Recycling a Sofa

BEFORE:  Here’s the couch during the measuring process.

It was a bright, pretty couch years ago when I bought it.  But marriage, children and life had taken their toll.  So I set off to the furniture store for a replacement.  Problem was, nothing I saw compared in style or comfort to the old one.  So I decided to keep it and sew a slipcover.  Custom Slipcovers Made Easy by Elizabeth Dubicki is the book that helped me do it.

Post Format:  Top Five Reasons This Book Works

Custom Slipcovers Made Easy by Elisabeth Dubicki, 2007
  1. Simple instructions and lots of photos:  Dubicki couples her talent with needle and thread with a talent for clear writing. The pages are photo-heavy and text-light, a winning combination for a how-to book.  Fitted slipcovers aren’t easy.  I can sew, but this was the hardest project I’ve ever done.  Thankfully, Dubicki made things like calculating yardage and installing upholstery zippers doable.
AFTER: Here’s the couch now with its new slipcover.

2. The spiral binding:  All how-to books should be bound this way so pages open and stay put.

3. The ideas:  Most of the book deals with slipcovers for couches and stuffed chairs.  But there are also fun ideas for refurbishing dining room chairs, daybeds and headboards using the same techniques.

The welting or piping along the edges is both decorative and practical as it protects the seams.

4. The history:  Homeowners of yesteryear knew the value of slipcovers.  Slipcovers protected furniture and could be thrown into the washer and cleaned once or twice a year.  But slipcovers aren’t all about utility.  Women like her mother, Dubicki states, took great care choosing fabrics for the covers and had professional seamstresses craft them.  The seamstress “moved in” with their sewing machines and came each day to complete the custom jobs.  Dubicki also explains the basics of slipcovers. I learned that welting or piping (see picture at left) isn’t just decoration. The cording makes seams better fitting and stronger.

5. The Personality:  I read this engaging book cover to cover while at the laundromat prewashing and drying fabric for the project.   Dubicki’s passion for giving old pieces new life is evident in each chapter.  She grew up in a family that never got rid of furniture, they just handed it down.   In fact, Dubicki tackled her first slipcover project in college on a sofa “redistributed” to her after her mother bought a new one.  That same sofa is now owned by her sister and has been redone numerous times.

“It remains to be seen where this sofa will end up–and what its next slipcover will be!,” Dubicki said.

6 thoughts on “Recycling a Sofa

  • March 31, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    Looks awesome!!! I’ll have to remember that book if I ever get the nerve to slipcover!!

    • April 1, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Go for it! You’ll expand your brain power. I know I did.

  • March 31, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    You always impress me with your never-ending abilities! You are very talented!

    • April 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Thank you Kim. I have to admit that this project took me weeks and there were a few tears.

  • April 1, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Beautiful work, Aunt Lucy!!! ?? You’re so talented. ?

    • April 3, 2017 at 9:55 am

      You are so kind. I enjoy being creative at times.


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