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DIY How to make a Slip Cover for a ChairDIY How to make a Slip Cover for a Chair
DIY How to make a Slip Cover for a Chair

Slip Covered Chair from Waverly Fabrics

Red and white toile fabric with bold solid accents are the perfect combination of crisp tailoring and undeniable comfort for a three piece slip cover. The chair back simply slips into place and features a removable pleated peplum. The seat cover has an all-in-one skirt and is held in place with fabric tabs adjusted with hook and loop tape.

Tips & Creative Alternatives:

  • To ensure perfect coordination, consider covering your own buttons using scraps of the solid color trim and a covered button kit.

  • For additional comfort, add a light weight quilt batting to the wrong side of the decorator fabric during the assembly process.

  • If your chair does not have a space between the chair back and seat, eliminate the fourth drop on the seat cover and attach the cover with long tabs from side skirt to side skirt.

  • Before you shop, measure your chair, draw the pattern pieces and determine the amount of fabric needed following Cutting Instructions: steps 1 through 5. On printed fabrics, allow enough extra fabric to position a dominant motif in the center of the chair seat and back.

Materials Needed:

  • 54” wide print decorator fabric

  • 54” wide decorator drapery lining

  • 54” wide solid decorator fabric, 1/2 yard

  • 10 buttons, 1 1/4” diameter

  • hook & loop fastener tape, 1 yard

  • matching all purpose thread


  • sewing machine & thread

  • iron and ironing board

  • straight pins & scissors

  • yardstick & tape measure

  • pencil & tracing paper

How to make a Slip Covered Chair

Cutting Instructions

1. Measure Chair

Chair Seat: Using a tape measure, measure the width and depth of the seat. If the seat edges are shaped rather than straight, trace the curves by placing tracing paper on the seat. Mark with four dots, the location of the front and back legs - this is the outside corner of the front legs and the inside corner of the back legs. Note: The four corners of the traced seat and the four corners (dots) of the legs may not be in the same location as seen in our pattern. Also determine how long you would like the skirt to drop down the sides of the chair - ours measures approximately 5”.


Chair Back: Measure the width of the chair back. To accommodate for the thickness of the wood, wrap the tape measure around the side edges of the wood on each side to about half the wood thickness. If the chair back measures wider at some locations than others, use the widest measurement. Measure the height of the chair back from the seat to the top edge. To accommodate for the thickness of the wood, wrap the tape measure around the top edge of the wood at it’s highest point to about half the wood thickness.

2. Draw Chair Seat Pattern

To ensure the two halves of the seat cover will be symmetrical, fold the tracing in half lengthwise and mark one permanent line (perhaps falling between the two traced pencil lines) to indicate the edges of the seat. Unfold the tracing. With a small ruler, measuring from the permanent line, add the skirt drop measurement (approx. 5”) on all four edges between the leg markings taking care to follow the curves of the seat if necessary. Then add 1/2” seam allowance to all edges of the pattern.

3. Draw Chair Back Pattern

Using the width and height measurements of the chair back, draw a rectangular paper pattern. Add 3/4” to the top and side edges of the pattern. This includes your 1/2” seam allowance and 1/4” design ease ( making the cover easy to slip on and off the chair). Slightly round off the two top corners of the pattern. Add 1/2” to the lower edge.

4. Draw Peplum Pattern (optional)

The peplum pattern height is 11 1/2”. The pattern width should equal the chair back width measurement plus 6”. Cut a rectangular paper pattern from these measurements.
Note: These measurements will give you a finished peplum length of 8” as photographed

5. Cut Fabric from Patterns

Cut one chair seat pattern from decorator and lining fabric. Cut two chair back patterns each from decorator and lining fabric. Cut one peplum pattern from decorator fabric. Cut two attachment tabs, 3 1/2” X 6” from decorator fabric. Cut six pieces of trim from solid contrast fabric, measuring 2 1/2” wide X width of fabric.

Note: Cut all pattern pieces following outside lines. Position all length measurements parallel to lengthwise grain ( selvage edge) of fabric. If fabric is printed, position the dominant motif, stripe or plaid in center of seat and chair backs.

Assembly Instructions

Construct all seams following 1/2” seam allowance.

1. Contrast Trim

Cut a length of contrast trim to equal one long edge of one skirt flap. With right sides of fabric facing, fold trim in half lengthwise and stitch each short end. Turn trim piece to right side and press flat. With long cut edges even, center trim on edge of flap and pin to right side of fabric. Baste trim to seat cover following 1/4” from edge. Repeat with three more trims for remaining 3 flaps.

2. Seat Cover

With right sides of fabric and lining facing and trim in between, pin and stitch all edges of seat cover leaving a six inch opening along one straight edge to turn. Clip corners off seam allowances on outside corners and clip seam allowances up to stitching at inside corners. On curved sections, clip every inch up to stitching if necessary. Turn cover to right side and press edges flat. Hand stitch opening closed.


3. Attachment Tabs

With right sides facing, pin one tab in half lengthwise and stitch together long edges. Press seam open, then turn to right side and press flat. Repeat for remaining tab. Position seat cover on chair. At one back corner of the seat cover, pin each end of one tab to two adjacent flaps, positioning it underneath the chair seat and/or behind the leg. Allow about 1 1/2” of the tab to come behind the side of each flap, hidden underneath. Mark the flaps and the desired length of the tab. Cut the tab ends to the desired length and clean finish with a zig zag or overlock stitch.

Cut two lengths of hook and loop tape, each 1 1/2” long. Following all edges of the tape, stitch the tape to each end of the tab and to the underside of the flaps at markings.
Repeat with remaining tab in remaining back corner of the seat cover.

>Using a needle and thread, invisibly hand stitch the flaps together at each front corner of the skirt.

>4. Back Cover

Cut two lengths of contrast trim to equal lower edge of chair back pattern. With right sides facing, stitch together short ends of two trim pieces creating a continuous circle. With wrong sides together, fold and press the trim in half lengthwise. Set aside. With right sides of decorator fabric facing, pin and stitch together sides and top edges of chair back. Press seams open and turn assembly to right side. With cut edges even, pin trim to lower edge of chair back on right side of fabric. Baste trim to back cover following 1/4” from edge. With right sides of lining fabric facing, pin and stitch together sides and top edges of chair back. Press seams open but do not turn to right side. Slip lining assembly over decorator assembly (right sides facing) and pin together at lower edge with trim in between. Stitch together assemblies at lower edge leaving a 10” opening to turn. Turn assembly to right side. Hand stitch opening closed.


5. Peplum

With wrong sides facing, turn up and press a 2” hem along long lower edge of peplum. Open out fold and insert cut edge into the crease and press a 1” double hem. Top stitch hem in place along inside fold. Repeat for short side edges of peplum. Clean finish long upper edge of peplum with a zig zag or overlock stitch.

Measure the length of the peplum and divide by 3. Using 2 pins, mark the top edge of the peplum into thirds. To either side of each marking , fold a pleat approximately 1 1/2” wide. Try to keep the two front sections and the three back sections of the box pleat equal in size. Press pleats and stitch along top edge. Cut a piece of hook and loop tape to fit along top edge and stitch tape to peplum along all edges. Stitch the opposite half of the tape to the inside of the chair back along lower back edge.

Stitch buttons to seat cover at corners of flaps and to back of chair back.

Copyrite F. Schumacher & Co. 1994-2002. All rights reserved