March 07, 2006

Slipcover Hell

HGTV has failed me. All those hours watching all those episodes of Designer's Challenge . . . Design on a Dime . . . Designed to Sell . . . and for what? For what?

For me to turn my home into a damn Holiday Inn, that's what:

(Andrea, feel free to shield yourself against the three of the Four Colors of the Apocalypse on display in that picture.)

No, I guess I don't know what I was thinking with this. Well, I know some things I was thinking. I was thinking, for a start, how stupid it was of me not to declaw that one cat I adopted for about three years, that insane feral cat who wrecked one arm of my loveseat--that was one thing I was thinking. I was also thinking, "Hey, $42.00 for a slipcover at I'm so there!" And then finally I was thinking, "What a lovely warm russet that is," completely forgetting the advice my mother has pounded into my head since infancy, namely, that every color looks 30 times darker once you get it out from under the display lights used to photograph it and into your actual cave home.

Things I was not thinking:

  • "That 'lovely warm russet' is bound to be the color of dried blood in real life."
  • "Stripes? On a slipcover? Those will never line up properly and I will go slowly mad from obsessively straightening, straightening, straightening--NO, YOU MAY NOT SIT ON THE SOFA! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!--straightening, straightening . . . ."
  • "I have never before applied a slipcover to an item of furniture in my entire life."

  • Yes, I did indeed do the trick with the rolled-up magazines, in case you were going to suggest that one. It doesn't help; the minute anyone sits down on the damn thing, it's all over. Also, notice the parts of the couch that aren't horribly cheap and shiny looking? The parts that don't scream, "I am 100% polyester, baby?" Those would be the parts that have been dulled by the excessive application of CAT FUR.

    I have owned this slipcover for one week and I am already ready to tear it into little tiny pieces, because in fact I don't have time to keep up with the straightening and the tucking and the pleating and the--how could I have watched this much HGTV and yet learned nothing? How is this possible?

    UPDATE: The potential for annoyance is limitless in the world of slipcovers. Consider the Matelasse Loveseat Slipcover in "Tomatillo," for example, an image of which I have shamelessly lifted from


    Now consider an actual tomatillo. And yes, tomatillos are all that color*, namely, BRILLIANT GREEN. Not RUSTY RED, you ignorant Matelassian marketing morons. And is it just the makers of the Matelasse Loveseat Slipcover who are doing this? No, it is not. I have seen other "tomatillo"-colored housewares and slipcovers. I'm just picking on Matelasse because they are so woefully unclear on whether it's cooler to be French or Spanish and with the "tomatillo" slipcover, it's clear they decided to JUST BE BOTH.

    Pretty soon tomatillo will mean "a relative of the tomato and member of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family [that provides the] tart flavor in a host of Mexican green sauces," and it will ALSO mean "An ugly shade of red which people who don't know the first thing about traditional Mexican foods have stupidly decided to call 'tomatillo' in the mistaken belief that it sounds more exotic and spicy that way. ĦAy yi yi!"

    Who's up for more margaritas? Hey, I'm from Minnesota, but the wife and I, we really thought that POLE-OH cahn LY-MON that we had down in San Antonio last summer, when we took the kids to Sea World, was just super!

    *Unless they are ripe, in which case no one eats them. It would be like noting that technically, bananas can be brown: Yes, but is it most common to eat them that way? Is that the color you answer when someone asks you what color a banana is?--So don't let's be smartasses about this. You will never see tomatillos in the supermarkets in any color but green, and so it will be until some celebrity chef decides that the redder, riper ones "lend a sublime tartness" to, I don't know, Yorkshire pudding or something. They're always doing that kind of thing, celebrity chefs.

    Posted by Ilyka at March 7, 2006 07:42 PM in navel gazing

    YOu need to get upholstery pins. These are pins shaped sort of like little coils with sharp ends. You use them to pin the slipcover to the sofa (the coil screws into the padding) so it won't move.

    I had a striped slipcover once. Green and white. What can I say, I had to do something about the hideously ugly oatmeal-colored loveseat. But I discarded it ages ago.

    Posted by: Andrea Harris at March 8, 2006 10:26 AM
    You use them to pin the slipcover to the sofa (the coil screws into the padding) so it won't move.

    A-ha! THANK you! I will do this!

    As soon as I get a slipcover that is not the color of dried blood, I mean.

    Posted by: ilyka at March 8, 2006 04:47 PM

    Slipcovers. :sigh: I ALMOST bought a slipcover a few months ago, but I happened to stumble across a picture of someone selling one used (yuck! why?!) and it was on her sofa. And looked like shit, all rumpled up, despite the fact that you could TELL she tried to make it look neat. That extinguished any bright ideas of slipcovering my sofa.

    Upholstery pins? I didn't know about them, but I know myself--that's one of those things that would inevitably fall under the "I'll get around to it" category, which means it would never happen. It sounds like a pain in the ass, especially for someone like me who would probably end up adjusting them eversoslightly over and over again until the couch has the relative form of baby swiss cheese.

    I just threw out the couch, in the end.

    And what's wrong with dried blood color?!? (You would so hate my LOUDLY colored house--the walls in the LR and DR are that "tomatillo" color, and the walls in my room are DARK PURPLE. And...well, you get the point.)

    Posted by: Beth at March 10, 2006 09:46 PM

    Damn, I just looked at the big version of the picture and you did it pretty well! I mean the stripes ARE lined up! (THAT would make me utterly batshit crazy.)

    What's the magazine trick, anyway? Oh, nevermind. I am NOT going to get a slipcover. Not. NOT.

    Posted by: Beth at March 10, 2006 09:54 PM

    The magazine trick--although actually, I used newspapers--involves rolling up mags/papers very tightly into tubes, taping them so they stay rolled up, and shoving them down between the cushions in the couch to help anchor the slipcover.

    Problem is, after people sit down/get up enough times with the sofa, the rolled-up whatevers work themselves loose and now not ONLY do you have a rumpled sagging slipcover, but you also have newspapers poking out of its crevices. Ugh.

    I'm thinking the upholstery pins would be a much neater solution, but I'm a lot like you in the "I'll get around to it" department, so I'm not sure how soon I'll acquire any.

    Posted by: ilyka at March 11, 2006 02:48 AM

    Upholstery pins!! FORGET that!! I have tried the pins and it just ruin the couch! Yes, I remembered those stripes....what were the manufacturer thinking??? STRIPES??? How do they expect us to keep straightening the lines!! Yes, I do so hate slipcover and yet at this very moment I am MAKING A SLIPCOVER! However, I amNOT making a slipcover to cover over the entire couch. I am making a seperate cover for the cushion. Hopefully this will eliminate the needs to constantly straightening the slip. Wish me luck...will update soon on how this works out. :)

    Posted by: Natalie at May 28, 2006 06:15 PM