How to choose a seat cover

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How to choose a seat cover
How to choose a seat cover

A chair cover is a fairly cheap and easy way to decorate an old or worn chair, as well as the ability to adapt the look of the chair to the interior of the room. Covers can be purchased for a very low price (depending on the material and size of the chair, as a rule, from 1200 to 9000 rubles), but it is not so difficult to make them yourself. Read on to find the method that best suits your skills and schedule.


Method 1 of 3: Creating a Fitted Cover

Slipcover a Chair Step 10
Slipcover a Chair Step 10

Step 1. Measure the chair

To sew a fabric cover to your chair's shape, you need to start by taking and writing down the exact measurements of all the chair parts. Here is a list of all the measurements you should take:

  • Chair back height
  • Maximum backrest width
  • Chair back thickness
  • Distance from the top of the back to the seat
  • Armrest length
  • Distance from armrests to floor
  • Distance from armrests to seat
  • Seat length
  • Seat width
  • Seat cushion depth
  • Distance from the floor to the bottom edge of the fabric (if planning to add a hem to your cover)
  • Distance around the bottom circumference of the chair (if planning to add a hem)
Slipcover a Chair Step 11
Slipcover a Chair Step 11

Step 2. Choose a fabric for your cover

Buy enough fabric to fit your chair (add some seam and bug material).

  • If you are looking for a durable cover when choosing a fabric, then choose a very sturdy fabric such as denim, thick cotton / hemp, canvas or twill.
  • The fabric is sold in a wide variety of sizes: 90 cm, 105 cm, 150 cm, and so on over 250 cm. For covers, it is preferable to take a wide fabric (150 cm or more), because the wider the fabric, the less you will have to sew individual pieces together.
  • Some chairs are larger than others, but typically 4-6 meters of 150cm fabric should be enough for a standard armchair.

Step 3. Buy paper templates

Paper templates are used to make the initial template for your cover. The most common types of paper used for tracing a template are freezer paper, Swedish carbon paper, and medical paper sheets.

  • Freezer paper is relatively inexpensive and thick enough not to accidentally tear. It is also less transparent.
  • Swedish carbon paper is quite transparent and thick, but expensive.
  • Medical paper sheets are easy to see through and very cheap, but they are much thinner and wrinkle easily.
Slipcover a Chair Step 13
Slipcover a Chair Step 13

Step 4. Draw a pencil around all the details of the chair

It is important to mark the pattern of each piece of the chair on a piece of paper before connecting the cover. Without a well-cut pattern, you end up with an uneven and disproportionate cover.

  • Begin by carefully sketching the back, seat and armrests on a piece of paper. Compare your tracing paper drawing with the measurements you originally took.
  • If you plan to add a hem to the chair, you can finish drawing the pattern for it on a piece of paper. You will need a strip of fabric long enough to cover the space around the base of the chair and wide enough to hang from the bottom of the chair to the floor.
Slipcover a Chair Step 12
Slipcover a Chair Step 12

Step 5. Vacuum the chair

Although the cover will cover the entire chair, you should still vacuum the chair ahead of time to remove excess dirt and dust.

If you do not clean the chair before putting on the cover, the chair may become moldy

Slipcover a Chair Step 14
Slipcover a Chair Step 14

Step 6. Cut out the patterns

Having drawn all the details of the chair on a piece of paper, start cutting out each pattern. Leave 2-3 cm around the seams and 5 cm around the hem. This is done in order to leave allowances while sewing the pieces together.

  • Use scissors or a household knife to cut out the patterns for your chair.
  • Be careful and take your time with this step - mistakes at this stage can lead to defects in your case.
Slipcover a Chair Step 15
Slipcover a Chair Step 15

Step 7. Trace the patterns on the fabric

Lay fabric wrong side up. Lay out the paper templates so that they all fit onto the fabric.

  • Carefully trace the edges of each piece, then cut out the pieces with sewing scissors. There are many ways to cut around fabric without leaving marks. The most common are:
  • Disappearing ink markers
  • Tailor's wax (pencil)
  • Washable colored pencils
  • Cutting crayon
  • Dotted wheel
  • Felt pens, markers, etc. (use only on the back of a thick enough fabric)
Slipcover a Chair Step 18
Slipcover a Chair Step 18

Step 8. Connect the inside of the backrest to the armrests

After you have cut all the pieces from a piece of fabric, line them up, pin them along the common seams, and sew them together.

Pin and sew the inner back with both armrests at the seams

Slipcover a Chair Step 16
Slipcover a Chair Step 16

Step 9. Connect the inside and back

Combine the back with the one you got in the previous step (consisting of the inner and armrests) and pin them together. Then sew the pieces together along the marked seams.

When you're done, you should have a piece of baggy fabric that slides over the back and armrests of your chair

Slipcover a Chair Step 19
Slipcover a Chair Step 19

Step 10. Connect the seat and lower parts

Combine the seat with the already assembled piece and pin them along the seams. Sew them together.

The back of the seat should meet the pattern of the backrest, while the side of the seat should meet the pattern of the armrests

Slipcover a Chair Step 20
Slipcover a Chair Step 20

Step 11. Sew the hem (if any) to the seat

Pin a strip of hem to the seat of the chair and sew them together.

  • The hem should hang over the floor, not rest on it.
  • If possible, try to position the hem so that the intersection is at the back of the cover, away from human eyes.
Slipcover a Chair Step 22
Slipcover a Chair Step 22

Step 12. Slide the new seat cover over the chair

Tuck the corners of the cover into the cushions and armrests of the chair.

Sit gently. Your cover should be comfortable and easily adapt to your body weight. If not, you may need to rip and re-sew poorly fitted seams

Method 2 of 3: Creating a Draped Cover

Step 1. Choose the fabric for your drapery

Find a material that is patterned and large enough to cover your chair all the way to the floor. In general, a 180 x 270 cm piece of fabric should be enough for most chairs.

  • Several types of fabrics that are perfect for this business:
  • Cover for protecting paintings from dust (preferably without paint stains)
  • Old sheet
  • Old blanket
  • Store-bought fabric (thick cotton yarns work well)

Step 2. Drape your chair with this fabric

When draping the fabric, arrange it so that the pattern on the fabric (if any) is located on the chair facing you.

Place the fabric on top of the chair (the center of the fabric should be in line with the highest point of the chair) so that it completely covers the chair on all sides and reaches the floor

Step 3. Tuck the fabric into the folds of the chair

Use your fingers to tuck the fabric into various folds around the seat until it fits snugly against it. Smooth out any unsightly folds in the fabric itself, creating darts (folds in the fabric that allow it to lie flat) as you go to keep the fabric flat.

  • If you like, you can use a textile glue (available at most art supply and fabric stores) to glue the cover. After that, your cover will fit snugly against the chair, without falling, not crumpling or sliding off it.
  • Use glue to glue the back of your new seat cover to the original material at the top of the chair. To do this, you will need to lift the cover and apply the glue to the wrong side, so it would not hurt to call a friend for help, who would indicate where to apply the glue.
  • Fortunately, textile glue takes a long time to set. So if you screw up, you can just pull back the fabric and move it wherever you want.
  • Different adhesives have different setting times, but in general most textile adhesives set within 2-4 hours. This glue can usually be safely washed off after a couple of days. Check the adhesive label for more specific instructions.

Step 4. Cut off excess material

Once the glue is dry, you can use scissors or a fabric knife to cut the dangling bottom of your cover.

  • Ideally, you want the hem of the cover to hang 2-5 cm above the floor. Trim the excess carefully in a straight line.
  • If you make a noticeable mistake, simply cut a few centimeters of the cover and glue a long, thin strip of fabric around the bottom to create a new hem.

Method 3 of 3: Buying a case

Slipcover a Chair Step 1
Slipcover a Chair Step 1

Step 1. Measure the chair

Use a measuring tape to measure the height, length and width of the entire chair.

Take measurements carefully. If you're planning on spending your hard-earned cash on a case, it should at least fit properly

Slipcover a Chair Step 3
Slipcover a Chair Step 3

Step 2. Visit the case stores

Covers are sold in most stores and websites that specialize in home furnishings and decorative items.

  • Most of the covers are sold in the range from 1200 to 9000 rubles, depending on the material and size of the chair.
  • Grab your measurements when you go to the store, as each cover only fits a specific chair size. If you are shopping at a general store and cannot choose the size you want, ask the seller for advice.
  • When in doubt, buy a cover a little more than you need. You can remove, sew and cut the cover at any time to make it smaller, but you are unlikely to succeed in making it larger.
  • If you are looking for a durable cover when choosing a fabric, then choose a very sturdy fabric such as denim, thick cotton / hemp, canvas or twill.
Slipcover a Chair Step 5
Slipcover a Chair Step 5

Step 3. Vacuum the chair

Before putting on the cover, you should clean the chair from dirt and dust.

It also doesn't hurt to remove the cover from time to time and vacuum the chair again so that it doesn't get moldy under the cover

Slipcover a Chair Step 7
Slipcover a Chair Step 7

Step 4. Pull the cover over the chair

Then walk around the seat and tuck the taut edges of the cover into the folds around the seat.

  • Pull and tie all laces and ribbons on the front and back of the cover. These knots should hold the cover in place.
  • Tie the knot tightly, but not too tight to undo it, as the cover may change slightly in size and shape after repeated use and washing.


  • Consider buying or making decorative pillows to match your new cover. If you decide to buy a cover, most stores also sell pillows with matching or matching designs. If you have sewn your own cover, then you can make a pillow from the same fabric as your chair.
  • To smooth the cover, you need to spray it with water and throw it into the dryer so that it dries slightly. Then quickly put it on the chair - when it finally dries, it will sit slightly, taking the shape of your chair.


  • Before spending money on a cover, consider how often you use the chair. If your chair is used a lot, then you probably should invest in the most durable cover.
  • Follow all the care instructions for your fabric when cleaning it - you don't want it to shrink when you wash it!

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