How to make a fabric chair cover
You will need:
- Fabric – approx 1.3m but add extra for a large pattern repeat – plus a remnant of fabric to make the pattern template
- Matching thread
- Piping cord
- Sewing machine (plus a zipper foot for the piping)
Give a basic chair some cheat-chic style with our easy transformation.
Time to complete the job: 3 hours
Approximate budget: £10 - £20 depending on the cost of the fabric
Step 1: Cut out the fabric
Measure the height and width of the chair back and use these measurements as a guide to make a pattern with your fabric remnant by cutting two rectangles slightly larger than the measurements and pinning each piece in place around the back of the chair.
Measure and cut another pattern piece for the chair seat using the same method, then pin the pieces together neatly, as shown, along the intended seam lines. Trim the pattern leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance, then carefully remove the pattern pieces, replacing the rows of pins to mark the stitching lines (or remove the pins and mark the stitching lines with tailor’s chalk instead).
Cut out your main fabric pieces using the pattern as a guide.
Step 2: Make the piping
To make the covered piping, measure around three sides of the chair seat for one length of piping and then around the chair back for the other piece of piping. Cut enough cord for each of these measurements.
Next, take a piece of fabric and fold it along the bias (at right angles with the grain of the fabric so the selvedge meets the other raw edge). Press flat along the fold and cut strips to the diameter of the piping, with a 3cm seam allowance.
Place two strips right sides together, crossing the short ends as shown, and stitch, leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance. When several strips have been stitched together to make one long strip, enclose the piping and, using a zipper foot, machine around the piping.
Step 3: Attach the seat cover
Right sides together, carefully pin and stitch your seat piece to the front back piece leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance. Press the seam and turn the fabric to the right side.
Next place the cover on the chair and pleat the top corners to fit snugly. Pin the seat cover neatly in place.
Step 4: Add piping to the seat
Pin piping around the seat, extending onto the edge of the back pieces with the raw edges matching and right sides together. Trim 2cm off the ends of the cord at the seams, leaving the piping strip intact. Snip seams from raw edge to piping at corners so it will bend sharply.
Step 5: Attach the back panel
Pipe around the other back panel, then pin the two back pieces together. Place this onto the chair to check the fit, then stitch.
Step 6: Sew the skirt
Cut the skirt to your desired length, one front piece, one back piece and two side pieces with a 1.5cm seam allowance, to sit flush down the legs. Join ends to make a complete skirt.
Step 7: Attach the skirt
Attach the skirt to the bottom of the main seat cover, right sides together. Turn up the lower edge of the skirt with a neat double hem and stitch in place.