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Slipcovers for Sofas with Attached Cushions - can it be done?

A very important aspect of making customized sofa slipcovers is ensuring that all cushions are removable, i.e. not attached. The whole idea of a slipcover is so that the each cover fits over the sofa neatly, while leaving you the option of being able to change the covers easily when you need a new look or to be occasionally laundered for a fresher feeling.

We recently worked with the lovely Liz, who blogs at Love Grows Wild who came to us with a sofa and loveseat that needed slipcovers to update her living room look. After a short period of discussion about slipcover styles and fabric options, we ran into an unexpected roadblock – the back cushions of her sofa were actually attached to the frame 🙁 But she bravely soldiered on and told us – no problem, I’ll just cut them off!

It was a few nailbiting days while we waited for her response and all was fine, but it wasn’t until I read her blog post that I realised what an adventure it was! Here’s how the sofa looked like before:

Before it all began.

Perfectly fine but it didn’t quite fit into her bright, airy living room. She was looking for more of a relaxed, farmhouse chic with new custom slipcovers, and wasn’t about to be stopped by the stubbornly attached back cushions. So out came the scissors and off came the cushions.

Removing the seam that attaches the back to the frame to reveal the interior.

Did you gasp, or was it just me? What looked like two cushions is actually one extra long cushion and it’s all just… fluff. White, fluffy fluff. Also, the inside of the back frame is completely exposed. You could leave it, because the custom slipcover will go right over it, but Liz chose to cover it up for extra support.

Ta-dah! It’s patched up.

The finished look is pretty spectacular! Read more about her custom slipcover experience over at her blog, Love Grows Wild.


A few tips if you’d like to attempt this DIY:

– Start small and explore your sofa’s structure. Every sofa is built differently and there’s no telling what will happen, so snip the corner and take a peek, don’t just rip off the threads and end up unravelling your whole sofa!

– It’s a great idea to check with us if it’s actually possible to create a slipcover for your type of sofa before you attempt anything major, as certain designs are definitely non-slipcoverable. For example, wingbacks and sofas with complex shapes are examples of sofas that we can’t create slipcovers for.

Question: Can custom slipcovers be created without detaching the cushions?

Theoretically, yes. But you’ll end up with something like this:

Image from

(That’s a barbecue cover, by the way)

People get custom slipcovers for two main reasons: To save their old sofa and/or to get a new look, ideally both at the same time. If you still want the convenience of having a washable slipcover without the hassle of detaching the cushions and you aren’t too fussed about how it looks, universal slipcovers are your best bet.

Question: Why are sofas made with attached cushions in the first place?

Attached cushions are very common on sofas which are upholstered in leather as leather cushions tend to be slippery and slide off if they aren’t sewn to the frame. For fabric upholstered sofas, attaching the cushions also give it a more fitted look and can help drooping back cushions stay in shape as the sofa ages. Unfortunately they’re quite difficult to vacuum as it’s difficult to get into those nooks and crannies.

Question: Should I just opt for reupholstering my sofa with attached cushions?

With upholstery you’d be able to maintain the integrity of the sofa’s shape and it’s also the perfect option if your sofa has intricate designs on the back or armrests that would otherwise be covered up by slipcovers. Additionally, upholstery professionals could help you replace old batting and lining that may have flattened over time. Anything to save your beloved sofa!

Sofa image credits: Love Grows Wild

BBQ cover image from