Saturday, August 28, 2010

How I Got Started

Our wedding

When I got married 13 years ago I inherited an ugly couch, and as a new wife I was determined to make my little dated apartment "cute". I went out and bought fabric and a pattern for a slipcover. To my dissapointment the fit was horrible and the tuck-in and ties were awful, so I bought more fabric and made the cushions as separate pieces that sat on top of the main body slipcover. I still hated it.

Our house being built

A year later we built our first house, so I headed to the local thrift store and picked up a chair, that I was determined to make a better slipcover for. I had looked at a few pamphlets and books at the fabric store, and thought I had figured out how to make a "custom slipcover".

The ugly chair that I picked up at the local thrift store. Soon I learned this chair didn't have good lines. I now would never choose the fluffy back thing.

My first custom slipcover that I made. My recommendation..don't choose a stripe or plaid for your first slipcover.

My friends and family loved it and started asking me to slipcover their furniture. In the mean time we got pregnant with our first child, and I told my husband when we had babies I would stay home and make slipcovers...he laughed. I had my first "real" client when my baby was 3 months old. I think he forgot how determined and focused I can be when I want something. He has become wiser over the past 13 years.

I still ended up having to go back to work part time as an assistant manager at Bath and Body Works when my baby was 7 weeks old to pay the bills. I did about one to two slipcovers a month during this period for clients. By the time my baby turned a year old, my business had grown enough for me to stay home and sew. So I took a leap of faith and quit my job.

I had a display chair in a few shops (Joanns and Addie Landons) and cards up at the fabric store, and the rest of my business came from word of mouth. All my clients are now from word of mouth, I haven't had a chair in a store for about 6 years.

My family picture from Christmas last sister is a photographer. You can check out her blog at

I now have two ladies that help me sew to keep up with my growing business. I try to keep my work schedule to 2-3 days a week, because I now have 3 children. So I have my "mom" days and my "work" days. My husband is a fireman and has 4 days off in a row, so he watches the kids on my "work" days.

I have lots of designer clients, and regular repeat clients. With having the extra income I was determined to put it to good use and get out of debt. So slowly over the past 10 years I've paid off the basement, the cars, and the house...yep the house!!! Now I am working on paying off the cabin we just bought. Remember how focused I said I was? My friends think I am crazy. I might be a little bit, but I like to call it "determined" not crazy.

So if you want to learn to make slipcovers to redecorate on a budget or you want to make some extra money...learning the art of slipcovering is an invaluable tool and skill. If you love fabric and decorating and have some sewing skills you will become obsessed with the possibilites of what you can do with an ugly piece of furniture. You will become a regular at the local thrift store and craigslist.

My "How to Slipcover Video" walks you through the basics of slipcovering and will give you the skills to slipcover just about anything. I teach you to make a slipcover by pinning it on inside out. I was self taught and learned through trial and error over the past 11 years... with the DVD you can learn without going through the heartache and wasted time that I went through. I am now fast at what I do, and with practice you can be too.

So if you want on the wait list for my "how to slipcover" DVD email they are $45 plus $3 shipping. I just took the DVD to get replicated and the covers made...they said 7-10 business days. I'll email you when they are ready and have you pay via paypal. thanks



April @ The Painted Cupboard said...

Shelley are selling them to us "local" people too? Also, do you have to have a serger?

Slipcovers by Shelley said...

Yes...local people too. I do have a serger, you are welcome to come use it if you need to.

Rachel said...

What a great story!! My Aunt Sue owned Addie Landon's there in American Fork! I love her shop!!
She's the one that got me started doing flowers.
Well I don't do much flowers today with my 5 kids but it's fun every once in a while to do a Wedding. :)

I would love to learn out to make custom slip covers and will have to buy your Step By Step when I have a little extra cash sadly it's all being used for back to school stuff....

:)Rachel (Merrill) Berry

B. Anna said...

I've been perusing your blog and think you have phenomal work and an inspirational back story! I have taught myself how to sew slipcovers last week and have made two so far that turned out great using drop cloth as practice. Still, I am glad I found your blog today because I want to make sure I'm headed toward the right direction in learning to do this slipcover thing. I am looking forward to adding your DVD to my shelf. Thanks for the inspiration!