Hey friends! Are you sick of never being able to find a slip cover that actually fits your sofa or love seat? I know I was! I bought three different sets of slip covers from three different companies and none of them fit right. They were either too big, too small, or didn’t fit right over the arms or back of the sofa. Granted, not all sofas and love seats are created equal, and unless the maker of your particular furniture also makes slip covers to fit, you were pretty much stuck with ill-fitting slip covers – until now!
A few things to note before you start: This method of slip covering is not meant to be perfect in the sense that everything will always line up evenly. Depending on the size of the seating you’re covering and the size of the drop cloth, you may get some extra hanging from the bottom on the sides. When this happened to me, I simply tucked it underneath the couch. Also, all sofas and love seats are not created equal, and it may take you a bit of practice to get it covered the way you like. Use the directions below as a general guide to help you figure out how to cover your sofa or love seat.
If you want to measure your seating to get an approximate tarp size: Measure your chair using a sewing measuring tape, working from front to back and then side to side, starting from the floor and working along the entire surface of the chair until you get to the floor on the other side. Then add at least two feet to each of those measurements and that will give you the approximate size you need. For example, say your chair measures 8 by 8 feet from front to back and side to side. You’d want to get a tarp that is at least 10 foot by 10 foot.
If you are in doubt about what size tarp you’ll need, get one little larger than what you think you need – you can always cut it down or tuck in / sweep under the excess. If you do cut it down, I recommend that you hem up the edge – the “no sewing required” part is only for if you don’t plan on cutting them. Be sure to put it on the chair and tuck it in the way you like before cutting it because you will lose a lot of the length and width of the tarp when you tuck it in. Also, keep in mind that canvas tarps are made out of cotton and cotton will shrink when washed, so you will want to wash your tarps first if you plan on cutting them down to fit.
Not only do canvas drop cloths fit better, they are way less expensive than slip covers. I paid upwards of 150-200 dollars for each of the sofa and love set slip cover sets I bought. These canvas drop cloths are $21.97 each at Amazon, so I covered both my sofa and love seat for under $44!!!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links from Amazon. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.
I like the Melca canvas drop cloths for several reasons. First, they are seamless, so no crooked seams in the middle of your sofa when it’s covered. Second, the canvas is good quality and not super heavy, but a nice weight for using as a slip cover. Third, I love the natural color of their drop cloths. I’ve ordered other brands that looked like a natural color online, but when I got them they were actually a light blue-gray color – fine if that’s what you like, but I have light gray walls so I don’t want to get too crazy with the gray!
This is the sofa in our living room that I’m using for the tutorial. The sofa and love seat are a set so the love seat looks the same. The sofa measures approximately 84 inches from arm to arm at the widest point; the love seat measures 60 inches from arm to arm at the widest point. They are pretty much a standard sized couch and love seat.
I draped the drop cloth over the sofa, then adjusted it so it was roughly centered.
I tucked the drop cloth in the back of the seat cushions until the hem was just off of the floor in front of the sofa. If you can see your sofa from the back, keep tucking it in, pulling the drop cloth from the back until the hem is just off the floor in the back of the sofa too.
Tuck in the sides of the drop cloth in between the arms and seat cushions, then tuck it in between the arms and back cushions.
You should now have two corners of the drop cloth hanging off the front and back of the ends of the sofa. Take the end at the back of the sofa and pull it across the side towards the front of the sofa, then take the end at the front of the sofa and pull it across the side towards the back of the sofa and over the first end, then pin them together with a 4 inch safety pin you can also get on Amazon, being careful to just catch the drop cloth in the pin and not the sofa as it can damage the sofa if the pin gets pulled when someone sits on the sofa.
Here is what the sofa looked like once I was finished.
And the love seat.
Secret time – I did cut and hem the drop cloth for the love seat to make it easier to fold up and pin the sides, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to – just tuck any excess drop cloth underneath the sofa.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments section below!