How to Make an Easy Faux-Fur Slipcover for a Storage Cube Ottoman
An Easier Way
In our home we have a game room for our kids. It used to be referred to as the "play room," but now that the kids are older, it has become known as the "game room." The game room is the go-to spot when my kids have friends over. Its contents are mainly a TV and gaming system, storage shelving, and a hand-me-down couch from my mother-in-law. The room is nothing fancy, but I want it to be a friendly, fun and attractive room for my kids and their friends. I'd rather have my teens and their friends here in my home than out who-knows-where doing who-knows-what, right?
The couch isn't all that large, seating three, maybe four kids at most. I rely on storage cube ottomans for extra seating. The storage cubes are versatile, also serving as comfy foot stools when there are only a few kids using the room. The cubes were a bright lime green when I purchased them, but over the years they have become stained, faded and ugly. They are holdovers from the "play room" days, and while other elements in the game room are fairly new and nice-looking, the storage cubes were badly in need of an update.
What I really wanted was the ultimate in quick and easy updates: to buy some pre-made slipcovers. I hoped some business somewhere had them for sale, as these storage cubes are fairly popular and seem to come in a uniform size. However, I could not find any ready-made slipcovers, only instructions to make my own DIY slipcovers.
The DIY slipcover instructions I found all involved staple guns or hot glue, or cutting out individual squares for each side and sewing them together. I really didn't want to deal with a project which was that involved. I also knew I wanted the storage ottoman slipcovers to be faux fur, but had reservations about gumming up my sewing machine with thick, furry material. Additionally, I was concerned about the cube lids being permanently upholstered shut, or not fitting correctly onto the cubes if they were recovered separately.
I had just about given up when I remembered a method my mom taught me once when making a box-shaped Halloween costume. It is a super easy solution—a slipcover that is created right over the storage ottoman, with minimal cutting and measuring—and I didn't even have to drag out and set up the sewing machine!
Project notes: You can make this slipcover out of any material, but using faux fur works best, because the long nap of the fur hides a multitude of sewing sins. If you prefer slipcovers made of thinner, smoother material, your best bet is probably to measure and cut out squares or panels for each side and sew them together using a sewing machine.
Of course, it is best to measure your ottoman (steps 1-3) before purchasing fabric, so that you don't purchase too little or waste money purchasing too much fabric. Faux fur can sometimes be pricey. Shop around and you can find some great bargains. I found this black, curly, fairly short fur at JoAnn's. At 60 inches wide, it was more than wide enough for my project, and thanks to a 40% off coupon that is just about always available, it was a bargain at approximately $9 per yard.
Instructions for Making the Slipcover
1. Use a measuring tape to measure your ottoman from the floor up one side, across the top and down the other side to the floor. For example, my storage cube measured 15 inches up one side, 14 inches across the top, and 15 inches back down the other side, totaling 44 inches. Write this number down.
2. Measure the next side over the same way, and write this number down as well. Because my ottoman is square, this measurement is the same as the first one: 44 inches. If your ottoman is rectangular, however, the second number will be different from your first number.
3. The two numbers you've written down make up the size of faux fur needed to cover your ottoman. For my storage cube, that was 44 inches x 44 inches.
4. Lay your fabric out on a table or on the floor and use a yardstick or a ruler to measure and mark the cutting lines for the size you need, then cut the fabric. For faux fur, it works best to lay the fabric out fur-side down and mark the flat side. I like to use a T-square to help ensure right angles and straight cutting lines. If working with dark-colored fabric, light-colored chalk works well for marking.
Another tip for working with faux fur: when cutting it, lay it fur-side down and use a razor blade or X-Acto knife, rather than scissors, to carefully cut only the fabric backing instead of the fur itself. This will save you lots of little bits of cut fur flying around, making a mess. Once you've completed your cutting, you may find it helpful to take the fabric outside for a good shake, and watch those fuzzies fly away in the breeze rather than making a mess in your home.
5. Place the cut fabric, right-side down, over your ottoman. Arrange the fabric so that it is placed squarely and evenly over the ottoman, and it just touches the floor evenly on all four sides. Starting with this step, I placed the ottoman on my kitchen table. This was much easier and more convenient than working on the floor.
6. One side at a time, pin the fabric together along the corners. Work from the top down to the bottom, gently pulling the fabric and smoothing it across each side of the ottoman, so that each side panel is smooth and fitted rather than baggy or gaping. At the same time, don't pull the fabric so tightly that the slipcover will be difficult to pull over the ottoman when you're finished making it. See photo below.
7. Using a needle and thread, hand-sew down the length of the corners as you have pinned them, removing the pins as you go. I found starting at the top and working down to be easiest. Keep in mind the hand-sewing does not have to be perfectly uniform, as the fur will hide any imperfections once you turn the slipcover right-side out. Make sure to knot/tie off the beginning and ending stitches well so that your hand-sewing does not come undone later. Some of my stitches were quite large (meaning far apart), so I went ahead and stitched back up to the top after I reached the bottom, just to give the stitching a bit of extra strength. (See photo above.)
8. Hold the excess fabric fairly taut with one hand and use your other hand to trim off the excess fabric at the corners, leaving about 1/4 to 1/2 inch remaining seam allowance. I found cutting from top to bottom worked well. (See photos below.)
9. Remove the slipcover from the ottoman, turn it right-side out, and slip it back over the ottoman. Voila, you're finished!
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