterned fabrics). Another major plus to using a solid fabric is that you can make it work in a variety of settings and seasons just by adding accent pillows! The major downside to using a solid fabric is that stains are not as easy to hide and solids tend to show heavy usage more than a patterned fabric may.

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