- Fig 1: Ottoman before
- Fig 2: Pinning the fabric for the seams.
- Fig 3: Ready to trim the excess fabric.
- Fig 4: Stapling the fur to the bottom
- Fig 5: Chair before
- Fig 6: Back seams
- Fig 7: Pinning the chair fabric
- Fig 8: Slipcover finished inside out
- Fig 9: Stapled bottom of chair
- Fig 10: Cushion positioned on fabric
- Fig 11: Cushion finished inside out
I wanted my daughter’s new room to have a chair and ottoman for an adult-sized person to use but with kid-friendly fun. I had inherited a chair and ottoman from my grandmother and I love the shape and size of it. However, I did not love the dated fabric on it. I was ready to toss it in the back of my station wagon and head to the nearest upholsterer when Chica stopped me in my tracks. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “we can slipcover that chair, let’s take it inside and get out the needle and thread.” Oh my! Jo and another sewing project…I hope this doesn’t all end in tears.
I was extremely skeptical of my skills to help Chica do this project in any way but I decided to do the best that I could and follow her instructions to the letter. First, I picked out the fabric I wanted to use. It may sound crazy, but I wanted to make the chair really fun and cover it in faux fur! The color scheme for my daughter’s room is bright orange, pink, blue and green, so I ordered some fur fabric to match everything else that was going in the room and waited anxiously for it to arrive at my door.
Once it arrived, Chica decided to start me out easy with just doing the ottoman (Fig. 1). I decided upon the lime green fabric for this piece. We laid the fabric face down over top of the ottoman. Then, we pinched the fabric together along the four corners, making it pretty tight, and pinned it (Fig. 2). These pins would mark our four rows of stitches (Fig. 3). Then, we cut off the excess fabric (I asked Chica to do this part; I was terrified of ruining my nice fabric by cutting it wrong somehow). After seeing her do it on one side though, I was brave enough to do the other side on my own. Once the excess fabric was trimmed, it was easy to see where we needed to sew. After sewing up all four corners, we removed the cover and flipped it inside out. The fur was amazing! Because it was so fuzzy, it hid all the seams well, and you could not tell where we had made our stitches. Chica says that all slipcovering projects should have to be done in faux fur!
Next, we put the cover back on the ottoman right side out and flipped it over. We pulled the fabric taught along the middle of each side and stapled it much like you see them do on HGTV all of the time. We continued pulling the fabric taut and stapling until we had gone all the way around. We trimmed off any excess fabric we could and then we were finished! In the words of another HGTV show, it was “sew simple!”
The chair was the exact same process just a little more difficult because of the irregular shape (Fig. 5). Again, the fur fabric made this a very forgiving project, hiding a multitude of stitching sins.
The chair itself was a little difficult to pin but only because there were so many different places where we would end up needing a seam. We draped the fabric so that the bottom edge on the back fell about an inch below the bottom of the seat (Fig. 6). This would allow us enough fabric to wrap under and staple when we were finished. We didn’t want a seam down the middle of the front of the chair so we wrapped the material around and did the seams on either side of the front and up the sides of the arm. We didn’t have to worry about covering the seat area because of the cushion placement and knew that the edges below the cushion area wouldn’t be seen either (Fig. 7). This helped us pinch and pin the fabric around the chair, hiding the seams as best as we could. We had to cut the fabric as we pinned because there was so much of it extra it made it difficult to see what we were doing. After we did all of the sewing by hand, using any stitch we could to make the fabric stay together, we made sure to trim every seam close and to check for any holes while it was still inside out (Fig. 8).
After we turned the slipcover right side out, we laid the chair on its side and stapled the excess fabric to the bottom just like we did to the ottoman (Fig. 9).
We did the pink seat cushion by pinning, cutting and sewing just like the ottoman. We placed the cushion shoved up into the fold of the inside out fabric to start pinning it (Fig. 10). The tricky part was getting the fabric tight around the cushion while also allowing a little give to remove the cushion insert so that we could invert the fabric (Fig. 11). With both of us squeezing and holding it, we managed to shove the cushion back into the cover. We stitched the remaining side closed along the back side where it wouldn’t easily be seen.
That was it! Everyone who sees this chair loves it and wants to take it home. I have to admit, it is my favorite chair in the house now and by far the most comfortable.