We have three wooden dining chairs around our table, two that are the same and one that is an orphan. They are good, "sturdy" chairs but not quite my style. I want to tie them all together.. by covering them. In this Instructable I will attempt to show you the simplest yet attractive design that anyone with a sewing machine should be able to pull off. If you like this 'ible, "favorite" and please vote for me, as I've entered it into the Pattern Contest.
Fabric - I chose linen but any home decor fabric will work. I like linen for its durability and flexibility. You need 5 yards to do 2 chairs. You'll have about 1/2 yard left over. The fabric needs to be pre-washed/dried.
Other things you will need: Sewing machine, thread, tape measure, scissors, a 24" square piece of either muslin or kraft paper, chalk and/or disappearing marker, some pins and scotch tape and iron/ironing board. Optional: piping and wool stuffing
Step 1: Build Back Pt.1 - Measuring and Cutting
We want to produce a working square/rectangle, which we can then create a pattern from.
a. Measure back at widest and highest. Add 2" each for ease and seam allowance, and good measure. Mine is 24" W, 26"H, which includes the added 2". (first 2 pics)
b. Chalk and cut out 2 pieces with these dimensions, by folding fabric in half(most home dec cloth is at least 54" W), paying mind to keeping the edges and grain lines even. (3rd & 4th pic)
c. Lay chair down and place the 2 pieces over chair back. Chalk the seam line by feeling the center edges with your fingers. Bring piece to flat surface and cut around chalkline, adding 5/8" for seam allowance. Fold in half to check for symmetry and make any minor adjustments. (pics 5-8)
Step 2: Build Back Pt.2 - Basting and Fitting
d. Baste together, using long machine stitches. (pic 1)
e. Check fit and make any adjustments with chalklines, then cut away discard (pics 2, 3 & 4)
f. Remove basting(you should just be able to rip the two pieces apart, then pull away the loose threads). Cut out as many pairs for chairs in your project.(one pair per chair) (pic 5)
Step 3: Build Back Pt.3 - Sewing the Finished Piece
g. Sew the 2 pieces to each other, right sides of fabric together. Sew plain or with piping inserted. You can use a piping or zipper foot for that. I show both methods. You enclose the piping within, creasing with fingernail or chopstick, sewing all three layers at once. An advanced sewing tip would be to slightly pull the bottom layer, as the sewing foot will stretch the top fabric slightly, over distance. Check the right side of your work, and sew a second line of stitching even closer to the piping rope if it needs it.
Step 4: Build Back Pt.4 - Iron and Finish Edges
h. Iron thoroughly. (pic 1)
i. Turn right-side out and iron again (pics 2,3)
j. Test for fit, then remove bulk of seam allowance by pinking or serging edges.( pics 4, 5 & 6)
Step 5: Seat - Make Template/pattern
a. Use muslin(cheap fabric) or Kraft paper to create template. Outline edges with a light marker. (pics 1,2)
b. Add seam allowance of 5/8" outside of marked line. Cut seat piece. Fold over to check symmetry. (pic 3)
c. Test fit on seat, then cut out on fabric, one per chair. (pic 5)
Step 6: Seat - Sewing to Back
Sew front part of Seat Back to back of the seat piece that you just cut out.
a. Find centers and pin together.(pic 1)
b. Sew, starting at pin (pic 2), until you reach side seam of Seat Back(where piping is).(pic 3) Repeat for other half.
c. Check fit and finish raw edges
Step 7: Skirt
a. Measure perimeter of seat. Use scotch tape to hold in place, and around curves. Mine is about 62".(pic 1)
b. Measure perimeter around leg bottoms. Mine is 77". Since the bottom is 15" more than the top, we'll use that measurement to create our long rectangle. The difference represents the pleat we will create at the top, where the seat is.(pic 2)
c. Measure height. Mine is 17.5" in the front and 16.5" in the back.(pic 3)
So, rectangle for the skirt is 79" W (I've added 2" for ease & seam allowance) x 20.5" H(an extra 3" for hem facing). Tip: Use fabric selvages as an edge for each chair skirt, to give a finished edge at bottom for turning up hem.
d. Find center of long rectangle by folding in half along raw edge. Mark with pin. This will be the front. Next, find center of seat front by also folding in half. Mark with pin. (pic 4)
e. Pin right sides together, matching pins, and start sewing.(pic 5) Stop when you've sewn 3" past side seam. (pic 6) Repeat for other half.
Step 8: Pleat
a. Close skirt up by bringing ends of rectangle together and stitch. (pic 1)
b. Find center of Seat Back by folding in half, mark with pin. (pic 2)
c. Bring stitched ends of rectangle to that pin and pin together. (pic 3)
d. Finish raw edges of rectangle ends, by pinking, overcasting or serging. (pic 4)
e. Create pleat on left by drawing rectangle slack over to midpoint, pinching or pinning, allowing fold or overlap to be made. Repeat process for right side, naturally in reverse. You should have 4 layers in your pleat, one being the bottom of the seat back.(pic 5)
f. Sew entire length, beginning and ending where you left off in last step, 3" after the side seams. (pic 6)
Step 9: Hem
a. Put slipcover on chair, right-side out, to pin up hem. Use pins at 4 corners, and front and center backs.(pics 1,2,3)
b. Press out hem line according to pins, adjusting any transitions to minimize distortions, to make for a nice stitch line. Stitch by machine, using a blind hem, or visible stitch. Finish any raw edges and give the final piece a good pressing, including the hem.
c. Enjoy your unique creation! As an option, with the remaining scraps you can create a small pillow for lumbar support.
This project can be done in several hours or over a weekend, depending on how many chairs. If you are entertaining for the holidays and would like to spiffy up some chairs, this is a great way to make that happen.
Hope this was enjoyable and helpful and thanks for voting!!
Third Prize in the