Well, friends, today’s post represents what I consider to be a real accomplishment. I am so pleased that I was able to create these DIY custom slipcovers for my chairs, and I can honestly say that it was very doable and not terribly difficult! I won’t say it was easy, but making your own DIY custom slipcovers is definitely something that you can do if you put your mind to it! Follow along with me below, I’ll show you what I did.
This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure statement here.
The starting point
These are my very favorite chairs of all time. I bought them at Ethan Allen in 2000 when we lived in our very first house. These, along with a sofa, were my first major furniture purchase. I picked out the fabric and they were custom made to order. Oh.My.Gosh. they are so comfortable, especially the club chair on the right. And they are SO well made! They’re 16 years old and still going strong, as far as the construction and cushions are concerned! The problem is that the fabric no longer fits with what we have going on, decorating-wise. So slipcovers are my obvious answer.
This floral chair has a swivel base, and is a nice size for a short person like me, because it’s not too deep and not too tall.
This plaid chair is my all-time favorite, and if my dog hadn’t torn the cushion in a fit of puppy anxiety last year, it would still be in tip-top condition. I’ve since had it covered by a cheap stretchy slipcover, so the back cushion has been pulled down and is now a big saggy.
Preparing to make the slipcovers
I have to admit that I’m no sewing pro. I don’t sew clothes, and I don’t sew much of anything else, really, either. And I can do straight-ish seams, but even that’s not a guarantee. My sewing machine is a simple, basic Brother machine with no electronic doodads or fancy capabilities. So you’ll see no perfection here.
Also, I’m not really going to give a full step-by-step tutorial here, because I didn’t take the right kinds of photos for that. I have to give credit to some other bloggers who wrote some excellent tutorials. I read these three blog tutorials and then took things REALLY slowly, and was able to compete my project without any big mistakes. Here are the best tutorials I’ve found:
The series at Miss Mustard Seed was the most in-depth and helpful.
I got the idea for using a bedspread from this photo that I pinned.
To make the slipcovers, you need fabric of some kind, thread, and Velcro sew-on tape. And of course you need a sewing machine, scissors and pins. For my fabric, I ordered three of these king-sized matelasse bedspreads from JCPenney. This was enough to make these two slipcovers. Purchasing all my supplies with coupons and sales, the cost of these two slipcovers came to just under $200 total.
Making the slipcovers
I started by selecting the edge of the bedspread with a ruffle to serve as the bottom hem of the sides and back of the swivel chair. To me, this gives a really nice finished edge that looks better than a regular hem. I made sure that the pattern of the fabric was oriented vertically when I selected the ruffled edge (there were four to choose from on the bedspread). Then I pinned the fabric onto the chair (inside-out!) and trimmed the excess, leaving plenty for a seam allowance.
I did the same thing for the front of the chair. I cut the piece that goes under the cushion from the same fabric, though if you’re short on fabric you could use plain white fabric.
For the back of the seat, I cut pieces of fabric to follow the seams in the original upholstery. That made it a nice and easy process. Pin fabric to the chair, trim, sew, repeat! I even took the tim to make sure that the same floral medallion showed up in the center of each of the seven panels in the back of the seat. Bonus!
Next, I pinned and sewed the back of the seat to the outside of the chair, making pleats on the corners as needed.
It’s important to remember that the entire piece is constructed on the chair inside out. That makes the seams easy to pin together. Once completely sewn, you turn the slipcover right side out, and it’s a perfect fit! (If your chair is not symmetric, you have more of a challenge!)
Covering the seat cushion
The last thing to take care of was the seat cushion itself. I followed essentially the same process – pin, trim, sew. But for the back side of the cushion, instead of using regular fabric, I created an opening using this Sew-On Velcro Tape. First, I sewed Velcro tape onto the hemmed edges of two pieces of fabric. Then I attached the two pieces of fabric together with the Velcro to make what is essentially one piece of fabric. Then I used that to make the back edge of the cushion. When sewn together, the Velcro-connected fabric becomes an opening to take the slipcover on and off.
The finished slipcover
The slipcover turned out better than I could have imagined, given my limited sewing experience. It was sometimes tedious to keep pinning the fabric pieces onto the chair, and off again, but I didn’t want to make any major mistakes so I was super careful and refused to rush myself. The project took the better part of a full day, probably about 7 hours total, for just the chair part. The seat cushion took another 2 hours or so.
Now the slipcover can be removed for washing, which is absolutely necessary with white fabric and dirty dogs running around the house.
Oh, I should mention that I sewed a zig-zag stitch in each seam allowance and closely trimmed the excess fabric, to try to limit fraying when I wash the pieces.
Making a second slipcover
I followed a very similar process to cover the plaid chair. But there were some differences based on the shape of the chair and the positioning of the seat back cushion. But once again, I took my time and didn’t rush. And I think it turned out pretty good!
The completed project
I’m really pleased with the finished look of the chairs now. They fit in our living room nicely, but they also could be moved into a bedroom, or the sunroom, or really, anywhere in the house.
I’m so happy to keep these really high quality, comfortable chairs in the family.
Of course, the chairs got displaced for Christmas because this is the spot where our Christmas tree lives. You may have seen in our Woodland Winter Sunroom post that the swivel chair is spending some quality time in the sunroom.
And the club chair spent Christmas sitting by the warm fireplace.
Have you ever made a DIY custom slipcover? Do you have any tips or suggestions for us? Or maybe you have questions about what you see here? I’d love it if you drop a note in the comment section to say hello!
Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you’ll be back again soon!
Wow Us Wednesday – Savvy Southern Style
To Grandma’s House We Go – Grandma’s House DIY
Home and Garden Thursday – A Delightsome Life
Metamorphosis Monday – Between Naps on the Porch
The Scoop – StoneGable
Happiness is Homemade – Ducks ‘n a Row
Get Your DIY On – Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer
Show and Tell Link Party – Sugarbee Crafts