Good Morning and Happy Monday everyone!! I absolutely adore the look of non-traditional slipcovered chairs, especially when the slipcovers have ballerina ties. Now, the easiest way for me to get this same look without paying an arm and a leg, was for me to do it myself. But, I am quite possibly the worst seamstress on the planet. So please, you more seasoned sewing wizards out there- let this be a warning to you, you may keel over at any moment during this tutorial due to the unorthodox or unskilled approach I take with sewing this slipcover. But all you other no sewing gals – welcome to the party!!
Here are a couple of pictures of what I was going for. These chair’s ties are actually made of the same fabric that the slipcover is made out of, but I just got some cotton ribbon from the fabric store and called it good. The beautiful thing is, you can use whatever you want for your ties.
I purchased this absolutely beautiful chair from an estate sale a few months ago, and I have been debating over reupholstery or slipcover ever since I brought it home. The fabric is heinous firstly, but secondly, the upholstery is in ghastly shape. I don’t think the people who owned this chair have reupholstered it for probably fifty years – no joke. Anyway, the slipcover finally won the debate. It would have been easier for me to just reupholster the damn chair, but I just love the functionality of a removable slipcover, so the sensible side eventually won out… this time. Here is a good look at this gorgeous chair. It is from the late 19th century (at least I was told) and I just love the lion head arm rest detailing.
Firstly, take a measurement of your chair’s cushion. Be sure to measure from the point at which you want the fabric to cover, to just where you want it to end. Then add a 1/2 inch seam allowance to each side. After you have your large piece of fabric cut, you will need to make notches where the chair legs are. This is of course unless your legs don’t impede the fabric at all, or you are doing ruffles. In which case you will have a smaller main piece, and just mark where you need a break in the ruffles for the legs. But never mind that, I suppose that can be a tutorial for a different day. Back to the subject at hand… My chair legs however, make it very difficult for the corners to lie flat on the chair. So after you mark where your notches will be, cut them out. Learn from my mistake and take more time than you need to on this step and make sure you have them perfect. Mine turned out a little wonky and it was because I got in a hurry… I do this every time!! ugh. Anyway, you will end up with a square (or whatever shape you are doing) with the corners taken out.
Now you need to prepare your seams. Bust out your iron, and fold over your half inch seam allowance, then fold in the cut edge to the seam so that the cut edge is no longer showing, and iron into place. The ironing makes it 1000 times easier to sew, so it is well worth the extra time. Below I show how I did the corners as well. I did them on a diagonal, and I’m not sure if this is correct – at all. But, it was the easiest way for me to get clean seams, so I went with it. Momma, if you are reading – look away!!
You will also need to do this for the upper half of your chair, so just stick to the steps and you won’t go wrong.
After you have sewn all your edges, place all of your new pieces on your chair to make sure they fit correctly and make any adjustments you need to. Once you are satisfied with the fit of the cover pieces, with the covers resting on your chair, mark where you want/need your ties to go.
This is much trickier for the upper part of the chair than the lower. For the upper I cut some ribbon and pinned it to the front slipcover section exactly where I wanted it, then placed the front slipcover with the ribbon attached onto the chair, held up the back slipcover section and pinned the ribbon to the corresponding places on the back. So in essence, on the upper pieces you are pinning the ribbon exactly where you need it sewn, be sure to match up your two pieces correctly or it will throw the whole thing off. Do this on the sides and bottom of your slipcover pieces as well. I used 12″ long pieces of ribbon. You have tremendous freedom here, so do what you think looks nice, or what makes the piece functional.
Once you have sewn your ribbon pieces on, place your slipcover on your chair and make any adjustments needed. I needed to add another tie to make mine functional. I had this big gap between my upper and lower tie due to the curve of the chair back, so I had to put in the tie to hold the slipcover tightly to the chair in that specific place.
The lower portion is so much easier. Just measure the distance from the bottom of your slipcover to the floor, and double or triple the length of the ribbon – depending on how long you want your ties, or how much you want to wrap them around the legs. I doubled the distance of mine, and kind of wished I had tripled them.
After sewing your ribbon on, you are finished. Tie on your new slipcover and look for any spots that need adjustment and fix them. If there are none – enjoy your beautiful new chair! This is how mine looked after I was finished.
Not too shabby I think. Plenty of room for improvement, but not too shabby. I hope this tutorial helps you on your journey to DIY home beauty.