Sew Slip Covers for Chairs: Sewing Instruction and Tips

Learn How To Make a Chair Slip Cover to Give the Room a New Look

Girl holding sewing supplies

Slip covers bring life to an old piece of beloved furniture and protect a chair from the daily abuse of children and pets. Whatever your reason for wanting a slip cover, follow these steps to create a protective and attractive accessory for a favorite piece.

Materials and tools:

  • Chair to cover
  • Fabric
  • Large sheets of paper or slip cover template
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pencil
  • Stick pins
  • Velcro (optional)
  • Tape

Sewing instruction and directions to make a chair slip cover:

  1. Create a paper template. Either buy a template for chair covers off the internet or create your own. Using large sheets of paper and a pencil, make a template of all the surfaces – front, rear, sides, seat cushion and seat box, arms (inside and out) and skirt. Secure the paper to the surface with pins or tape and draw the outline of all surfaces. Cut each piece of the template.
  2. Using the template, purchase the fabric. Since the amount of fabric needed depends on the size and shape of the chair, the easiest way to determine the amount of fabric needed is by taking the templates to the fabric store with you. Or lay the templates out on a table and measure the quantity needed. Allow at least 2” of space between template parts.
  3. Wash the fabric. To avoid future shrinkage when using a washable fabric, run the fabric through the washing machine before cutting and constructing the slip cover.
  4. Using templates, cut the pieces of fabric. Place the templates onto the fabric and pin the template to the fabric to hold in place. Cut out the fabric pieces, making sure to cut ¼” – ½” outside the line in order to allow for the seams. If you prefer a slouchier fit, then cut 1” outside the lines and make the seams looser.
  5. Place the fabric for construction. When preparing to sew slip covers for chairs, place each piece fabric upside down onto each surface to make sure they align. Fold any pleats around corners and arms, then pin them.
  6. Sew the pieces together. Follow these sewing tips... starting with the back panel connecting over the top to the front inside seat area, sew the seat cover together. Slowly put the cover together one piece at a time. Join the pieces inside out so that the seams will be on the inside.

    Depending upon the type of chair, it may be difficult to get the fitted slip cover on and off. If you want easy removal, consider joining either the front seams around the arms or one back side seam with strips of Velcro.

    The last piece you attach should be the skirt which can be done at the end of this step or at the end of the next step.

  7. Once you’ve sewn the cover, turn it right side out. Shape the slip cover, then fit it over the chair and smooth the edges and seams.

Now that you have created a slip cover for your chair, it’s time to enjoy the fruit of your labor. Sit back, relax and enjoy the updated look of your favored chairs with their new furniture slip covers.


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The hardest part is to make a template when you can't find one in the internet. What about an article on how to make this template?

By Mary Norton