Since 1970

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jolene Newman rocks!!!

Ten years ago or so a student named Jolene Newman came to my seminar(s).  She brought a tiny wing chair that she covered during the seminar; now she has made a new cover featuring buttons on the skirt.  Isn't it wonderful???
Here's a shot of her neat and very complete workroom:
Before and after photos: 
Jolene, I have never seen neater work!!!  Many more happy years of slipcover making. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dede O'Hair's Workroom Buttons

Dede O'Hair's West Village Studio offers snap buttons, pin buttons (for ties, lapels, etc.) and tack buttons for upholstery.  They come in all sizes, and are easy to cover with your own fabric.  Fabric-covered buttons can now be snap closures for our slipcovers!!!  Also for duvets, pillows, and clothing....
Owner Dede O'Hair started sewing on her mother's Kenmore at the age of five.  Her award-winning work has appeared on the A&E television network and is often showcased in regional publications.  She is a frequent contributor to trade journals, and teaches at industry conferences throughout the country.

All the best, Dede!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Star-Spangled July 4 Slipcovers

 From  Slipcover  you can order anything .... zippered cushion covers to wing chair covers complete with fabric.  Dining chair covers are only $49! Delivery is promised in 5 working days.

The whole product line can be seen or you can go straight to the fabric sample page and browse by pattern or color. 

Measurements are required and there is no return on custom made covers, of course.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Introducing John French

One of my former students, John French, is also teaching slipcover making.  Starting in Dallas, after a few years in Wales, John is back in the US in the Seattle area.  His site just keeps getting better and better and his photo gallery of students' work includes more student pictures and messages than any site of this kind.

Here's to you, John.  May you enjoy teaching as much as I do.  Many more happy years....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Becky Spicer

In 1999 Becky Spicer walked into my shop on Park Hill for the first time.  She said: "Hi, I am Becky Spicer and I have moved here from Dallas.  I make slipcovers."  Turns out her former name was Becky Pena, and she was already very popular in the Dallas area..

Becky learned to make slipcovers from her grandmother.  She said she used to hide under the sewing table and fall asleep.  This picture shows Becky pinning a very unusual arm style, flat on top with an "S" curve.  This chair is an open arm chair, but the slipcover will likely cover the entire chair, wood and all.

I offered Becky a job and she worked in the Park Hill shop for a year or so.  During that time she made friends with my daughter, Anne Kuykendall, who was also working there.  They are still close friends and have made trips to Florida together to visit Anne's brother, Bill Reese.

During the Slipcover Summit that was held here in Fort Worth, Becky taught a class on closings, which was very well received. She makes beautiful slipcovers.  Her website is at


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sources for Slipcover Tools

Through the years I have collected a good many sources for tools as well as supplies.  One of my favorites is Banasch's.  They are in Cincinnati, Ohio and carry all kind of supplies and equipment for anybody in the business of sewing.  They have shears, machines, boiler irons, chairs for machine work, you name it.

Another is C. S. Osborne & Co. who are in Harrison, N. J.  Their things are sold through distributors, whose names you can find on the web site..  They have tools and supplies for upholsters and awning and canvas workers.

Atlanta Thread & Supply can be reached at 1-800-847-1001.  They guarantee same day shipping.  They carry machines, lots of types of thread (a thread color chart is in their catalog) They have WISS shears in the 10" size that I use in the shop, and have a special pair for left handed people.  They have pins, tailor's chalk and poly bags.

R. H. Rowley Co. is the favorite in North Carolina.
They have the new quick-release rings that you need if you are making Roman shades.  They have Gutermann thread and polyester batting.  They also offer feather and down bedding and pillow forms

Please send in your own favorite sources.  In the weeks ahead I will focus on one type of tool or supplies that we all find useful.

All the best,  Pat R.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Noah Bazer, my mentor and friend

Noah has been gone from the planet for ten years or so.  I sure miss him.  He was a terrific slipcover maker from New York City originally.  These photos were slides from the 1970's which do not convert to the web especially well.  But I sure like having some tribute to him on my blog and I want to give a shout out to all of his family.  I still hear from them occasionally.
Here he is working on one of the sewing machines.  The other man in the picture is the barber from around the corner of our shop at 2251 College Avenue in south Fort Worth.  Noah always took care of our machines and he also sharpened our shears with a hand sharpener that isn't available any more.  You could take the blades apart and sharpen them each one  at an exact 15 degree angle, so they stayed sharp for a long time.

This picture was made at the opening reception for Westgate Fabrics location in Grand Prairie.  In those days they had a screening plant as well as a warehouse and a staff of people who drew exclusive designs for them.

Noah made slipcovers till he was 80 years old.  Then he sold his shop to me and went to Florida to live.  I saw him a couple of times after that.  I sure miss him.  Here's to you, Noah!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Covering a TubChair or Barrel Chair

Cover for a tub style chair has some differences, especially in the tuck-ins, which have to be made in a curved shape.  The inside back and arm pieces require little "gussets" or inserts to make the fabric flare out and fill in the tuck-in space correctly.  A DVD with printed assembly instructions is available on the Slipcover University website.  Right now you can order one at half price!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How Karen Erickson and I founded Slipcover Network (years ago)

 The year was 1999.  Meeting Karen Erickson was a milestone for me.  She wanted to form a league of professional slipcover makers and so did I.  Here's the original story:

An energetic and dedicated woman, Karen began to travel the country, presenting workshops in fabric stores and at trade shows.  I joined her for one in Las Vegas, and not long after we began to have an annual get-together called the Slipcover Summit.  The first year it was in Delaware, then its second event was here in Fort Worth.

This year it's in Tennessee June 23-25th.  Lots of classes and inspiration are offered.  Check it out!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Using multiple fabrics for a slipcover

This sofa cover was made for a restaurant waiting room in Dallas. There are five fabrics involved, including the polka dots for the back cushions and the cording, made from black and white striped fabric cut on the bias.  This would also be good done in small-scale prints and stripes in mixed colors.  

If you have done a multi-fabric cover, please send us a photo and some comments if you have time.
love,  Pat

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Slipcover with Dressmaker Skirt

This tone-on-tone gray cover is trimmed with a ribbon-style trim.  Usually I cut slipcovers in the customer's home, but for this style the piece has to be brought in to the shop.

I make the entire cover with extra length on the skirt (including pleat inserts) and then with the cover on the chair I mark and pin the hemline.  This is why I call this style "dressmaker skirt"

The flat welt in the seams is another way to personalize the cover.  Corners of the cushion have little pleats to make the flat welt go around corners well.  This style is the only time I cut strips on the straight grain of the fabric.  Any other time I use bias-covered welt.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A new way to buy slipcovers: replacements for original made-to-order furniture

Another clever way to order slips for your furniture has surfaced.

If you have furniture that came with slips, there is a terrific site with most major brands available, including Mitchell Gold, Pottery Barn and others.  Prices start at about $150 and fit is guaranteed if you order the correct style to begin with. (They will help you check if you're not sure what you have.)

Fabric swatches can be ordered easily online; best way to match is to photograph your existing fabric up close, and compare that with the photos of swatches with different weaves and textures.  Prints I did not see but it never hurts to ask questions.

These same folks make replacement cushions 
at a reasonable price  if ordered along with  slipcovers.
I don't own any of this type of furniture for obvious reasons.  Would love to hear from anyone who has tried this service.  There are some testimonials on the site; let us know.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Altering Ready-Mades

Assuming, of course, that you can find fabric that you like,one way to go if you can't afford custom and don't want to sew a cover is to buy one ready-made and alter it.

First, check the measurements of your sofa or chair (length from front to back, side to side, and top to floor)  and then go shopping.  Internet preferred, of course, since we all want to save gas. Check the measurements of the ready-made cover to be sure it is at least as large as your measurements and possibly a little over.

When you get it home, put the cover on the chair or sofa, take a good look, and decide if you want it smaller somewhere. Do the same thing with the cushion cover(s).  If there is cord in the seams, you will have to open them at this point. Turn the cover wrong side out and pin the seams that need taking in. Do it with large stitches first, so you can tweak the fit if you need to.

Note: if you want to do this by hand, just be sure that you make "back-stitches" every inch or so, to keep the stitches from pulling out under stress. Sew the seams with LARGE machine stitches at first.

After you have a good fit, replace the cord in the seams if there is any, re-sew and trim the seams. Serge them, if possible.  Most ready-made slips are in less than wonderful fabric, and you don't want any fraying in the washing machine.  Some people even bind the seams by putting strips of bias tape or something like it over the seams.

If this system works for you, please send us a picture of your results.  Wing chairs are the hardest, but if you Google "wing chair slipcovers" you will be surprised how many sources you find!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Welcome to Slipcover University

Just a little blog for people with slipcovers on the brain, like me.

I hope to hear from folks who are using a Slipcover University  DVD or book.   I just sent a package to Dede O'Hair, a veteran of one of my classes at the Slipcover Summit. She turned up last week on the Workroom Association of America newsgroup. 

Or maybe we will hear soon from Carolyn Bentley, in Hamilton, GA.  Carolyn plans to cover a sofa with two seat and two back cushions.  She sent photos and measurements; I made up a custom kit of instructions with lots of pictures to show her how to cut and assemble her cover.  With this and the cushion DVD she is all set to start a new look in her family room!!!

.  There are lots of slipcover instructions and patterns out there.  You can find them in fabric stores, as well as online.  If you find something  that is more complete or easily followed than the SCU items, I will send back your money so soon it will make your eyes water.

In the meantime, please take a look at the SCU catalog.  Even if you aren't planning to make your own covers, you might find some terrific ideas, like the monogrammed dining chairs, or my new custom made patterns. For instance, make a folding chair look like a million bucks$$$...