Up-cycling furniture and decorating with thrift store finds is all the rage these days. And I am fully on board with this movement but, I admit that I have never been a patient or enthusiastic shopper. My girlfriend on the other hand has a gift. Though she doesn’t shop often she always comes out with fabulous finds. She was one who first spotted this chair in the thrift store and relayed the vision of it’s full potential to me. She didn’t buy it that day because she felt like she lacked the ability to restore it. We make a good team, her and I, because while my shopping skills are poor, my crafting skills are solid. The following day I picked up the chair and set to work recovering it – as a surprise for her.
I thought I’d share the process with you. This isn’t a complete step-by-step guide but, for those of you out there who can wield a pair of scissors and run a sewing machine it will, at least, set you in the right direction.
Although the upholstery was worn out the springs were good, the frame was intact and the cushions were firm and comfortable. It was worth recovering.
I began first by choosing a solid heavy weight upholstery stye fabric. After that I purchased the matching thread and zippers. I wanted the slipcover to be removable and washable so I decided to have zippers on the main cushion and the back cushion. I made the cushion covers similar to the original design. I used the actual cushions as my patterns and cut the fabric to fit. Starting at the back with the zipper first and then following the shape of the cushion (see diagrams below). The cushion back was essentially the same – although less boxy. Starting with the zipper on the bottom first an then cutting around, pinning, sewing and following the pattern of the existing cushion.
Covering the main frame of the chair is a bigger job but still very doable. Again it is a matter of using the chair’s own shape as the pattern. Your sewing lines will follow the obvious lines of the chair’s frame. Always place the right side of the fabric down while cutting out your pattern. Pin and sew as you go. You need a LOT of pins for this!This pin line will be the line you follow when sewing.
Continue following the chair’s outline. Cutting, pinning and sewing until you have covered the entire body of the chair. Keeping a decent amount of fabric hanging on the bottom so you can hem nicely. I do a regular stitch line on all the seams but then go along them again with a thicker zig-zag stitch for extra durability.Flip the slip cover right side out to hem. Keep in mind that this whole piece needs to be pulled over the chair so slits in the corners are a must (shown below). My girlfriend loved the surprise – we snuck into her home one afternoon and left the chair in her living room. I added a small throw pillow which I made from some fabric taken off an old lampshade she had loved.
As mentioned above, this isn’t a truly detailed outline on slip-covering but hopefully it sets you on the right path. If you have any questions please ask – I’ll do my best to answer them.