When it comes to having chairs and sofas redone, there’s usually two choices: slipcover or reupholster. But, which to choose? Either will give you a lovely end result – a new outside garment for a piece of solid furniture – but slipcover or reupholster? Having this type of sewing work done for you can be expensive, too, if you’re hiring someone else to do it. Which to chose? Reupholster or slipcover? Do the work yourself or hire someone?
Here are some points to consider in making that decision and they involve love and desire. Who knew furniture could evoke such emotion?
Slipcover or Reupholster? Which to choose?
Love: do you love the chair? the sofa? If so, invest the money and pay to have your piece reupholstered or slipcovered. If the furniture is well made and quality workmanship, then do it. If the furniture is cheap and flimsy, don’t bother and keep looking. I think second-hand or vintage furniture is usually well made and better constructed than what most of us are buying today. To buy quality, new furniture today is very expensive. I have purchased new furniture (well, it was 20 years ago) and have been very happy with it but it was when I worked for Ralph Lauren and I got a big, fat discount on my purchases.
I’ve also paid nothing (free chairs are plentiful on street corners in my neighborhood) or spent as much as $25 for a chair at an estate sale. I’ve had chairs reupholstered and been happy with the results. I haven’t had a chair or a sofa slip-covered but I’m not opposed to the idea especially since it can be washed. This sofa of Annie’s of Plenty Perfect is very appealing to me because fitting a slip-cover or cushion cover back on can be a bit like re-stuffing a sausage. Annie’s sofa slip-cover seems like it’s easy to wash and put back on quickly.
Desire: do you want to sew a slipcover or tackle reupholstering? If so, go for it! According to every sewing book I’ve read, they’re easy to make and if you can sew, you’ll save a bundle of money. I’d practice with inexpensive muslin fabric, first. I’m always happy when I make mistakes on inexpensive fabric rather than sewing with a more expensive, finish fabric. I like to sew a practice version of a new pattern, even if I’m just sewing a skirt.
I’ve only sewn slipcovers for ottomans, tissue boxes, or other small items because a chair or sofa is too much of a project for me to think about. If I keep my expectations low (and small) of what sewing projects I can start and finish, I’m much better off. Don’t get me wrong – I have lots of sewing projects that are almost done – but I know better than to start a chair or sofa because that would take me a while.
Be sure and use upholstery fabric, too. Upholstery fabric is heavier and thicker than regular fabric or home furnishings fabric. I had a chair reupholstered and didn’t use upholstery fabric and it’s now wearing through in several spots. It’s lasted about 14 years which isn’t too bad but I’d rather not spend the money to have it re-done again. My strategy is to drape a wool throw or blanket over the worn spots and act surprised if anyone notices what’s underneath.
This was a question asked by Ruthie. Thanks, Ruthie! That’s what I would do and I hope that helps.
What would you do? Slipcover or reupholster? Sew it yourself or hire someone else?
Go Gingham related links:
iPod slipcovers – small and cute -you can easily sew these
This began as a joke but it’s super cute: wine bottle slipcover from an old dress shirt
What every room needs: a tissue box slipcover
Toilet tank slipcovers – I know this is wrong but I couldn’t help myself
A tray table with a slipcover – because tables need slipcovers, too
Ottoman slipcover hides shoes, socks and whatever else my kids stuff under there!
A tour of “The Lincoln Bedroom” is here