How to Slipcover a Slipper Chair. Part Two

Part One of this tutorial found me tracing and cutting a pattern to slipcover these now trashed slipper chairs. Here in Part Two, I shall assemble all the pieces and sew them together. The techniques I use here should provide the outline for anyone to tackle a armless slipcover project of their own.

I started with the top and front and back of the backrest. Arrange them on the chair inside out, pin to the chair to position and then pin the seams.  Remove and sew, then press seams. I decided not to pipe this part of the chair so this was very straight forward. Turn back right-side out and test the fit. 

Next fit the sides of the backrest. This part has piping in my design. Pin fabric to the chair (right-side out) and then pin the piping to the fabric along the outline, following the exact dimensions of the chair.

One important factor when using piping: do use the sew on the bias method, it allows for the piping to go around curves more easily. (This is easily googled). It is a pain to do but does make a big difference in the quality of the curves in a sewed project.

Prepare the seat cover. Because my seat cover pattern was a tad large,I found it easier to place the fabric inside-out on the chair and then add the piping to follow the perimeter.

Add the first band of the skirt. Note* I made these slipcovers with two different treatments of the skirt. The first chair, without pleats, which I did not like. The second, with corner box pleats. After finishing the second chair, I removed the skirt from the first chair and added the pleated treatment. 

My fabric was only 44" wide, so I needed to sew three sections together to wrap around for the skirt. Two sections sewed together would have sufficed, but to avoid a seam in the middle of the front of the chair, instead use three so the seams are on the sides. 

Prior to attaching the seat to the back section, I pinned together the other sections to check for fit and to get the best alignment for attaching these two big sections. I then pinned the seat section in place and sewed that seam prior to sewing the sides to the back section.

I found that being very diligent about checking the fit along the way made for fewer fitting mistakes.

Seat section sewn in place, now time to attach the side sections. Remember this is made much easier by the fact that the fabric can be pinned to the chair during this process -so that everything stays nicely in place for a good fit.

I aligned my piping on top of the original upholstery piping and smoothed and pinned my way along the seam.

I trimmed and zigzag finished the edges of all these seams after everything was sewn together.

This final bottom section of the skirt with the pleat gets added last.

I found it easiest to tip the chair back and work like this to get that pleat right.

I pre-hemmed the fabric to the right length first using a blind stitch hem. Align the fabric at the center of the chair and begin pinning outward. Pin all the way to the corner. 

Fold back the pleat and pin at top and bottom to keep nice and square.

From corner, measure down 5" (or double the distance of the pleat) and fold back in on itself.

 Pin the remaining skirt toward the sides section.

I found this last bit to be the trickiest -attaching the skirt section to the side and back section. To this point, leave the back and side section unhemmed so that the skirt section can be aligned with it to fall at the same length. Pin skirt in place to determine the hem for the rear and sides. Unpin skirt and sew. Finally repin skirt to sides and attach it by sewing on the right side along the piping. This seam will be invisible.

*Some final notes on sewing these slipcovers. 

Of course no two slipcover projects will be alike, but I hope that the basic steps shown here will give courage to anyone who might like to attempt a similar project. Sewing a slipcover seems daunting but it really needn't be. And always there are a million Youtube videos to solve life's sewing mysteries.

This project was made easier by certain factors. No arms to content with and a fairly straight chair (no zippers needed for a good fit). And, a very forgiving fabric pattern that didn't require perfect alignments. 

I am very pleased with this project and will of course photograph a pretty photo and post separately soon.

Cheers and happy sewing. 

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