China may have melamine in their milk and lead in their toys, but they have one thing they have made exactly right: the loose fitting slipcover. This is genius, I tell ya. I was a bit skeptical myself when I first went to the upholsterers shop in Hong Kong. I told them I wanted to reupholster my couch, and they suggested the loose fitting cover. It sounded like something straight out of that slipcover magazine that looks ill fitting and requires constant tucking in, but then they showed me the loose cover. I was sold. It's basically a cover that looks exactly like the upholstery, but it velcros under the couch so you can take it on and off and wash it. Genius! I don't really get how they do it, but they do. And all you upholsterers and sewers out there should do it too. Here's a little show of how easy and genius it is.
Step 4: Put it back on the couch.
Step 5: Enjoy your brand new looking upholstery sans stains (that is until the little buggers and dog mess it up again in the following 5 minutes!).Now, if you are one of those families getting ready to go to China for your baby, or if someone in your family is going to China for business, it's time to reupholster your furniture! Have a tailor or upholsterer make a mock up of half the couch with some cheap muslin or cotton fabric. Take that with you to China, and then find a tailor to make you a loose fitting cover by copying the mock up. I have two covers for my couch. The fabric and labor only set me back about $80. Jon's going to China in January and you better believe I've already got my list ready for the tailor. They can also copy any clothing or picture that you take them. I had all my curtains made based on pictures from catalogs and magazines. You can buy the fabric here or there, but you will save bundles by buying it there. (Expect to pay about $3/yard max in China). The tailor can tell you where to get the fabric, and they usually have a bunch themselves. And of course, let me know how it goes and what you get!