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Friday, June 6, 2014

Office Chair Slipcover

Earlier this week, my guy asked me if I could recover these office chairs. Hmmm....I wasn't so sure of my skills, but I agreed. I'd slipcovered my sofa and ottoman, but this was new territory.

He dropped off the chair without the frame and I got to work. Because there are two chairs, I decided to make a muslin pattern first.

I went to work pinning and fitting the muslin. I did the same thing I did when I made the slipcover for my sofa.

I sewed it together using a basting stitch (easier to take apart if there is a problem).

And ended up with this. I wasn't sure what to do around the bottom, so I made a skirt. But he's not a "skirt" kinda guy. So he asked about elastic....that would just draw the excess fabric in underneath. My thought was that I'd hem it and put a drawstring in - much better than elastic.

At this point, it looked OK. It was a bit wonky. He's an engineer. Wonky is not good.

The next morning, I had things figured out. I decided to use this muslin slipcover as a pattern.

I took it off the chair and, using a red ultra-fine-tip Sharpie, I traced my stitching.

Once I was done, I used a seam-ripper and took the muslin pattern apart.

I ended up with this. I had three pieces - a seat, the seat back, and the skirt.

Oops. OK, I got a little impatient and decided to tear...which tore! I patched it with some light-weight fusible interfacing.

This left me with the problem of adding my 1/2" seam allowance. I found my compass (every sewist should have one! ) and set it to 1/2" and went to work making a "good pattern."

I placed the pattern pieces on muslin and traced around them with my compass. I don't have any pictures of that.

I sewed it together and got this. Looks fab!

Except...I measured the skirt wrong!

I ripped out my seams to unveil my final pattern.

I ended up cutting the seat piece in half and placing it on the fold. This helped keep everything symmetrical and even.
This is the back piece.

For the skirt, I cut a piece of fabric/sewed together and ended up with a 4" x 70 1/2" skirt.

Before final assembly, I did an overcast stitch around all the fabric.

Here it is!

To make the skirt, I added two buttonholes and threaded some cord through the 1/2" seam. I used my Dritz Drawstring Threader to work the cord through.

It took me about 75 minutes to make the other one.

I don't have a final picture of the chairs in his office. I'm working on that! 

There are several lessons I learned while making these: (1) It's amazing how much confidence I gain when I know someone believes in me. My guy seems to think I'm a sewing genius. I think he had more faith in me than I did! (2) When in doubt, slow down and make a pattern. This is not easy for me - I'm a little impatient. But this slipcover fits like a glove, so the time it took to make a pattern was worth it. (3) When I'm a little baffled, go for a walk or sleep on it. I'm amazed by what my rested brain can accomplish. (4) The right tools make life easier. By that I mean, hurray for the compass and drawstring threader!

Every new challenge creates new skills. What are you going to challenge yourself with!?


  1. You’ve done an amazing job with your husband’s office chair, Bia! While some would prefer to just buy a new one, you went ahead and brought this old thing back to life! And if you think about it, it’s really a great idea, and quite easy to do as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Albert Andrews @ Pharaoh Manufacturing

    1. Thanks! There are more chairs that need some attention. Those only involve removing the seat cushion - much less work.


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