One Book I Cannot Do Without- Katrin Cargill On HOW To Sew Slipcovers And Drapery

Katrin Cargill Katrin CargillKatrin Cargill

I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover, or it’s publication for that matter.

I was in goodwill a couple weeks ago, and one of the sections that I tended to ignore in the past was the book section. I bolted to the furniture section, and I was out the door in less than 15 minutes.  The book section is often an area where you can pick up books that normally sell for $15 dollars or more new, for less than a dollar.  Hard covers in my area cost $3 dollars, so you simply cannot go wrong looking through that section no matter what your interests are.

I have found that a lot of older home and garden books contain photos that are outdated, but there are a few authors who favor antiques, making their books timeless to look through.

Katrin Cargill is one of those authors, where you can pick up an older book of hers and every photo looks current.  I have enjoyed all of her books. So when I came across her book called “Fabrications; Over 1000 Ways To Decorate Your Home With Fabric” in goodwill, I instantly knew I would love it, held on to it tightly until I got out of the store. I knew this book would be one I would read over and over….

I have been sewing on and off since I have been sixteen, and I still feel I have so much left to learn. Have you ever seen a picture in a magazine, that you hope to re-create, only to leave you guessing how it was sewn? This is how I often feel; …….guess and make it work.

Cargill includes pictures of how to sew a particular project, making it easier to attempt a project you don’t know how to do.  The book was published in 1995, which seems like such a long time ago, but I am telling you, a lot of styles that are shown are current, and timeless. Here is a general outline of what you will find in this book…..

Katrin Cargill

Katrin Cargill

– Starting at page 16 she discusses window treatments. She shows pictures of double layered drapes with knotted ties attached to wooden rings.  Drapes made with metal eyelets and smocked drapes. On page 27 she details how to make tie drapes, on page 30-35, how to make cornice or pelmet drapes. If you have always loved the simplistic look of Roman shades, on page 44 she shows how to make pleats in the lining which the rods are threaded through, along with finishing touches that will make a difference. Through out this section she shows a variety of classic looking window treatments to consider sewing.

– Starting on page 48 she discusses surfaces that can be covered with fabric. She shows how elegant drapery can look hung from the wall.  Drapes are hung on mounted brass bosses that have only been seen a few places, most commonly in Napoleon’s bedroom. In a child’s bedroom, a very simple beige linen floor cloth is edged in yellow linen scallops. Page 55 shows a spectacular photograph of a room covered in French ticking.

-Page 58 starts a section that shows how to make slipcovers for sofas and chairs. Bedskirts are shown, along with loose tied coverings for French settees and daybeds. On page 66, she shows how to cover a dining room chair with a ruffle. Round tables can be dressed up with floor length table cloths with heavy fringing. If you have a wing chair that you want covered, it can be a little daunting to know where to begin. On page 74 she gives several pictures showing a step by step pictorial of how to go about sewing a loose slipcover. Scalloped and pleated table cloths are discussed in this section.

– Page 102 starts off the section on bedrooms. Several techniques for dressing up canopy and 4 poster beds are shown. If you have an older, dated headboard, make a slipcover for it. She shows several styles of slipcovers that will instantly make your bed more romantic.

– Page 130 details how you can use fabrics in bathrooms. Velcro tape can attach to sinks where a gathered printed skirt can conceal plumbing. Improve a folding screen with fabric to add a romantic touch to a larger bathroom.

-Page 141 shows a variety of projects that can be sewn up for the outdoors to make your patio more inviting in the spring and summer time. Everything from slip-covers for folding chairs, to patio loungers, to outdoor ruffled tablecloths are discussed.

-Page 150 starts a section where accessories that can be made out of fabric is discussed. Black braiding can instantly add pattern to a plain throw pillow. Learn how to combine trim and cording to embellish pillows and upholstery. Lampshades, cotton bags, pet beds, and napkins are shown.

– The back part of the book details sewing techniques. Running stitches, hemming stitch, herringbone stitch, blanket stitch and so many more key sewing techniques are discussed.

This book is one of the best, useful books I have picked up in years.

Here is the silly part…  you can buy this book on amazon for as little as one cent.

The shipping at $4 dollars will cost more than this book.  Fabrications; Over 1000 Ways To Decorate Your Home With Fabric is one of the best books in my library.  I think it will come in handy for so many of my future projects.  In addition, 98% of the photographs are either French, Swedish or cottage inspired.  You will love it!

4 Reasons To Slipcover Your Furniture

The popularity of slipcovers has been ever increasing, as decorators and homeowners realize the possibilities that slipcovers offer. They are not only decorative, but practical. At one time, slipcovers served the means of protecting upholstered furniture from the dust of summer months, although they have evolved over the years, from just large sheets which covered furniture, to be tailored to fit the shape of sofas and chairs, even having decorative pleating, ruffles and embroidery, which have been used for furnishing rooms for all-year-round use.

1. Get The Look Of A Set For Less

Buying an entire set of furniture which matches is next to impossible, especially if you love antiques. Slipcovers and fabric can unite several pieces of miss-matched pieces of furniture with ease. Consider painting the frames of the furniture, and have them slip-covered in the same material. Do what I do, and look on ebay for sellers who offer large bolts of fabric, which can be shipped to your home without having to drive from store to store.

2. Maintain Expensive Furniture With Slipcovers

Antique sofas and armchairs can be quite expensive. If you have a set you want to maintain, consider investing extra money in slipcovers. Cats tend to scratch furniture, which can destroy the upholstery of a special piece. In addition dogs which are allowed to roam outside will bring the dirt indoors and on to the furniture, which can soil a nice sofa overtime. Slipcovers give you the opportunity to wash the fabric, and maintain it’s good looks.

3. Slipcovers Can Conceal Badly Worn Fabrics Or Ugly Lines.

We all have that ugly chair or sofa that looks dated in our homes. We have all been to an estate sale where a sofa is priced right, yet we toss and turn over the purchase because the cost of upholstery is 5 times as much as the price of the sofa itself. Then there is that sofa that has beautiful feet, yet the overall fabric looks worn and outdated. What do you do that makes sense? For a piece that could function well in the home, but isn’t worth spending the money in upholstery, creating a slipcover may work best.

4. Slipcovers Offer You Change For Less

Wouldn’t it be great to change up an entire room in the winter and give a different look for the summer? Slipcovers make that possible. Linen looks crisp in the summer, while in the winter, wool might lend more of a comfort through those cold evenings. Winter slip covers can be made of thicker materials, and offer that extra warmth through those cold nights. Lighter materials can be made for the summer, which offer a pleasant coolness and crispness which is welcome during hot days.  Work with florals for the summer, and change out to something simple for the winter.

Additonal Links To Inspire You:

– Book Review: Decorating With Antiques by Caroline Clifton-Mogg

– Book Review: The French Room By Betty Lou Phillips-

– Decorating Books-

– Drop Cloth Slip Cover

-How To Make A Club Chair Slipcover-

-DIY Ottoman Slip

-How To Sew Double Cord Welting –

-Upholstery Adhesive – Beacon Magna-Tac 809 –

-How to Make a Sofa Slipcover-

-How To Bleach Drop Cloth-

-Slip Cover Tutorial – 6 Part Video Series-

-How To Make A Chair Slipcover-

-Wing Back Slipcover-

Darcy Chair With Oyster Linen Slip

Darcy Chair With Oyster Linen Slip- Rachel Ashwell

Slipcovers For Headboards

Slipcovers For Headboards

A hand quilted headboard in a pale lavender. The headboard and pillowcase pillows are made of plaid linen fabric.  Found on

French-Style-Farm-Table-French Slipcovers On Dining Chairs- Rachel Ashwell

Linen Slipcovers From Country Living MagazineLinen Slipcovers From Country Living Magazine

Antique Daybed, – Kay O’Toole Antiques

Antique Daybed, – Kay O’Toole Antiques

Hand-painted-version-of-a-traditionally-embroidered-monogram-chair-slipcover-designed-by-Betty-Burgess-500x500Embroidered monogramed chair slipcover designed by Betty Burgess

Leopoldina Haynes's house photographed by Matt Clayton

Leopoldina Haynes’s house photographed by Matt Clayton Found on

Heirloom-Philosophy-BlogMichelle Fritz is the talented seamstress from the blog Make. Her work was featured in Country Home February 2006,- Scanned in & Photo Credit- Heirloom Philosophy Blog

Filippa Kumlin D'Orey, Swedish interior designer. Victoria magazine

Filippa Kumlin d’ Orey, Swedish Interior Designer.Victoria Magazine

Seamstress Blogger Michelle Fritz- Heirloom Philosophy BlogSeamstress Blogger Michelle Fritz- Heirloom Philosophy Blog

French Chair SlipcoversFrench Chairs From Full Bloom Cottage Blog

Full Bloom Cottage on Etsy

SlipcoversThe chair slips are actually two pieces, one piece covers the back and
one covers the seat. There is a down cushion inserted into the bottom
slip to make the chairs look and feel softer. Ties run down the back
of the slips. The skirts are double pleated for extra frill. The
checked linen is Chelsea Editions –

Joni Webb’s Library French Chair With Slipcover

Jonis-French-Slipcovers-Joni Webb’s French Chair Slipcovers-


French Chairs From Full Bloom Cottage Blog


French Chairs From Full Bloom Cottage Blog

French Chair Stripe

French Chairs From Full Bloom Cottage Blog

Slipcovers made from French Linen by Anita -Cedar Hill Ranch Blog

Slipcovers made from French Linen by Anita –Cedar Hill Ranch Blog

Lavender & white slipcovered chair- freckledlaundry

Lavender & white slipcovered chair-

Slipcovers made from French Linen by Anita -Cedar Hill Ranch Blog

Slipcovers made from French Linen by Anita –Cedar Hill Ranch Blog

Better Homes and Gardens

Ten Things to Hang Above the Bed | BHG

French chaise with a custom slipcover and white piping- megbraff

French chaise with a custom slipcover and white piping-


French Dining Room Chairs With Slipcovered Seats and Backs - lonnyFrench Dining Room Chairs With Slipcovered Seats and Backs –

Swedish Inspired Home With Slipcovers Seen at Photos From PhOTO KLAS SJÖBERG Seen at Lantliv

Swedish Inspired Home With Slipcovers

Photos From PhOTO KLAS SJÖBERG Seen at Lantliv

Elle Decor Apartment of Inès de la Fressange—fashion designer, model

 Apartment of Inès de la Fressange—fashion designer, model ELLE DECOR

Oz Architects

Oz Architects