I recently recovered some chairs we acquired at a furniture tent sale.
So, I gave slip cover making a go.
First, with the arm chairs apart of this couch set…
It was a super frustrating endeavor for me. I eventually mustered up one cover for the chair in Natalie’s room.
Then we wised up and found some couch covers and some scotch guard for the downstairs set. :)
We also had two of these white armless chairs to recover. I had much better success with those.
I instagrammed about my chair covering woes and successes (you can find me @deliacreates) and got a request for a tutorial. Not all chairs are the same size of course, so I thought I would share just some tips I learned about recovering furniture, in case you’re looking to do the same.
1. Measure, measure, measure.
Measure into the folds and cracks. You want your cover to be big enough to tuck into those cracks but not so big that it bunches.
Measure each section exactly and then add a standard seam allowance. I would choose nothing smaller than 1/2 and inch. Keeping the seam allowance the same for all of your measurements will bring you much more success.
2. Fabric matters…A LOT.
I think part of the reason why making a slip cover for the armed chairs and couches was so frustrating was that I was using drop cloth.
Drop cloth comes in large pieces and is relatively inexpensive, but it is stiff and unyielding which is so difficult to use for slip covers. You want something with at least a little bit of stretch.
For the armless chairs, I used two lovely cotton fabrics from Lilly Bella Fabrics. See here and here. The process was SO much more enjoyable. Really. That tiny bit of stretch that the softer cotton fabrics gave made everything so much more workable.
The only draw back to this kind of fabric is the durability. It is not as durable as say upholstery fabric. If you’re like me though, when the fabric starts to wear out in five years you’ll be ready to make a new cover anyway.
*Also be mindful of the pattern. If you get a geometric pattern, any misalignment at any point in the cover making process can be much more noticeable. I worked hard to make the sunflower chair perfectly even, until… I pulled some sections too tight when I stapled it to the chair. This threw the lines off and I can’t help but see the flaws every time I look at it. The random floral pattern was much more forgiving that way.
3. Treat your furniture like a mannequin. Try your cover on your furniture inside out then pin.
This is most helpful with the curvy parts of your furniture. I sewed everything with a long stitch/basting stitch, tried it on backwards and made adjustments and tweaks before serging off all the raw edges.
Here is a quick visual as to how I recovered the armless chairs:
I simply measured, sewed and tried everything on as I went. Keep your seam ripper handy and just go for it. Really that’s my best advice: just go for it! :)
It felt a lot like sewing bags for furniture and then sewing those bags together.
When I got to this point, I removed the legs, and added a few staples to the bottom to keep the cover from shifting. I tried not to put in too many staples so that it could easily be pried off in case it needed to be washed.
We put the legs back on and ta da!
You could just drape fabric over your furniture and staple it, but I think sewing it as a fitted cover first really gives it a sleeker look.
This fold here (below) was tricky.
I didn’t get it quite right the first go around, but the second chair turned out much better.
You know what they say about practice…
Don’t you just love these fabrics?
The geometric yellow print is Sunflower in Sunglow by Joel Dewberry.
The floral print in gray and coral is Party Dress in Thyme by Sandi Henderson.
Both are from Lilly Bella Fabrics who is one of my lovely sponsors. They have some really great stuff. I really like how their site is organized too. You can shop by color, which helped me A LOT.
So….I’ve got lots more in the blogging queue, (I know I keep saying that but you should see my memory card. Ridiculous) but my kids and Project Run & Play are my priority at the moment. After a guest post coming up really soon, I’ll be mostly checking in just for PR&P. Or…I could get kicked off really quick and you’ll see me around a lot more. :)
I wish you a great week! I’ll see you on the runway this Friday! (I honestly feel a bit queasy about it!)