Saturday, January 16, 2010

How To Make a Coffee Table Slipcover\Skirt

As promised, here's my tutorial for the coffee table skirt/slipcover! If you missed yesterday's sewing encouragement post, you might want to scroll down and read that first!

The difficult part of sewing a slipcover is not in pressing the sewing machine pedal or steering the fabric- that part is easy. The most difficult part is planning out the project.

I think a coffee table makes a good first slipcover project because the shapes are pretty straightforward. Think of wrapping a present- it's much easier to wrap a standard box than it is to wrap an oddly shaped package (sofas and chairs definitely fit into the oddly shaped package category!).

The first thing you need to do is decipher what style and length of skirt you'd like and purchase enough fabric. I'll describe how I did my coffee table, but please feel free to contact me if you need help deciding how much fabric you need for another style!

I would advise you to choose an upholstery weight fabric for this so that you won't have to bother with lining it. I recently had a really great experience ordering fabric from, but there are tons of cheap fabric resources online.

Fabric of your choice
Coordinating thread
Disappearing/watersoluble Ink Marker (can be purchased at any sewing/craft store)

My fitted table skirt is made up of three basic pieces:

The first piece covers the table top and should be cut 1/2" larger than your table top. I literally turned my table upside down, layed it on top of my fabric, used a disappearing ink pen (can be purchased at any fabric/craft store) to trace a 1/2 inch larger than my table top and cut it out. The diameter of my table is 40", so the diameter of my round top piece of fabric was 41".

The second piece will be a long strip which will cover the apron of your table snugly(I highlighted the apron of the table above)- it should be cut the height of the apron of your table plus one inch by the length of the perimeter of your table plus one inch (depending on how much fabric you have, you may have to piece this portion together with several shorter pieces) the apron of my table is 2" and the perimeter was 125 inches, so my second fabric piece was 3" x 126".

The third piece makes the skirt. My skirt had four little pleats, and I allowed an additional 4 inches in length per pleat. My finished skirt was 3 inches long, so my skirt piece was 142" (126" plus 16" for the pleats) by 4". Make sense?

We're almost ready to sew everything together, but before we do I want to tell you how to consistenly sew a half inch seam allowance (some projects patterns may have you sew 5/8" seam allowances, but for planning purposes sewing 1/2" seam allowances helps to keep the numbers even). Look at your sewing machine. There are probably some little guider lines (they look like marks on a ruler) just to the right of your sewing needle on the base of your machine(just to the right of where your fabric will slide under the needle). Get out a little ruler or measuring tape and figure out which little line is half an inch from your sewing needle. Mark it with a pencil or a little piece of tape if that helps. Now when you sew all you have to do is guide or "steer" the raw edge of your fabric along that line and you'll always have an even 1/2" seam allowance.

Now to piece it togehter! This is the fun part! First fold your apron piece in half, right sides together and stitch the ends together, 1/2" from the edge (using your little guide line) turning it into a giant loop. Then do the same with your skirt piece.

Next, attach your apron piece to your top piece. Lay your apron piece on top of your top piece, right sides together lining up the edges. You're sewing one long side of your apron piece to the outer edge of your top piece. Now sew a straight stitch all the way around keeping the two pieces lined up (I find this simple enough without pinning the two pieces together, but go ahead and pin if you prefer!). Make sure and keep the raw edge running along that half inch marker.

Now the top is attached to the apron all the way around. If you want it to be machine washable, reinforece the seam by stitching all the way around the same seam again, this time stitching 1/4" from the raw edge in the seam allowance. Then carefully trim the excess fabric close to the stitching (but be careful not to cut into the stitching!) and finally press the seam down towards the apron, away from the top piece.

Now for the skirt. I find it easier to hem the skirt piece before attaching it to the apron piece, but if you'd prefer you can hem it last. You can hem by hand, or do a machine blind hem (I'll do a separate post on that if anyone's interested!), But I think just a basic straight hem will do here just fine. Press the bottom 1/2" of fabric under, then press 1/4" of that in again. Run a straight stitch close to the second fold.

Now slip the top+apron piece onto your table. Pin the skirt piece to the bottom of the apron piece, aligning the pleats as you like and hiding the skirt seam(s) in the pleats the best you can. Stitch. Reinforce. Trim. Press. Slip it on your table and admire your handy-work, you fabulous thing!

I stitched 4 little pieces of ribbon inside each pleat on mine to tie around each leg to hold it in place, but if you don't have cute little buggers pulling on yours that may not be necessary!

If any of this is at all confusing- please don't hesitate to ask me a question! I know I've used a bit of sewing jargon here, so if any of this is confusing or if there's some ternimnology that you're not familiar with, please ask! I'd be all to happy to explain!!



  1. Great tutorial! :) Your coffee table is so beautiful and dressed up!

    No worries about the party. People are always free to link up solutions. :) I am planning on doing an "After" party sometime soon for people to show the progress they've made. I have not made much. ;)

  2. Hi Pam!

    I just saw your coffee table skirt and the sofa slipcover. I have to say I am in love with them! So so so wonderful!


  3. Hi, I came to you off of Nester and I am so glad that I did! I sew, not well, but I do sew. I would love to know how to blind stitch. I know it is all in the folding of the fabric and that you need to think upside down or backwards. Obviously I need a tutorial, so if you could be so kind. Thanks. Your house as well as your babies are beautiful.

  4. I love your coffee table cover!(and your SOFA SLIPCOVER - OH MY!) You are very talented! Mostly, I'm impressed how you can stay focused long enough to do these things!

    Can you write a tutorial on that??? (giggles)


  5. Okay, How in the world have I missed your blog? I cannot believe I have never been here. You've got amazing style! Can't wait to look around some more. And I am adding your to my google reader! :)

  6. We are the supplier of Lycra chair covers for hotels and catering. Also we are Banquet Furniture importer. We have different varieties of Cocktail tables.

  7. Great tips, many thanks for sharing. I have printed and will stick on the wall! I like this blog. Buy Kitchen Curtains Online


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