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30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 29 / Slipcovers for Wood Frame Chairs

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

In this episode of The Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, host Ceil DiGuglielmo and Susan Woodcock talk about sewing slipcovers for wooden chairs. (Air date December 11, 2019).

You can listen to this episode of the podcast here:

Episode 29: Slipcovers for Wood Frame Chairs

The Difference in Making Slipcovers for Wooden Chairs

Sewing slipcovers for wood frame chairs is different than with upholstered furniture. When fitting a slipcover for an upholstered chair you can pin the fabric to the chair. There is also a little ease with padding and foam. When the slipcover is finished you can tuck-in seats and sides, and use screw pins or a tag gun to hold fabric in place. You can't do any of those things with a wood frame chair.

Another difference is that you are not always covering the whole chair. You may just be covering the seat, although fully covered chairs is also an option. The photo below shows a full slipcover, with only the legs showing.

Seats with Skirts

Chair seats are sewn with a banding and skirts, or just a skirt. Skirts can be short, or floor length. Often the style of the chair leg will influence the skirt length.

The Anatomy of a Chair

When talking about chairs, it's helpful to understand the individual parts such as stiles (upright pieces), rails (horizontal pieces) and the shoe (a solid piece at the back) which some chairs have, and some don't. The illustration below helps to identify chair parts.

Sewing a Seat Slipcover with a Gathered Skirt

A pattern is made with muslin, or drapery lining. This is used to cut the top, and bottom pieces of the chair seat. The bottom piece can be out of lining fabric. Add seam allowances to the pattern.

Two pieces are cut for the banding strip to go around the seat. The finished size depends on the style of the chair but it's usually about 2 to 3 inches. One piece can be cut out of lining, but the main fabric was used in the slipcover shown.

The ruffle pieces are cut twice the finished size, plus seam allowances. Allow 2 to 2.5 times fullness. The ruffle can be gathered, or pleated.