I have a problem that many (maybe most?) people have: I see those beautiful living room/bedroom/kitchen (etc) photos and dream of having my own “perfect” room. Sadly, my budget doesn’t allow me to just go out and buy all new furniture. In fact, most of my furniture I acquired through college as hand me downs. While I am so thankful that I have so many generous people in my life, sometimes these pieces are a little worse for wear. This is definitely the case with my living room ottoman. To say that it has seen better days seems like such an understatement. My mom bought it for me from a thrift store, and I really loved using it, but thanks to my darling little dog, Cupcake, it’s basically just tatters.
She’s lucky she’s so cute…because look at that ottoman! It’s dirty, torn and quite honestly disgusting. I’ve been slowly improving my living room, and that ottoman is always a source of great mortification whenever I have people over. I’d love to buy a new plush one, but new couches are first on the agenda! Normally, I drape a soft throw blanket over it and call it good, but I wanted a more permanent (and pretty) solution that wouldn’t break the bank!
I certainly could have reupholstered my ottoman, but I decided eventually that it wasn’t the best option. I needed something I could easily remove to wash, or I’d be right back in the same predicament before long! I looked around online for some slipcovers, but they were generally pretty pricey for what they were, and I was dubious about how well they’d fit. Enter DIY, of course!
If I’m being honest, it has been at least a year since I’ve sewed last and I was feeling a little gun shy…especially since I decided to forge ahead without a pattern! It was pretty silly, really. I had taken measurements of each of the sides of the ottoman, and went the the store to find fabric I loved. I wanted something durable, and the outdoor fabric was on sale…it was fate! Having the fabric cut was mildly awkward, since I had no idea how much I needed, just some rough sketches with measurements. Luckily the ladies behind the counter at Joann’s were so helpful and we manged to calculate that I needed 2.5 yards of fabric.
What You’ll Need to Create Your Own Ottoman Slipcover:
- A Sewing Machine
- You don’t need an expensive or super fancy machine for this project! As long as it’ll sew straight you’re golden.
- Above is my trusty little machine. I got it last year for my birthday and it’s perfect!
- Thanks, Mom!
- A Serger (optional)
- A square or rectangular ottoman
- I’m no where near skilled enough to try a round one yet!
Such a short list of necessary items! I also used a triangle tailor chalk piece, which was helpful but not required.
Again, I used to sew often, but it had been such a long time and I was without a pattern, which was making me quite nervous! About a year or so ago, Sarah started making these amazing skirts (which she’ll be featuring on the blog in the future!) with her sewing machine, so I begged her to help me out. Honestly…she did the hard work, all I did was sew!
Just in case you couldn’t tell from that first picture, this thing was pretty destroyed, but still comfortable and functional. The first step we took was to sketch our own “blueprint” of how we would cut our fabric. After measuring the fabric, we (cough, Sarah) drew in the panels of fabric we’d need for each of the 4 sides and top of the ottoman. This is as simple as it sounds, but one tip: if you’re using a fabric with a pattern like I did, pay attention to the orientation of that pattern when you’re drawing out your blueprint. If some of the panels are going horizontal and others are vertical, it’s going to look a little wonky.
After we had the rough sketch of the blueprint, it was time to cut our fabric! We laid the fabric out completely and followed our sketch. Don’t make this more difficult than it sounds–we didn’t even have fancy tools–just our triangle chalk and a piece of cardboard box for our straight edge. We measured, chalked, and cut our panel pieces one at a time, just in case we made a mistake.
Once the top panel was cut out, I started to get really excited. The ottoman looked exponentially better with just a panel laying over top of it! I joked that I was done, but Sarah made me keep going.
The (easiest) step was to take each of the side panels and sew them to the top piece. I accomplished this by taking the top panel and a side panel and lining them up together, with the right sides facing inward. I sewed about 1/4″ in from the edge in a straight line. I continued this process until each of the 4 side panels were sewn to the top panel.
The next step was to fold the corners together, and sew each of them together in the same way as before (“inside out”, right sides together, and in a straight line). This is a little tricky – because you want to make sure you sew past the corner on the top piece. This will ensure no holes in the corners of the slip cover. Since the side pieces are going to be slightly longer width-wise than the top due to seam allowance, you just sew to where your thread stops where the side is attached to the top piece.
Finally, I used my serger to finish off the edges to give them a nice, clean edge. If you don’t have a serger (or you don’t want to spend the time setting it up) you could always just hem the edges, but since my ottoman was almost too short, I didn’t want to hem it and make it even shorter.
I cannot express how pleased I am with this slipcover! It completely transformed my ottoman and the best part is if it’s ever looking a bit shabby I can toss it in to the wash and it’ll be good as new! The room looks so much better with this beautiful ottoman and I’m so glad I didn’t simply toss it out and buy a brand new one.
What upcycle project do you need to move to the top of your to do list?
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