Our Poor Couch, Part III: Prevention, DIY Couch Cover


How to sew a couch cover for an L shaped couch without removable cushions.

Step 3: Prevention

I have seen these furniture covers in magazines for some time and been coveting them, but haven't actually picked one up. It always seemed pointless (and expensive) when I had old sheets I could throw over them and I also never could find a cover that would work on my L-shaped couch. I couldn't just make covers for the cushions because the cushions are sewn into the couch. Sad. That would've been way easier as a project! Custom couch coverings were an option but so so expensive.

When I started crafting, I sewed some blankets together to make it cover our couch better, but it's not very attractive. I just didn't have the knowledge that I have now about sewing to make one myself, and I definitely didn't have the knowledge about fabrics. Not that my knowledge is THAT extensive now, but it's better. So the last part of "saving" this couch is prevention... I need one of these couch coverings because with Baby G, a cocker spaniel, and an australian shepherd, things happen. Frequently. Just yesterday, Baby G upturned half a bowl of oatmeal on it.

The best part is that I found a local home decorator's fabric yard sale in my area with remnants (most of which was 3 yards or less) for $2 per yard. 

I decided that a thick material, preferably polyester (to repel, instead of absorb, the inevitable spills), would be best. It needs to be easy to clean, using the washer and dryer, as our australian shepherd sheds pretty bad. I did not want to make one big cover because my couch is large and one cover would be huge and difficult to fit in the wash. A two part cover is ideal and I can use snaps to hold it together while it's on the couch. To get the cover to stay on (unlike the sheets that I throw over the couch), we decided to leave a lot of extra fabric in the middle to tuck into the crease between the pillows (our pillows don't remove, but you can loose stuff in there still) and we wanted a flap to go over the back of the couch enough that it wouldn't slide down. My cocker spaniel likes to sit on the very top of the couch so that's helpful. 

Sewing couch cover for an L shaped couch.Before picture of the tan microfiber on the couch, disgusting.

Yeah, he thinks he's the boss.

We decided not to do flaps that go over the arms of the couch because the arms don't get furry, being that they're leather. 

Daddy B was pretty excited about this project so he helped me figure out my measurements. We started by drawing out a pattern and measuring, etc. Daddy B decided it'd be better to just put the fabric on top though and then snip where we wanted it to be. I had a hard time with this- soooo afraid of messing up and wasting fabric- but it worked out. We compared it with our estimated measurements before we cut though. 

Tucking fabric around our couch to determine how to sew the couch coverings.
After we cut out the design, he tucked it all in to see if it worked before we cut the second piece of material (to go under the main fabric)
Sewing fabric together to make an L shaped cover for the couch.
I put the piece we already cut right sides together with the second material, pinned them together, and carefully cut a matching piece.
Then I sewed the fabrics right sides together, leaving an opening to turn and topstitch. 
Ugh soooo much stinkin' fabric. I have trouble working with this much material in my tiny condo.  This is where I turned the material correct sides out and top stitched. I used heavy thread and a needle meant for jeans (lot of fabric, figured it was better to use a stronger needle).
Couch coverings for L shaped couch.
I put my cover on the part of the couch that it was made for and realized that the corners needed to be finished to fit on tighter.
I folded it like this, and pinned it.
I finished this piece of of the cover by sewing a straight stitch up each side where I'd pinned it. 

Here's how it looks on the end of my couch:

This is the point where buying remnants kind of stinks... I actually didn't have enough continuous pieces to make the other cover for the regular part of the couch. I definitely didn't have enough fabric for the bottom fabric, but I had enough for the top- just not continuous. So I figured out how to piece them together so that it'd work. I pinned the two pieces of fabric that I was combining right sides together, stitched a straight stitch up it, trimmed off the excess (the excess was mostly selvedge in this case), turned and top stitched. 

For the bottom fabric, I had to buy another 2.5 yards of fabric from Joann's this time. Wow upholstery fabric is expensive! I told Daddy B that it would be before I went, but I was thinking around $20/yard, not $20-60+ per yard! I bought a coordinating fabric that was 60% off so the 2.5 yards cost me $35 instead of $85 (or something to that effect). It still wasn't quite enough (sigh, my bad) so I just added some leftovers from the bottom of the other piece and it looks fine, especially as it's the fabric underneath which doesn't show. I cut out my bottom fabric once I patched the two pieces together, pinned it right sides together with my top fabric, stitched, then turned and topstitched. 

At this point, I was going to add snaps to the flaps so that the covers wouldn't shift, but it turned out to be unnecessary so I'm going to hold off. If I need to add them later then I will, but the flaps and the amount of fabric we have tucked into the couch has made the cover pretty immobile. 

So I wasn't going to add my "pattern" or measurements because I'm definitely not a professional here and I hate having someone do something incorrectly because of my measurements... plus there's probably only a few people with this exact couch out there. But I decided to take some measurements anyways in hopes that it might be helpful for others trying to make their own couch covers. Just keep in mind- I started sewing about a year ago and this is my first time doing any sort of real upholstery stuff.

Below are the measurements of my cover without seam allowance added. Note that these are somewhat rough because I measured after I sewed it all. This seems really complicated, but we figured out our measurements by picturing what our completed cover would look like. We tucked the fabric all the way into the cushions so that it would be sturdy and not shift as much as people (or dogs) sat on the couch. We added the flaps because we wanted to cover as much as possible and give me a place to add snaps to hook the individual cover pieces together, if necessary. A really basic version of this for a regular couch would just be one big rectangle- super easy. 

Throw Pillows

Matching throw pillows for the couch covers.To polish off my couch, I wanted to add three throw pillows in matching fabrics. I used what was left of my fabric. I bought three pillow forms at Joann's while they were on sale. They're nice and squishy. I love them. I found this tutorial on making covers, although I did not add any trim. I hope I don't regret that, but I didn't think about it when I went to Joann's and I have no desire to go back. That store sucks me in and I never leave. 

Besides not doing the trim, I also did not round the corners. I was having a hard time visualizing which corner was which and figured I'd just screw it up. I have no issues sewing square corners. I just cut my pieces for all three pillows, finished the edges using a zigzag, and then sewed as explained in the tutorial. 

Final Pictures with Pillows

From the back of the couch 

From the front

L shaped couch with a custom made cover.


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DIY Danielle: Our Poor Couch, Part III: Prevention, DIY Couch Cover
Our Poor Couch, Part III: Prevention, DIY Couch Cover
How to sew a couch cover for an L shaped couch without removable cushions.
DIY Danielle
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