This summer has been a busy one! I have had so many repurposing/refinishing projects, many of them firsts for me. So much sanding, painting, sewing, building has been happening in this house. I have many of them finished but not ready for pictures, but I did get one photo ready last night! I finished my first slip cover for some wingback chairs we have had for years that were in desperate need of a facelift as you can see. The chairs were roughed up, gold upholstery, and the legs were scuffed pretty bad from years of use, a spring underneath was broken, the arm end caps are missing, in short these chairs were in bad need of some TLC!
Thanks to one of my new favorite sites, Pinterest!!, I saw an article about making a slip cover out of a bed sheet. Sounded easy enough, I was ready to try it! Found a great deal on queen microfiber sheets at Big Lots so I purchased 2 sets since I have 2 chairs to redo. Better to have too much than not enough, right? And who knew if I would be able to find the same thing twice. My first step in the makeover was fixing the broken spring. I don’t have photos of that part but it was a PAIN! I finally got the spring stretched far enough to nail it back down to the base of the chair. Whew! And that was enough for one day! 🙂
When I decided to begin the actual slip cover the articles I had found didn’t offer me really enough of an idea to help figure out what I was doing, so I decided to jump right in and by trial and error make it work. On a very important special note: the methods I used were probably far from the best to use. I went with what made sense to me at the time. Someone who knows what they are doing and is a better seamstress than me will probably laugh at my steps and say, “NOOOO, you shouldn’t have done that,” You need the seams somewhere else,” or “That step was totally not necessary, or could be done so different.” But please bear with me!
My first step was to just get the sheet over the chair and see how it seemed to work best. I then began by pinning up the back of the chair, both sides, from leg to top. Straight lines, seemed like the best place to begin. I took the sheet off and stitched up one side and place it back. Now I began to panic!!! I couldn’t do that each time. My pins might fall out, I might mess it up or get confused when it is not on my 3D model.
I decided to just pin it all together and then worry about it, so off I went. My second moment of panic came when I had to make my first cut! I was so afraid of cutting in the wrong place, knowing that once cut it can’t be uncut! But I worked slowly and carefully. piecing each section together as best I could. I worked around one side, cutting the piece for the side and over the arm as one peice. I didn’t actually measure anything (yikes) but put it there and cut it to fit leaving an extra inch (or more in places) to make sure I had seamroom. Then I worked to the other side. Then I worked to the other side.
You can see the sheet balled up on top where I was waiting to work with the middle/seat section. It wasn’t cut, just draped over still so there was one continuous line from bottom in the back, over the top, and down the seat to the bottom of the front of the chair. You can see my arms wrapped around and the pieces cut and pinned on the front of the arms. The next part was really tricky for me.
Covering the inner part of the chair was hard. I wanted to give myself room to tuck the fabric in, while being sure to have the fabric cover the inside edges of the “wings”. It wasn’t done very pretty thats for sure. But I think I made it work. I stood back and looked at it and then paniced again! (Are you noticing a theme here!!) How was I going to make sense of all these pins and curves when I took this off to get it to the sewing machine?
So I added a step that most of you probably won’t have to do, but it sure saved me a lot of stress. I quick “tacked” the seams by hand and removed all the pins. Now, only did I have “guidelines” to follow when sewing, I didn’t have to worry about it all falling apart or me sticking myself with the pins! Seemed like a win win to me!
Once it was tacked, I flipped it rightside out and placed it back on the chair to see how it was fitting. I noticed several places seemed a little too snug. So when I got to the sewing machine I stitched to the outside of my quide stitch to give myself a little more room. That whole process didn’t take very long to stitch up and remove the other threads, especially since there were only loosly in there anyway.
Finally (and I forgot a picture of this part) I made a seperate cover for the seat cushion. I laid a “scrap” of my sheet over the top, pinned it down and cut it all around the shape of the cushion leaving an inch or so overhang. Then I cut a 4-5 inch wide strip of the sheet and started pinning it all around the sides. Took this off and stitched the seams so I had about half of a cushion cover. I flipped it inside out, placed it back on the cushion and repeated the top again. I only stitched it 3/4 of the way around and left the back flap open (but stitched the hems of both top and bottom to prevent fraying) so I could place it on the cushion like you would a pillow case. When it was finished I used safety pins to secure it.
I also spraypainted the chair legs so they would look a little better from underneath. It has some spots that I wasn’t as happy with how the fabric pulls or bunched after all was said and done but for my first one I was pretty excited about the finished product overall. Eventually I hope to try my hand at actually reupholstering these chairs, but until then I think this will be a good compromise! Hope you enjoyed, I can’t wait to get started on the second one and hope it goes a little smoother (with a little less panic involved.) I think when we are done both chairs will look good setting in our little reading area and will definately share pics of that when it is all done!
Thanks for reading,