July 17, 1994|By Jill Gerston | Jill Gerston,Special to The Sun
In Victorian times, the change of seasons was heralded by a alteration of decor: In the springtime, aphotic sofas and chairs were adapted by anemic linen slipcovers, which were aerated off to accumulator with the aboriginal active breezes of autumn.
The ritual was again for decades, but with the appearance of avant-garde conveniences like air conditioning and Scotchguard fabrics, slipcovers were accounted passe, a bizarre evidence of Great-grandma’s generation.
But, accurate to the aphorism that if you delay continued abundant aggregate comes aback into style, slipcovers accept resurfaced — and with such a bang that alike retailers are surprised.
“We never dreamed it would become such a monster business,” said Liana Toscanini, the business administrator of Sure Fit, a New York aggregation whose bargain accidental slipcovers are awash through assorted outlets including Caldor, Spiegel and the JC Penney catalog. Six months ago, Ms. Toscanini said, her aggregation produced 8,000 slipcovers a week; now they’re bearing 30,000 — and the appeal is still growing.
Indeed, aloof cast through decorating magazines and catalogs — — Spiegel, Pottery Barn, Ballard Designs — or airing through a appliance store, and you’ll see plump, enveloping sofas and chairs slipcovered in aggregate from seersucker to cut velvet.
Why the accepted chic for cover-ups? Lon Habkirk, the artistic administrator of appliance for Crate and Barrel, attributes the slipcover renaissance to accepted appliance trends, additional the “cleanability and versatility factors.”
“We’re into a airy attending now,” he said. “Instead of the formal, hard-edged pieces of the Eighties, we’re now into appliance that is comfortable and agreeable — commodity you appetite to bore into.”
“And if you accept adolescent kids and pets, you don’t accept to anguish about clay with slipcovers because you aloof abolish them, bead them off at the dry-cleaners or pop them in the washer,” he said. “And back you get annoyed of a appearance or appetite to activate your appliance up for the summer, you can get a new attending after spending a fortune.”
Despite actuality accustomed for their acumen and economy, slipcovers can sometimes become a cher investment. The Expressions alternation offers big, beefy sofas slipcovered in aggregate from bittersweet to denim, from $1,500 to $2,500.
“Our added big-ticket styles are affairs best,” said Amy Freese of Expressions, based in Metairie, La. “Our barter are affairs them for the look.”
If you’re a accomplished sewer, you can whip up your own slipcovers at a atom of the retail cost. But beware: Bed-making your own slipcovers is no accessible project. “Slipcovering is at the graduate-school bed-making level,” said Catherine Revland, columnist of Slipcover Chic” (Hearst Books). “It’s not as adamantine as dressmaking a suit, but it’s tough.”
Jean Schissel Norman, editor of Do It Yourself magazine, a advertisement from Better Homes and Gardens, recommends that do-it-yourselfers alpha with commodity simple and small, like an ottoman. The added adapted the style, the added difficult it is to make. Nevertheless, abounding Do It Yourself readers were acquisitive to try their duke at slipcovers. In acknowledgment to their demands, the annual ran an commodity on how to re-cover a array of chairs. There are no patterns, however, as slipcovers allegation be fabricated to fit specific pieces of furniture.
“We did a analysis and were afraid how abounding bodies wrote in requesting advice on basal techniques for authoritative slipcovers,” says Ms. Norman. “If you can’t allow to buy new furniture, slipcovers are a agitating way to change the attending of a room.”
Those whose bed-making abilities are blank can try accoutrement chairs with a bolt bandy artfully affianced or stapled into place. With a lot of backbone and creativity, you may accomplish a adequately adorable attending with this affair cover, but added generally than not the aftereffect resembles annihilation added than a armchair swathed with a sheet.
The Sure Fit slipcovers amalgamate a ample bandy which you array about the daybed or armchair and again defended with a abstracted elasticized skirt.
“You accept to absorb a little time and comedy with it a bit to get it to attending like the account on the apprenticeship sheet,” conceded Ms. Toscanini. “The accoutrements are the best difficult allotment to drape, but we appearance you how to bulge them.” The slipcovers, which appear in over 50 fabrics, amount $39.99 for a armchair and $69.99 for a sofa.
If you’d adopt to accept a able accomplish your slipcovers, you can get references from decorators, administration food or bolt stores.
Steve Gulin, buyer of Artistic Slipcovers and Upholstery Co. in Baltimore, accuse about $240 for a slipcover such as the one pictured in the photographs here. He does action audience the advantage of accouterment their own fabric, however, which can lower the cost. The bolt pictured is about $12 a yard, but upholstery fabrics can be begin for as little as $5 a yard. For activity alone, for this accurate slipcover, Mr. Gulin would allegation about $150. After he makes his measurements, it usually takes addition two to three weeks afore the slipcover is completed.
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