Recently JoAnn fabrics sent me two yards of of this beautiful green and white bold print cotton by Waverly. It’s from their Modern Essentials Line and it’s called Fun Flore. Having a mom who was a drapery designer for 25 years, I am well aware of Waverly Fabrics and I like how they stay on top of trends, yet somehow also remain classic.
This poor little brown vinyl chair was a thrift shop find. I bought it over two years ago thinking I would make a slipcover for it but never got around to it. I would look at this sad little worn out chair sitting in my den and feel guilty because it was such an eyesore. I had been ignoring the poor little thing for too long. I actually tried to get rid of it once. But my 3 year old daughter found it in my “giveaway ” shed and made me bring it back. I’m glad she did, because her little chair was perfect to makeover with the Waverly fabric. Sometimes I can be a little relentless with getting rid of things. Especially after watching Hoarders!
So now I am going to attempt to walk you through the steps I take when I make a slipcover. I’m not really the exact measuring type. I’m sort of an ADD Scattered type, and precise measurements aren’t really my thing. But I can do it if I have to. For instance, I have been sizing some patterns and you need to be very precise there. I like slipcovers because I get to drape and draping is my preferred design method, NOT flat pattern making. That’s probably why I have three dress forms. I equate draping with sculpture and art and flat pattern making with…well, math.
So here goes….
I draped a large piece of fabric to the back of my child’s chair. This chair used up two yards of fabric.
The first piece to drape was this backrest above. I made sure my fabric was ON GRAIN and that I liked the pattern placement before I started pinning. I pinned from the top first, then started tucking in the bottom and corners.
I had some extra fabric bunching up in the top corners so I draped in a dart. I pinned the dart closed. Once the dart was pinned closed I marked it by tracing it with my pencil. So then when I later took off the slipcover piece, I could see where I would need to sew the dart along the dart fold lines.
Then I traced around all of the edges of my back piece with a pencil. This is how I made all of the pieces for my armchair slipcover. Draping, pinning, and tracing. Except for the square shaped part you sit on. Because that was a square and easy to measure.
I removed my fabric, unpinned my dart and traced the sewing lines on it with my ruler to straighten out my dart sewing lines up in the top corners up there. It’s sort of hard to see my dart lines in this photo. Sorry! I then cut about 1/2 an inch all around the pencil tracing lines, adding my seam allowance.
Next, I measured the square shaped seat bottom. I cut out that pattern easy enough since it didn’t require and draping.
I sewed a piece of fuchsia piping to the seat bottom for a little pop of color. This is a kids chair and needs to be fun!
Next, it was time to drape my arm rest pieces. I started pinning from the bottom edges then wrapped the fabric up and around, making sure my fabric was still on grain.
Hmmm…can you see how my piece went off grain a little? I had to straighten that piece out.
So now I had four pieces cut out and ready to sew. First, I sewed the bottom back rest edge to the top of my square shaped seat bottom piece. Then I sewed those two bottom curvy corners of the the back rest to the the bottom curvy corners of the arm rest pieces. They were about an inch off, those two pieces, because I had draped them, so I just pinned the ease out.
If you need this project to be totally perfect you could always lay your draped fabric pieces down on paper, trace them to make pattern, and adjust all the seam lines so they match perfectly. If I was making more than one of these chairs or selling it, I would.
The next step is to drape those little pieces above. I’m not sure what these pieces are called so I’ll call them arm rest inserts.
And sewed them to the chair. My bottom piece in the center was a little long so I had to trim it.
The next step was to draft the back piece and sew it to the chair cover. I made the center a little wider as you can see so it would fit over the bulging armrests. I could have also sewn in a zipper along one edge to make it easy to put the slipcover on but it fit over the chair as is easy enough.