Friday, October 12, 2012

Folding Chair Slip Cover Tutorial

I was recently gifted the most sturdy folding chairs.  Samsonite.  Solid.  Not the prettiest.

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I wanted a durable fabric & remembered I had this home dec weight fabric in my toile stash.  (Yay toile stash!)  I paired it with a solid for accent.

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I searched high & low for a tute for slip covering a folding chair & had no luck, so Light bulb…there was a need!

I found 2 good tutes for regular dining chairs that gave me a jumping off point.  This one by Bari J and this one by home dec fabric manufacturer, F. Schumaker & Co.

The special challenge of a folding chair over a regular chair is, well, the folding.  I didn’t want the fabric being rubbed against the metal as the chair was folded.  The other challenge was the 3.5” curve in the chair back (this was a challenge for me, because I am not much on general sewing, so I have to figure things out that may be simple for those more experienced).

SO, let’s start with the templates:

I used freezer paper, but you can use any paper big enough.  Draw an outline of the seat. 

Folding chair slip cover

I used my ruler to straighten out those lines & a Christmas tin to help me with my curved corners.

Folding chair slip cover-004  Folding chair slip cover-005

My seat was padded about 1” and had 1” metal frame under that.  I added 2.5” to the top & bottom (chair front & back) of my outline so the fabric would cover the old seat padding and frame.  I didn’t want the fabric to rub the sides, so I added just 1/2” to each side of my outline.  The 1/2” is the seam allowance.  Cut the template.

For the back, I wrapped paper all the way around.  I figured this would account for the curve in the back


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I ran out of freezer paper & had to wing it-thus the brown patch.  I taped it into a tube, positioned the bottom where I wanted the cover to fall & traced the outline of the top with the sharpie. Since it’s a metal frame, I just ran the marker along the edge & like before, used the ruler & tin to make it straight later.  I trimmed & squared off the top & then checked my pieces again.  Paper is cheap to recut…fabric-much more painful.

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Satisfied I had my plan in place, I started cutting fabric. 

My plan to keep the bottom cover in place is to have 2 sets of strips that will velcro under the chair (like so)

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To make the strips, I cut 3” wide x 22” long strips-4 for each chair.  I folded them in half on the short side (3”)& stitched up each long (now 11”) side.  I rounded the corners, since these are on the bottom & I didn’t feel like poking out sharp points.  Snip the corner fabric for easier turning.

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Repeat for all 16 straps.  Turn right side out.  Press. 

On to the cushion!

I decided that every butt likes a little extra cushion, so I used fusible fleece on both sides (toile top & blue backing) of the bottom.  I cut rectangles big enough out of the 4 pieces & fused.  Then I transferred my template to the fusible side of the toile print.  Since my backing is solid, I didn’t have to worry about lining up patterns.

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I put the straps in between the right sides, & lined them up just where the curve breaks.  This way, when I leave the opening to turn, it can be the space between the straps at the back of the chair (less noticeable topstitch after I turn).  I over lap the straps as I placed them to make sure they stayed straight.

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Then I pinned it all together.  Pin on each strap & pinned the corners.  Stitch a 1/2” seam allowance from your line (since your template includes your seam allowances).

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Trim your piece.  I used pinking around the corners for easier turning.

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Turn, press & topstitch opening closed.

Stitch 1-2” long strip of velcro near stitched end of each strap.

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note that you want them to meet  (hook up, loop down)

WOO, we have cushions!

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Finally, the backs!

I decided to just make a sleeve for the backing.  Decided not to follow the curve contour of the back.  Since I was running LOW on the toile, I divided up the width of the back from the pattern (19”) into rough thirds.  I had enough toile to cut 4 strips (one for each chair) of 8” x 30” (the height of the back is 15”).  I cut 8” strips of the blue x 30” to put on each side of the toile (total of 8 strips for 4 chairs).  Using 1/2” seams, I stitched the 3 pieces down the long sides, making 1 long strip set.

I stitched a 1” double hem on one short side.  (press 1”, fold over & press raw edge to 1st crease.)

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With right side out, I draped this over the chair &, like alterations on your wedding dress, I put a pin where I wanted the other hem to be.  This worked for me without all the ruler measuring.  Then hemmed the other side with the same folded hem.

Stitch up the outside edges with 1/2” seam allowance

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turn, press & wah lah!

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I can fold them without removing the covers.

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Now, I know I could have made some flaps to cover the sides of the cushion a little better, but for my use, this is great.  If I was using these in a catered event for the governor, well then I’d probably put a little extra oomph in there. 

Enjoy!  Make the world a pretty place, one stitch at a time!


KatieQ said...

Thanks for sharing this terrific tutorial. You have managed to change an ugly duckling into a swan.

Annemart Berendse said...

LIKE! You did a great job in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle world. And I love them.

HelenMarie said...

woop woop! great job!

Unknown said...

a wonderful job of bringing this chair up to date and making it very pretty!How creative! Great transformation :)

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