By "I" I mean myself and a super sweet and amazing friend, Melissa, that shares my love for jumping in, winging it and correcting along the way. I tell you that because before you say you can't do this project, I say, try it. Really, we were pleasantly surprised by how simple it was to make and we think it's worth a shot.
We recovered this wing back chair that my family affectionately refers to as 'Papa's Chair'. It was my great grandfathers, then my parents and my mom passed it down to us. At least as far back as I can remember I've seen it with a pink plaid upholstery job, a burgundy slip cover and then about 7 years ago, I worked with a friend's sweet grandmother to upholster it in this brown scroll fabric.
Upholstery is hard. I have so much respect for people who do it well and totally understand why the pricing is what it is. It's hard work. It was done well thanks to my friend but I was so relieved to try a slipcover this time.
The fabric I picked for my slipcover is Premier Prints Zoey Cove. Cove is the color name and it's a taupey grey. There is also 'clay' which looks to be more grey. Cove is warmer.
I looked at fabric.com's yardage chart estimator and checked a few others and ended up ordering 9 yards.
Note: I didn't use all 9 but I got nervous and rounded up!
- ~9 Yards of home decor fabric
- Sewing machine
- Seam ripper
First I washed and dried the fabric. I'm so bad about skipping this step when I'm doing small projects. It was especially important this time because all this work would go to waste if it shrunk up the first time I washed it...
We draped the fabric (right side down) over the chair making sure it almost touched the floor in the back, touched the seat of the chair and went almost to the floor in the front too. I trimmed the width I needed and then trimmed the length.
Next we took a scrap of what I cut off from the width and draped it from the seat of the chair over the wing and down to the floor. The angles get confusing on the wing but you just want to make sure the fabric's print is sitting straight, not on a diagonal.
When we had the fabric where we wanted them on the wings, I pinned the fabric closed around it and trimmed off the extra material.
Next to that, I pinned where the wing fabric met the section in the inside corner of the chair.
Let me stop right here and tell you. pins, pins, pins. They're your best friend for this. Make sure you have a bunch on hand.
Then we draped fabric over the arms in the same way. From the floor, over the arm, down to the seat.
We chose to cut separate pieces for the front of the chair arms.
I began with a rectangular scrap. I used pins and joined it with the arm piece starting from the bottom of the chair up and around the curve of the arm, and back to the bottom.
From here, each section was complete.
Completely pinned. We carefully pulled it off of the chair and I began to sew the lines that I was positive about. Its a huge slip cover full of weird angles so as soon as it came off of its form, it was hard to recognize what went where.
When I got to an angle that seemed tricky or didn't make sense, I just stopped sewing and went to another section. I realize this proves that I had no idea what I was doing. A pro would probably never do this. But it also proves that you can do it. Just with lots of guess and check.
After the first round of sewing, we put the cover back on, re-pinned some spots that I needed clarification a little more help with.
For the inside corners, where we couldn't fit any pins, we used a colored pencil to mark a line to make it easier to sew.
Then more sewing. At this point, I had gotten most of the pieces sewn in the right spot and we were able to flip it right side out and see a preview of our handiwork.
Cue high fives and pats on the back! Clearly we weren't lacking self esteem that day.
We did have to make a few more adjustments but really the hardest part about all of that is pulling the slipcover on and off.
Cushion time. Melissa cut out two squares about 2" wider than the dimensions of the cushion.
Then cut a long and skinny piece that was the height of the cushion (+ 2" for seam allowance) and the length of the perimeter of the cushion with an extra 6 inches to create an envelope enclosure.
We matched a cushion corner with the trim corner, pinned and sewed almost all the way around. Lined up the bottom cushion piece and did the same thing.
We decided to make it an envelope enclosure because zippers are scary. ; ) We hemmed the top and bottom ends, folded them in, one on top of the other, and sewed them to the side edge.
LAST THING! I promise. For the super unfancy skirt, I cut rectangles 7" tall and then 2 at the width of the chair and 2 at the depth of the chair.
I hemmed the sides and bottom of each peice.
Then pinned them to the bottom of the slip cover (right sides together) making sure the skirt grazed the ground evenly on all sides.
I pulled the cover off, sewed one long line, one last time then that was it!
This project took us a little less than a school day and the addition of the skirt over the weekend. I am so happy with how it turned out!
I chose to have the dot pattern going horizontal on the back of the chair, seat of the chair, the tops of the arms and the front view of the wings. This lends to the pattern looking different on the sides. I was completely fine with this. In fact, I like that its uniform but there is a bit more interest in certain areas. It would be the easiest to sew with fabric that has no direction but I CANNOT, NOT DO PATTERN. Solid is so hard for me.
The chair is so much lighter and brighter now. I love the modern fabric and the neutral design.
I honestly can't believe we did it ourselves. Not because it's perfect because it's not. It's obviously not. But it looks great to me. It gives me the updated look I wanted and the job is DONE!
I hope this has inspired you to give a slipcover a go. You really CAN do this. Get a friend that's willing to help and make a fun day of it. It was a great day and I'm so thankful.