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50 DecorBook Ideas : 4. Slipcover to the Rescue

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When it comes to decorating, do you ever ask yourself, "What was I thinking?"  I seem to be asking myself that question a lot lately.  And sometimes, the solution is a plain and simple slipcover.

It all started with a little entryway bench from "Ross Dress for Less," its price slashed because it had a ripped leg and was kinda homely.  Over the years, it has been covered with various rugs, a throw and even burlap but it has never risen to my "ideal" bench.  Occasionally, I have looked at new benches but of course, didn't want to shell out that kind of money.

Maybe a more "professional" slipcover would work?  "Professional" to me means a slipcover with welting as this is one thing that had stumped me over the years. Since Miss Lily (way out in Concord) charges $150 for labor to make such a slipcover, I thought, "Gee, maybe I can do this."

One Saturday, it was game on.  After getting a piece of foam cut at Bob's Foam Factory down in Fremont (because taller might look better), fabric turned out to be problematic.  The first two fabric stores didn't have what I wanted which meant driving to a third over in San Francisco.  I thought the fabric I wanted was called "denim" but once the guys at Discount Fabrics in San Francisco saw a piece of Miss Lily's fabric, they said...

"Oh, you want duck. What color?"

"White."

"White white?"

"Yep."

"That's pretty white. You sure you want it white white?"

"Yep."

Turns out it wasn't on the floor so they took me in the back where there was a roll of white cotton duck.  I understood why they wanted me committed to white (really white) as the bolt must have been 100 yards, maybe 3 feet in diameter and looked to weigh a ton.  The guys hoisted it up, moving it to the cutting table.  They even let me take their picture.

When I got home, I realized I had forgotten the welting cord so it was back in the car, this time to Discount Fabrics in Berkeley which is closer to home.  (Bad news, this store didn't have any white" denim" when I asked there earlier that morning but on my second trip, I realized they did have "white duck."  Good news, the cord was only 10 cents a yard.)

Eighty-two miles later, I was finally home.  After pre-shrinking the fabric, it took at least a half hour to iron it.  YouTube showed me how to make a welt and sew it to a piece of fabric.  While it turned out that welting was easy, it look all evening to make 24 feet of welting and cut out the fabric pieces.  Note: If you can sew a straight line, you can make a slip cover.  Trust me.  

On Sunday, the new bench was finally finished. I think a slipcover covers a multitude of sins - from the wrong color to worn out.  While I saved $150 on this project, it just would have been so much easier to drive out to Concord to see Miss Lily in the first place.

 


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  • Hey Kathleen,

    Before Thanksgiving I was set on refurbishing the old pineapple leg table and chairs that we grew-up on. My parents gave it to me when I moved to Portland and now I have it in Chicago. It holds so many great memories! When I looked at the seat-covers (still in tact after raising 2 boys) I realized that I’d covered them over 30 years ago with a Portland friend also named Rebecca. We too pictures of the old set and now we have what looks like a new dining room table and chairs complete with new seat-covers that I hope will last another 30 years.

    R. Rebecca on
  • Rube would be so proud of you!!! And you have really honed your sewing skills……taking on welting. Looks Fabulous!!

    Sue Pahlke on

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