Decide on a look
Covers are versatile and can be modern, classic or playful. They can either be made to look loose, which gives the furniture piece a relaxed casual appearance or tailored, which is usually tightly fitted and applied with Velcro to keep its shape.
Choose the right fabric
Fabric choice is very important. It should drape and hang neatly, and be easily washable. A linen/cotton blend is the most practical, while mock suedes or heavy duty fabrics often curl and don’t drape easily. If you have kids and pets, choose an option that is less likely to stain such as a very tightly woven fabric with synthetic fibres.
Pre-shrink the fabric
Most fabrics are generally pre-shrunk but be sure to ask before buying. Otherwise, you can pre-shrink your fabric before you cut it to size for your sofa. Zig-zag the edges with pinking sheers so they don’t unravel in the wash, then hand-wash the cover in cold water to ensure that the colour doesn’t run. For delicate fabrics such as wool or silk, rather opt for dry- cleaning. You can then iron the fabric to smooth out any wrinkles after the pre-shrinking process.
Refitting your covers
Probably the biggest disadvantage of covers is that they can be a struggle to put back on once they’ve been washed. While most covers should be professionally dry-cleaned, it’s best to replace the cover while still slightly damp as this makes it far easier to fit.
Tip Always wash the seat and frame covers simultaneously to prevent them wearing or fading unevenly.
NB: Always read the washing instructions on a ready-made cover.
Keep your sofa looking good
It’s important to look after your sofa. The whole cover should be removed regularly and replaced to ensure that seams line up neatly. Cushions filled with goose down feathers need to be shaken to maintain the shape and add volume. Also, sit on both sides of the sofa, not just one favourite side, to ensure it wears evenly.
NB: Fabric fades in direct sunlight, so draw the curtains or toss a throw over to prolong the life of your sofa.
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