Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Renew Chairs with Slipcovers

Slipcovers are a great way to update and renew a chair, without tearing off old fabric or adding staples and tacks, which can be time consuming and messy.  If you are not planning to reupholster your chairs, think about making a slipcover instead.

Simple slipcovers are practical for homes with pets and children because they can be removed and washed.  If you plan to make slipcovers, pre-wash the fabrics before sewing, and serge all the seams so that they will be more washer-friendly.

Museums use slipcovers to protect original textiles and padding while still allowing the furniture to be on display. 
One of the current trends in dining room décor is a skirted chair.  You will see this in decorating magazines and websites with gathered, or tailored pleats along the bottom of the chair seats. A skirted slipcover is also perfect for side chairs at a desk or vanity.

Here is a look at a slipcover being sewn from start to finish.  This slipcover has a ruffled skirt to compliment the ribbon print fabric.
Begin by making a pattern of the chair seat using paper or a remnant of fabric.

Use the pattern to cut the fabric, centering the motif and adding seam allowances.  Cut another piece for the back (which can be a plain fabric).  Cut the boxing strips, which are the pieces that will connect the chair seat to the skirt.  For this chair the boxing strips are cut 3 ½ inches, for a finished boxing of 2 ½ inches using ½ inch seam allowances.  Two pieces are cut – one for the front and one to line the inside.

Tip: To match the boxing strip to the top seat section, use an iron-on tape to secure the fabric at the center-front before sewing.   The boxing strip will not match around the sides.

Cut the ruffle pieces.  Measure on your chair to determine how long you would like the ruffle to be.  Allow two times fullness for gathering.  For this chair, two pieces were cut at 11 inches.  Sew the pieces together, fold in half and iron.  Gather the top edge to fit around the chair seat.  Assemble the parts by sewing the boxing strip to the top piece, and the ruffle to the bottom of the boxing piece. 
Cut four pieces 4 inches x 19 inches for the ties.  Fold in half lengthwise, right sides together and sew down the side and across the bottom and turn right sides out.  Iron the ties and pin in place.  Fold skirt and ties to the front and pin the back piece around the edges.  Sew together, making sure the skirt and ties do not get caught in the seam.

Turn right sides out.  If needed, add batting or foam to create a softer seat and then hand stitch the opening closed.

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