How To Make Your Own Slip Covers For A Wing Back Chair Or Sofa

Give your wingback chair or sofa a fresh, new look with a custom-made slipcover.

Give your wingback chair or sofa a fresh, new look with a custom-made slipcover.

A medium- to heavyweight fabric works best for this type of slipcover. Thin fabric will not hold up well and will not do a good job of covering flaws such as rips, knobby frayed spots or other imperfections in the original piece of furniture.

Begin your slipcover project by pulling out your tape measure, a piece of paper and a pencil. Make a sketch of your chair or sofa and jot down measurements beside the individual sections.

Your first measurement will be for the main section of the slipcover, and will start at the floor or top of the legs in the back of the chair or sofa. Take off the cushions, then measure up and over the back, across the part that the cushions rest on, and down to the floor or top of the legs at the front of the chair or sofa. Add at about six inches to the total length to allow for a hem at the front and the back and to give yourself a little room to play with. Then measure the width of the chair or sofa, up to the wings and armrests. For a chair, you will need one rectangular piece of fabric this size. For a sofa, you will need two, or depending upon the width of your sofa, perhaps three. The sofa pieces will be sewn together with a seam either down the center of the sofa, or in thirds to be in line with the cushions. The excess material will be tucked in.

Place the fabric on the sofa or chair and tuck the fabric into the crevices. Mark the hem on the front, back and sides. Finish by turning over the bottom edge and machine-stitching a hem. For extra detail, sew decorative trim around the bottom edge. When this main piece is in place, secure it to the chair or sofa with screw-in pins. These spiral pins have a button-type head. Look for them at hardware stores, fabric and craft shops, or where upholstery supplies are sold.

Next, cut four pieces of fabric in the shape of the winged side sections, making each piece several inches larger than what the finished pieces will be. Place two pieces right side together and sew, leaving the side that will touch the back of the chair or sofa open. Turn right side out and fit these over the wings. Repeat this procedure for the armrest portions of the piece of furniture, using six pieces for the top and two sides of each armrest. Tuck fabric into crevices if possible, or turn under the raw edges and hand-sew to the main piece.

The last pieces you will have to make are the cushion covers. Trace the shape of your cushions on your fabric and cut out a top and bottom piece for each cushion, adding a seam allowance. Then, cut strips that are as thick as your cushions and long enough to wrap all the way around. Add several inches to this measurement, and again, be sure to add a seam allowance. Starting at the center back of the cushion, attach and sew the top and bottom of the cushion cover to these strips, gathering the strips slightly as you round the corners. Across the back of this strip, cut a horizontal opening only large enough to squeeze the cushions through. Finish the edges of the opening by zigzagging or turning over a very small amount and sewing.

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