Slipcovered Settee

By Kate Riley June 27, 2010

I love it when a plan comes together !  I’ve been working on the living room all week, mostly the wainscoting, but one of the other pieces I also wanted to makeover was my brown velvet settee.  I love the shape of this piece – it fits on the wall next to the fireplace to perfection, but I was sooooooo done with the dark brown color.  Rather than pay big bucks to have it reupholstered, I decided, for now, to simply slipcover it. 

I’ve mentioned before that my sewing skills are limited, but over time, I’ve been challenging myself to take on more intermediate sewing projects – this was certainly one of them.  I confess, I’ve admired the slipcovers across blogland for a long time, but this is my first attempt at slipcovering a piece of furniture myself.  After four days of piecing it together, bit by bit, I’m pretty satisfied with my new summer linen slipcover. 

Lovely readers, meet my little settee and her pretty new linen slipcover. 


velvet settee before


cg settee slipcovered


There were several reasons why I chose linen.  One, what’s not to love, because I absolutely looooooove linen.  Okay, okay, so it wrinkles if you breathe on it, but the piece underneath is so tailored, I knew it would work if I could just keep my seams tight enough.  Two, linen is classic, and oh so French, so that completely appeals to me. 

First, I prewashed the linen, then I cut my fabric into pieces and started to pin it all around.  It took me for-eh-ver to get this right.  You have to pin your slipcover inside out, sew your seam, keep your linen tight (but not too tight!) the entire time, then flip it right side out and try it on your piece to make sure your seams are straight. 

Over. And over.  And over again. 

pin inside out

Sheeesh, sewing a slipcover is challenging – my seamripper and I were BFFs this past week. 

So after I sewed all the parts in place to satisfaction, I added a pleat at the bottom.  Gotta have the crisp pleat !  I folded my fabric strips over and stitched them together.  Then I pressed them with an iron to get the crisp edge, then slowly created the pleat with my sewing machine. 

sew linen pleat


Next, I pinned the pleat to the edges, and attached with my sewing machine.  Finally, I hand stitched the edges of the arms since I didn’t want to bother with the perfection of the perfect circular edges on the arm rest.  Works for me ! 

pin pleat stitch arm


So here she is, ain’t she sweet ?   My first real slipcover !

cg settee slipcovered


I love the flirty pleat next to the traditional dark wood leg. 

cg slipcover and endtable copy


Oooohhhh, and there’s a sneaky peek at the completed wainscoting, now finished in the living room, plus we installed a new mirror and light fixtures.  

   swirl snip

4 yards of linen on sale at $7.50 a yard = $30 for the slipcover, woo hoo !

I saved some cash by not reupholstering it, so I splurged on this pillow cover perfection from Pottery Barn.   


pillow perfection

More pics of the living room upgrades to follow later this week !   But for now, I’m loving my summer linen slipcover.  Bliss ! 




  1. Kate, that looks fantastic! We have an armchair from the in-laws that I’ve been dying to reupholster/slip cover. I may just do it! Is yours one piece, or did you do a separate one for the pillow?

  2. There’s no way this is your first slipcover, it is gorgeous and so professional looking! Thanks for sharing this, I’m totally inspired!


  3. You did a fabulous job! Can’t believe it’s your first slipcover. I love the linen, especially up against the white wainscoting. And of course the little pleated skirt is the icing on the cake!

  4. I love it! It looks so great I never would have guessed you were not a sewing pro. Can’t wait to see the rest. You inspire me!

  5. Love it! It looks great and professional! I have to admit that I LOVE the brown color too…that’s a bonus! At least in my house, when I slipcover something its to cover up the UGLYNESS of it…lol. Great job!

  6. This is fabulous!! I love the linen! I have a similar settee waiting for her makeover in the garage. I don’t sew, at all and she needs to be reupholstered. You did an amazing job and look at all the money you saved! Bravo!

  7. I’m impressed. I’ve sewn slipcovers before, and it takes FOREVER! I guess the reason they’re so expensive is the labor involved.
    Beautiful! And the wainscot? Can’t wait to see it!

  8. This came out perfect, especially for a first timer! I have the worlds ugliest, most comfortable couch and I keep thinking I should just slipcover it, but I just don’t have the guts! Props to you for tackling this!

  9. I love it!! I so admire the skill of slipcovering and I think you did a fantastic job. I adore the linen and flirty skirt. That’s a great change for the summer. The wainscoting looks awesome! Can’t wait to see the reveal.

  10. Wow it looks fantastic!! Are you serious this was your first attempt? I’m impressed :) Good job!!

  11. I’m such a fan of your blog & your wonderful creativity. Thanks for sharing another great project. I think I would actually attempt this!

    Warmly, Michelle

    Faith, Trust, and a little Pixie Dust

  12. The elegent lines of your setee and the masterful way you made this gorgeous linen slipcover belong together! Like pearls on a little black dress… peanut butter and jelly…April and Paris…
    The flirty skirt shows off your setees pretty legs too. Kate, I can’t believe this is your first attempt… and while wainscoting! Kudos to you!

  13. You’ve inspired me! I saw two perfectly shaped wingbacked chairs on craig’s list the other day, but the fabric was awful! I thought about doing slipcovers, but I was too scared… Until I saw this post!

  14. What a fantastic linen slipcover. It is so sweet and perfect for any space. I love that you can remove and wash, perfect. Great job lady.

  15. Holy wow-ness! You rock. That cover is so killer. I can’t believe you just “winged” it being self-taught! Well, you’re my proof that there is hope for me yet. I plan to cover a bench like the one at your dining table and then we’ll see what happens. I promise to send pics. Thanks as always for the pics. in your post with simple instructions!!! Drooling for the living room changes….however I loved it before. xo~M.

  16. LOVE it!! I know that was alot of work…I have a feeling it’s gonna just make the room so I’m sure it was so worth it. You have inspired me…I have some slip covering to do here at The Project Shoppe!

  17. Wow really, where can I find linen at $7/yard?!?
    I’ve been putting off slipcover attempts as I’m so afraid of wasting the $ on fabrics due to beginner mistakes like mine :-)

  18. Wow amazing – you did a fantastic job – my mum and I have made covers for my old sofa a few years back and I totally agree, they are a complete pig to do but so worth it!

  19. Kate, you did an amazing job! But that doesn’t surprise me one bit. Enjoy!

  20. You did a wonderful job! My first slipcover was a mess, but this one is lovely. It is a great summer look and it is beautiful against the trim work. Can’t wait to see the finished room. My living room and dining room are almost done, but I have eight curtain panels and pillows to sew…ugh.

  21. This is gorgeous!! I absolutely cannot believe this is your first slipcover. I was at the Nester’s slipcover party and I still haven’t tackled my very own slipcover. Great job!

  22. I love this! I have 2 dark chocolate microfiber sofas that I am dying to slipcover.. The only thing is they have wood trim that sort of juts out at the arms, so I don’t think a slipcover would work – pooh! I am jealous :) I love linen too – so clean and crisp – esp. for summer.. I enjoy your posts and your ideas are always great. Have a good day! ~ Meg @ Life Together

  23. Love love love!! Girl, you make the rest of us look like slackers with everything you accomplish in a day (or weekend). ;) I was just yesterday contemplating whether or not I might be able to slipcover one of those PB anywhere chairs…maybe I should give it a try. :)

  24. Wow. It’s breathtaking! I’ve loved looking at your blog. The more I look around, the more I realize how much of the same taste we have. Everything I look at I think, “Oh I love that!” or “Oh I need to make that!” I especially love the blues, particularly the robin’s egg blues, that you use in your house. And I’m just in love with this chair. Congrats on your first slipcover!

  25. absolutely beautiful. you inspire me! i still have your resale home office chair redo on my favorites – just waiting for the houston heat to subside a bit and i plan to do it! i sent you an email a while back with a question about sewing the fabric to the back, but i know you’re playing catch-up with all that. please don’t think i’m a pest if i send another in a month or two when i get started on it – just would love to learn from how you did yours!

  26. Wowee! What a wonderful job you did here! I, too, have been eyeballin’ these blogs with slipcovers and re-upholstery projects going on and am inching closer and closer to trying this mess myself. =-D

  27. Wow! That is fantastic… and your first slipcover? Unbelievable! Great work – btw, where did you purchase your linen?

  28. Your sewing skills are definitely not limited. That slipcover is awesome! Great job. :-)

  29. Someone PLEASE talk me into making slipcovers for my FUGLY living room furniture. After researching for months, I finally purchase the perfect and affordable slipcovers in an Ivory for my sofa and chair. Well, they would be perfect, if they fit! The furniture is oversized which means none of the pre-made ones will likely work. I have very limited sewing skills as well. Does anyone want to see my furniture and tell me it’s doable?

  30. Wow, it looks great! I love me some boxpleats! It reminds me so much of the slipcover I did for my sofa. I actually just finished slipcovering my dining chairs too!

  31. I love how a slipcover can bring extra life to an old (but much loved) couch. Love the pleats too!

  32. Kate! I must say how amazed I am by you. You can have a vision, not ever having tried a project before and totally rock it! You are the queen craft-ess :) I must admit, slightly green with envy at your creativity. What an amazing transformation. Keep it up girl!

  33. Can I just say how much I LOVE your new slipcover? Especially the ruffle. That little touch that you’ve used on a few different pieces now is my favorite part. Want to come to my house and help me with a few things? :-)

  34. Oh. My. God. It looks amazing! I am so jealous of your your slipcovering abilities. Or, at the very least, your “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” ability! So great.

    I really, really, REALLY want slipcovers for the chairs in my living room, since they currently live under dropcloths, but I am terrified.

  35. Looks terrific! I “slipcovered” an old chair years ago, but to make things simple I just hand stitched the upholstery fabric directly onto the chair. It was really easy and worked well.

  36. Lovely. You completely transformed the setee-before it was formal and now so comfy. Great job, as usual!

  37. Amazing as always!! I just love how clean and fresh the fabric makes it look! It looks like it has always been that way!
    ~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

  38. Beautiful job on the slipcover. I’ve been wanting to cover a love seat I have but just don’t know where to start. How do you know how much fabric you need? Would it be easier to try and re-upholster it instead? I envy your “go for it” attitude.

  39. I absolutely love all the little pleats! You must have the patience of a saint. :) I can’t believe how tough it is just to cut a straight line, as I learned this weekend while cutting and pinning the pieces together for two pillow covers!

  40. Four days? I’m on day 12 of sewing a slipcover for a love seat. I try to get one complete seam a day. Yours looks fantastic. I’m so proud, they are really tricky! Way to go!

  41. As always, I’m awed! So proud of your “can-do ‘attitude.
    this is gorgeous…. and you’re incredible! Can’t wait to see the rest of the room…. loving the wainscoting!
    keep going, CG!

  42. Adorable! I love the pleated skirt! Here’s a tip – take some cut lenths of upholstery foam for cushions (I use my scraps) or fabric tubes cut to size and tuck them into the crevice all around the seat cushion until they can’t be seen. This keeps the fabric tight after sitting so you won’t have to fuss with it! Good job!

  43. I’m so impressed Kate. I have slipcovered exactly one piece of furniture, a chair, and there were lots and lots of curse words involved in the process. The corners were the worst. You cover/fabric selection is ideal for your home’s style.

  44. What a fantastic transformation! Looks like a deep breath of fresh air! You have guts girl, and it certainly paid off. Congrats!

  45. Wow! What a beauty! Awesome job, and thanks for the instructions on how to do it. Although I am sure that my slip cover would be crooked and the ruffles would look more like spikes, you have given me the confidence to add this to my list of things to attempt.
    Keep the great ideas coming.

  46. Amazingly cute! We just bought a linen couch from Restoration Hardware, but if I could sew I would totally have gone that route! Nice.

  47. Beautiful! I love how you do the pleated ruffle. I’ve admired that since you did it on the upholstered bench cover.

  48. Wow. Just wow. I love it – the piece looks completely different. Love the linen, love the pleats, love the pillow, love how summery it looks. You continue to awe me!

  49. GEEZ LOUISE! I love the choice of fabric! Your finished piece is gorgeous. Amazing job Kate. And the wainscoting…holy smokes.

  50. Hi Kate –
    I have done this myself and smiled when you said how many times you had to take the slipcover on and off to get the fit right. All those on’s and off’s paid off as your piece looks great.

  51. Now I’m drooling! Great job! And I love the curves of the settee! Can I ask where the settee is from?

  52. Hello:

    I am new to your Blog and have to say I just love it…

    You did a terrific job on your slipcover…just beautiful!

    Warm Wishes,

  53. It certainly looks like you have plenty of sewing skills. This turned out so lovely, the lines of the sofa are wonderful.

  54. I just slipcovered two parsons chairs in the same linen with an inverted pleat trim on the bottom and I love them as much as you love yours! Found a great source for linen online – – so I am ready to tackle a rolled arm chair out of cotton duck (unlike linen, duck can handle teenage boys and dogs that like to “dig” a pit on the cushions). This will be my sixth slipcover and they definitely get easier the more you do. So . . . keep sewing!

  55. Kate, what do you mean your limited sewing skills???? It looks sooo professional and so lovely! The pleats are amazing. You can hop over here and sew a slipcover for my yellow settee any time!

    5 stars, girl!

    ox, Mon

  56. This is fabulous!!!! I have been wanting to make some slip covers for 2 chairs in my house, and this is something I can definitely use as a reference. Question for you, do you think dropcloths would work for making a slip cover??? Not sure I want linen (although I love the look, I have 2 small children), but I am thinking dropcloths would work too….

    Again, nice job!!! Thanks for the inspiration!

  57. You did a great job! I love the look of linen…its whats on my sofa and on my chair. I love the relaxed wrinkled look because it looks lived in…and that what we do with our homes is live in them!!

  58. Totally love my friend…I can reupholster. Slipcovers scare me though. Funny huh? You have a two tiered table like I do. I am so relieved to see you put nothing on the bottom. Mine is giving me hives trying to figure out how to decorate it. I think I have a plan. But back to the settee…I love the shape of it. Great pieces never go out of style!

  59. Way to go! It looks great! And you completely stole the words right out of my mouth when you said you loved the flirty pleat next to the dark brown leg. I was seriously thinking that same thing, almost verbatim! You did a wonderful job. I love the new look.

  60. Wow! It’s stunning! I LOVE the pleats. What a job your did…it’s just gorgeous. I’m a sucker for linen, too. That sofa is a show stopper! I wish you lived closer. I’d hire you to do one for my sofa.

  61. WOW…look at you Ms. SLIPCOVER QUEEN! It’s absolutely FABULOUS! AND something about those sweet little pleats next to that curvy leg….it’s SEXY! LOL

  62. gorgeous!!! you are so brave. It looks very professional! I do curtains, pillow covers and pillowcase dresses for my daughter but slipcovers are where I draw the line….too many different shapes and seams but perhaps you will spark some bravery in me?! congrats on the project :)

  63. I am in the same boat as you were. I “sew” which means pillows and curtains. I too am tempted by the slipcovers in the blogosphere, but fear has held me back. Maybe I should take the plunge. Thanks for the inspiration! It is gorg :)

  64. You have really inspired me to tackle a summer slipcover for my settee. Beautiful job!

    Did you use any sort of closure in the back? I have a fabric that I want to use but it has very little “give” and I’m worried about ripping. I’d love to do something freehand like you did.

    I love your blog and all that you’ve done with your home. Congrats on another amazing project!

  65. Oh I love it! I must run out and get a settee so I can copy this (if you don’t mind)!!! I just finished my first slipcover this week and know what a challenge they can be but I’m ready to go again. How about you?

  66. This looks great! I am not that brave yet and will be buying one to salvage a chair I rescued from the dumpster at work!

  67. Kate — I lOVE the slipcover you have made. You did an outstanding job. I do sew; however I have never attempted a slipcover even though I have a couple of pieces I would like to do. YOu have inspired me!! Did you use a purchased pattern? Or did you just measure and cut from your setee. You are so very talented.

  68. LOVE this settee – It’s just the right amount of frilly and clean lines. It’s absolutely perfect! :)

  69. Wow! That is really impressive. I have always wanted to make a slipcover for my sofa, but thought it was too hard. I am definitely inspired. Thanks for the how-to!

  70. Oh it’s odd that you mention this – I have just bought a top quality sofa set for my den and have to say I absolutely love it! It’s a stunning 3 piece, finished in white leather. I Just felt the urge to let you know! :-)

  71. Hi there,

    I just found this post through Pinterest. You did a fabulous job. I slipcovered my sofa in white linen as well. I could not be happier. I don’t have a sewing machine though so did it by hand. And I have to say that it washes beautifully. I completed it in April and there is nothing that has not come out of it completely, and I have two small children. Nice job. Take care.


  72. Hi: I have a settee like this that I want to make a slipcover for, but the only part I don’t get is how you get the fabric to go DOWN between the bottom and the arms. Is yours stuffed down in there somehow?

  73. Beautiful! I never leave comments but I just have to here. I just love this!

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