You don’t have to be an expert in fabric science to pick the right fabric for your slipcover. I tell my clients it’s like buying a pair of pants. If you were shopping for a pair of pants that you could wear every day, wash and dry; not worrying about getting a stain on them, what would you buy?
On the flip side, if you have a pair you can only wear now and then, don’t want to stain and have to take to the cleaners, what would you buy?
In our business, we call this the ‘hand.’ It literally means how does it feel. Is it heavy or light, soft or hard, drapey or stiff? There is no right or wrong answer, just how it feels to you.
Personally, I do have a few preferences. I always look for a ‘medium’ weight, or multi-purpose in the description. A little stretch, what we call ‘give’, is great for slipcovers. So are solid fabrics. A pattern fabric is a matter of taste.
A few things I think don’t work:
Fabric that is too light-weight doesn’t really make a good slipcover. Delicate fabrics might not wear well.
Fabrics with too much stretch don’t work either. A knit fabric, even a double-knit, will not hold its shape.
If you have an existing pattern you want to cover, a fabric that is too sheer won’t cut it. You need something dense, not see-through.
Gigantic repeats will not look good on furniture. They will be hard to match and create a lot of waste.
So, when you pick a fabric for your slipcover, don’t overthink it; just feel it. Vote with your hands.