Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Domestic Diva meets her Match

Okay--I'll confess, I'm usually a domestic diva. I've sewn my own curtains, painted my own walls, stenciled my borders, even laid tile. When the disposal is stuck, I fix it. When the plumbing is leaking, I stop it (or call the plumber). I can dismantle a vacuum cleaner, rehang an electric chandelier, and gather a ruffle in a flash.

But I have met my Waterloo and I'm crying uncle.

I cannot TELL you how many times I've ordered slipcovers from all the best companies, and I can never get them to look right. Never! I usually give up and either stick the slipcover in a drawer (thinking that someday the slipcover fairy will wave her magic wand over me), send it back, or use it for something like dust rags.

Upstairs we have a perfectly functional sofa and loveseat, but the loveseat is situated where the sun shines on it, and as a result, the fabric weakened and ripped--on both sides of the seat cushion. So, reluctant to get rid of a perfectly functional love seat and matching sofa, I ordered two easy-looking slip covers from a hip catalog company. You can see their photo . . . and mine.

I tell you, I searched for directions and found none except "drape over furniture, tuck excess into cracks, and enjoy." Ha! I tugged and tucked and tucked and tugged and stuffed. I kept stuffing the excess into the cracks between cushions to the point where my fledgling fingernails kept buckling from the pressure (and I seem to only grow fingernails between books, so I'll probably lose them soon, anyway.) I know my covers are still wrinkled from the packaging, but I had to see if they'll work before I decide whether or not to send them back . . .

Sigh. I simply cannot get them to look like the picture. If you have any tips, I'm all ears. Until then, I have covered up the worst wrinkles and stuffingswith strategically-placed pillows and throws.

Now I'm waiting for someone to spill something so I can take them off, launder them, and hopefully get the wrinkles out. In the mean time, I shall grin and bear this domestic humiliation because the thought of taking them off to get rid of the wrinkles . . . well, it's not gonna happen. :-) It look nearly an hour to get them to look THIS good.



Captain Richard Bradley said...

Starch and Ironing... Also for a cheat that nobody will really know. Get you a piece of padding to put across the whole couch so you want see the cushions.

Mocha with Linda said...

Well, I'm no help. Maybe they photoshop their picture like magazines do with those svelte models. Seems like once you get it perfectly straight, it would wrinkle as soon as someone sits on it anyway. Just call it shabby chic.

But I do admit it's kinda nice for the rest of us to know you do have something you can't do! :-)

Anonymous said...

Slipcovers have alway been a great mystery to me too. The only slipcover I have ever seen drape like it was supposed to was this polyester thing my Great Aunt had on her sofa when I was a kid. You had to smooth the wrinkles out and straighten it after you sat on it. Then there's my mother in law who throws sheets over her furniture and washes them when they get dirty. No one knows what her furniture looks like, but the sheets are always clean. Barbara

Michelle said...

I recently bought a stretch slipcover, thinking the stretch would help keep it straight. Ha!! However, the directions did say a wooden spoon is your best friend. You can tuck a lot further down with a wooden spoon, and save your fingernails!! Now I just tuck (with said spoon) every few days. What a pain!

Kay Day said...

They've clearly starched theirs and ironed pleats into all the right places. I'm not sure how they did that without some kind of diagram and trigonometry or something.
It's an impossible standard. So, pat yourself on the back and move on.

Anonymous said...

Ditto Linda and Kay!

I've had similar probs. with mine, as you describe, Angie. The spoon is a great idea. And I found over time (and a few washings) they became softer, don't wrinkle every time we sit on them, and drape better. Think of it this way--if they looked like the photo, it'd be harder to relax on that loveseat! Sure would be nice, though, if we knew ahead of time which brands were cut extra roomy and which were petite.

Blessings, do-it-yourself-queen with an off-center crown. :-)
Mary Kay

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Angie. I tried slipcovers in my condo. Loved the pattern, hated the way it was constantly on the move. Finally sewed the danged thing to the sofa underneath, rendering the pull-out bed feature totally useless. I fooled myself into thinking that I won. Clyde

Nicole Arbuckle said...


I just bought some slip covers from Pottery Barn and had the same problem. I bought a little steamer (for my clothes) from that HSN outlet store near Bardmoor for $7. I put the covers on the couch and steamed out the wrinkles. (The steamer will need an extension cord.) It doesn't look as good as the picture, but it looks a lot better.

PS.. It has been years since I have been in one of your homes, but they are always beautiful. You are still a domestic diva!

- Nikki (Carrozza) Arbuckle

Angela said...

That's a great idea, Nikki. I have a steamer, so I'll get Gary to haul it upstairs. Might steam some curtains while I'm up there, too! ;-)

I've so enjoyed your slipcover stories. At least there's good company in slipcover misery. LOL!


Debby said...

Not only can I not tell you how to get your slip covers to look like the picture (I'm not a housekeeping diva by any stretch of the imagination!), I'd like someone to tell me how you get the slip covers to stay looking like that when people actually use the furniture!!! Good luck and I can't wait for the update!

Anonymous said...

Leather sofa, love seat, and chairs. That is the answer. Really. They can take anything, quickly warm up to your body temperature, and you can decorate with your home made cloth pillows or blankets to your heart's desire. Any scratches can be polished out with a cloth and leather cleaner or left as memory of events gone by.