Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flirty and Skirty Slipcovers & Tutorial

Voila! They are finally done! All four slipcovers for my new/old and refurbished dining room chairs. (I posted about them back here). I'll take more photos later of the room, but for now I will share the process with you.

When I walk you through the instructions how to make these, I will refer to the back skirt as the small section of skirt that is at the back of the chair. The other part of the skirt I will refer to as the full skirt - the piece that goes around the two sides and along the front.
My inspiration.....
....came from an issue of Country Living magazine. The slipcover above was designed by Raphael Designs. They have a wonderful website where you can purchase custom slipcovers, however I am doing this project on a small budget so I opted to make them myself.
This is the finished chair. I painted the wood a creamy white then sanded the edges here and there. To give the carvings some depth, I applied a very small amount of Brie wax that is an oak color.
I used drop cloth fabric to cover the seats with and glued on a natural colored braid that was purchased at JoAnn's fabrics. To make the drop cloth fabric really soft (it can be very course), wash it a couple of times and each time add about 2 or so cups of fabric softner to the rinse cycle.

My vision was to have a fun and feminine skirt with lots of pleating....and for the chair to be able to "show a little leg" from underneath.
Ready to design?

I think that the most difficult part was making the pattern for the seat.
For the paper I used a roll of the brown paper that is used to wrap parcels with.
Cut out a piece of the paper that is larger than the seat of the chair and lay it over the seat.
I molded the paper to the seat by running my finger along the edge and crimped the shape.
Use a pencil to draw the lines where you have crimped.

When cutting the actual seat pattern out, add about 5/8" to the edges. This will allow for your seam allowance.

Below is the seat piece. See the top portion? To make a finished edge (the part that goes next to the ladder back of the chair) fold over about 1/8" twice and then top stitch. note: I did not clip the curved edge being as the fabric tends to unravel rather easily.
You will cut out a back skirt piece and a full skirt piece. (please see the first photo for reference).

To figure out the size of these pieces, measure the length where the back skirt and full skirt will be attached. Double this measurement. I added one inch at both sides to allow for the finished edges.

Measure how far down you want the skirt to go and also add one inch for the finished edge.

The diminsions for mine were:
Back skirt: 25 inches long and 16 inches in length.
Full skirt: 96 inches long and 16 inches in length.
Ties (four per slipcover): 5 inches wide and 25 inches in length.
To hem the edges, turn over 1/4" and then 1/4" again and stitch.
Below you can see where the skirt was attached to the seat piece. What I did when attaching the skirts, I pinned each end to each side. This will give you an idea of how much of the fabric is left at each side when doing your hand pleating. I cannot tell you how much this tip helps. It will save you time so that you won't have to pin and then un-pin the pleats.
I hand pleated the skirts with random pleating. When folding the pleats, alter the direction of the pleat so that you will get a fuller pleated look.
I like the look of an edge with cording, however I wanted a softer edge. I also find that cording wears out faster.
For the edges, I sewed the piece with a rounded edge...
...by gathering the pleats in this fashion. To do this, when you come to the corners, just make a small curve in the seam, not a sharp corner.
Above is the finished hem.
Below is what the back skirt looks like once attached.
I didn't take a photo of how to make the ties, but what I did was to cut out four ties per chair. To finish the edges of the ties, turn over 1/4" and press down and then turn over another 1/4" and stitch. To make this easier to stitch, I finished ONE end first and then the sides. You will ONLY need to finish one of the ends as the other end will be attached to the body of the skirt.
To attach the ties, turn the slipcover over so that the "wrong" side is facing you, as above.
Place the RIGHT side of the tie to the WRONG side of the slipcover. Align the edges, pin and sew, as also shown below.
I used 1/4" seam allowances and double stitched the seams. Finish off the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch or use a surger. You will want to finish the edges as this fabric unravels very easily.
Now I must say that Duhgall and Fiona were very well behaved as I stayed busy sewing....

.....and Miss Fiona insisted on sitting in front of me as I took the final photos. She is such a poser!!!

So this is it.....

...now run along and get busy!!

I hope that my instructions make sense. If not, you can always send me an email. Really, these are not hard to do, just time consuming. But well worth it when you can say, "I did it myself!"


Linda said...

Wow...really neat and great instructions! Do you think my puppies will sit as calmly as yours? D and F are so grown up and beautiful. Have really enjoyed your blogs all summer. Linda K & F's mum

Carol said...

Well done & so chic! I slip-covered this chair...so much work!
But I love the choices & satisfaction that DIY projects can give!

skoots1mom said...

awesome covers...well done and very good instructions :)

{better than candy} said...

you did a great job. they look really nice. i love how you always take pics of your dogs and post them.

Rhondi said...

Hi Becky
What a great look for the slipcovers! Your tutorial was really clear too and easy to follow. Thanks for coming to the fall party today.
Hugs, Rhondi

Kim said...

Becky, those are beautiful!!

Esther said...

They look beautiful. I could never do that in my house because one of my kids is such a messy eater. I'd have to take them off everyday to wash. It's hard wood chairs for us, I'm afraid.

ScrapsofMe said...

What a great idea! I have cream colored seat cushions on my dining room chairs and these would make nice covers to keep them cream colored. I have several pairs of creamy white drapes I'm not using, I think they can be repurposed to make these. That way if I mess em up I can just toss em and not feel bad about wasting new fabric.
Tell Fi n Dughs hellow from Bonnie.

Cherry's Jubilee said...

GASP.......beautiful....absolutely beautiful! Love the step by step too...did you paint your walls..looks similiar to our color in the family room...nice warm color. U are one awesome seamstress. cherry

Anonymous said...

Becky, they are AWESOME!! I think they deserve to be in a magazine. Your work is brilliant, I say brilliant!!!


My Shabby Roses said...

Your chairs look great Becky! I'm sure it feels so good to get them done. Beautiful job!

Esther Sunday said...

Thank you, dear Becky! I have been thinking about doing my dining area chairs and this really helps!!! Yours turned out awesome, though, hope I will be just as lucky! Love ya!

becky up the hill said...

You my girl are the sewing queen. I am so impressed. That CL cover was one of my all time favorites. If I remember right it was a drawing or something. I didn't win..meanwhile your slip covers rock..seriously beautiful. I am so proud of you.

St. Michael's Wife said...

I absolutely love these! I've been wanting to something like this to my kitchen chairs . . . maybe now -- when I get the time -- I'll try it! Thanks for the inspiration!


Ticking and Toile said...

Love the slipcovers!! I have been trying to figure out how to make that exact style for some dining room chairs! Thank you for the tutorial. I am definitely partial to slipcovers, I am in the middle of making them for my couch, loveseat & wingback chair! Come by and take a look! Love your blog, btw. Glad I found it!

Take Care


Kristen said...

They are beautiful. I have that magazine. I look at it all the time.

The Green Pea said...

Becky, this is a wonderful post. Great photos and good instructions! Now I see why they cost so much money. There is a lot of time and work in each one. Very beautiful Becky! Love them. Seems like you had good company watching you! sandi

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh My Goodness! That is so pretty and so professional looking! I can't sew anything, but if I could, I'd be whipping these up as fast as I could. I love it. laurie

Mimi Sue said...

Very nice. Great tutorial. I have some parsons chairs that need a slipcover. You've inspired me! Mimi

Cal said...

Thank you so much for this. My chairs are practically the same as yours and I didn't know how to go about covering them because of the shape. And I really want to cover them with washable covers because of the grands! x

Dawn said...

He, he, no wonder it took you so long to get to the big reaveal. It all looks fabulous. I don't think I could pull that off. I saved the same photo for my idea file. I loved the lined baskets. And the colors.

Baby Girl is still at home, going on week 3. She's feeling well enough now that we picked up some school work to keep her from getting bored. Hopefully by Monday she'll have her strength back and be able to deal with this heat at school.


Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

I recently re-covered my kitchen stools, but this was quite an undertaking! They are wonderful and your doggies are sooo sweet!

Stay Cozy & thanks for the tutorial,

Maryjane - The Beehive Cottage said...

Becky, your slipcovers turned out so sweet! Such a beautiful touch to your home. I would love to do that to my dinning room chairs! Thanks bunches for the instructions! Oh, how I LOVE Duhgall and Fiona! They are adorable and seem like such sweethearts!

Maryjane xo

Hat lady said...

Thank you!

bj said...

This is just beautiful. You did a fine job...

Anonymous said...

Pretty nifty! and, just as nice as the ones in the magazine!

The Blue Ridge Gal
(Love your choice in fabric)

do it yourselfer said...

these are beautiful! I love the tutorial! doncha just love dropcloth? great job!

Kathleen Grace said...

I am always amazed at how beautiful projects look that are made out of the drop cloths. I hope the manufacturere doesn't catch on and start raising the prices! These are so beautiful I want to try them on my own dining room chairs! I have always loved bright colors, but I am falling in love with the look of white and cream here and there. Great tutorial Becky!

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Those turned out amazing! I love the shape and style of the chairs. Great tutorial too!

Rocky Creek Scotties and Java said...

I can't believe how fast Fiona is growing up - right before our very eyes. Such a young lady!!

And I like the slipcovers too - thanks for telling us how to do it. I might have to try that sometime.


Anonymous said...

Wow, those are so pretty! Great tutorial! oh, and sweet doggies too.!


Thimbleanna said...

Oh wow -- they're beautiful! I love how you made lots of little pleats instead of gathering -- such a beautiful touch!

Alison Gibbs said...

You did a fabulous job on the slip covers

quiltingnana said...

great instructions...I have a chair that has been begging to be covered but I didn't know where to start!!!

enchanting cottage said...

What a beautiful job!! I have been wanting to do this for a while, and it will be awhile before I get to it. At least I know where to get the pattern, thank-you so much for sharing it

Leigh Ann said...

Beautiful slipcovers Becky. My niece helped me slipcover my chairs back in May. I used dropcloths too! Check them out~


Leigh Ann

Claudia said...

Becky, they are just perfect! You did such a wonderful job and I love the soft pleats and drapeyness of them! (I made up that word.) Great tutorial!

Gary and Elizabeth~ said...

Hi Becky,
I love your chairs and slip covers, your idea of using a drop cloth for fabric is brilliant!. I have a foot stool seat in our bedroom that I need to make a new slip cover for, I am going to try your drop cloth idea for fabric now I can't wait to get home this weekend and start sewing again. Love the little poser.
Take care and keep creating,

Julie said...

Oh they turned out so nice! And I really like the fabric you used!

What sweet little faces those are!


They turned out beautiful!! Yes your right I am getting rid of the pinks, I'm really liking my new look thanks for noticing and I gave Lulu a big kiss and scratch behind the ears for ya! Wanna make me some seat cushions??

Amber said...

this is so great and really your instructions seem very easy to follow - i think even I could do it! LOL

Rochelle said...

Hi Becky!
I just love these slipcovers....so frilly! Would love to do something like this for mine but they are caned seats so that would mean I would have to make cushions too! :) Sounds like too much work!
I love the way your chairs and table turned out too...doesn't it feel great when you finish a DIY project?!
Keep up the great work!

Cathy said...

Absolutely love your tutorial on chair covers. I am definitely going to make them for all my chairs in the house! Yippeeee. Now all I need is pretty fabric. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for showing us how to do it.

I really appreciate it!.


BellaRosa said...

Becky, Your slipcovers came out just gorgeous!!! I love them and saved a picture to show to my friend...now surely she will believe that the dropclothes will work :) Thank you and did you see...I got your name right...wooo..yay me...and yay you for finishing such a wonderful project and sharing your tutorial..Rose :)

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Oh, how I wish I could sew! They are absolutley stunning. I remember seeing those in the catalog too. They turned out lovely, so femine and natural! Ok, when you start making them for $$ let me know. GREAT work!
Your puppies, LOVE. How adorable.
Hope you are doing welll sweet friend. I continue to lift you up every day. I really do. HUGS!
Thanks for dropping by Bloggeritaville! I appreciate your visits and your friendship!

Daisy Cottage said...

oh you are sooooo talented Becky!

Love, love, love them!!!


Dena said...

Oh those are so lovely Becky! You are so talented! The finished product is absolutely elegant.


Aimee said...

WOW! You did a great job!!! These are so gorgeous...

If you get a chance, stop by my Blog for a visit and say hi! I just put up a new post...
Have a great day,

Liz said...

Oh, those are awesome..... you make it look pretty easy....but I don't know...hmmm. My last sewing project was a little disappointing. eeek! I'm a little gun shy now....


Rosangela said...

Ola , amei os acentos das cadeiras e o passo a passo, ficaram maravilhosas , parabéns pelo lindo trabalho beijinhos....

Sue said...

Becky, These slips look just perfect! I don't think I would ever have thought of using drop cloth fabric. Ingenious, girl! You gave simple and concise instructions and I think more than a few will be copying y9our idea. You were lucky that F and D were so well behaved- mine would have been begging for attention!
Have a good weekend. I'm busy working on fall decorations...
hugs, Sue

Miss Jean said...

Is it just me, or does Fiona match your dining room? Did you plan that? Hmmmmmmmmmm..........

Rue said...

Good morning Becky :)

They turned out gorgeous! I really wish I could sew, because I'd like them for my dining room too. I can't wait to see the whole room, but believe me when I say I understand... the kitchen is STILL not done. BTW, what is it about that picture? It's one of my very favorites and I have it it saved in my files as well as on the computer :)

Loved the trip your sweet hubby and son took. Beautiful picture taking runs in the family.

love to you,

Susie Q said...

Impressive sweet lady!! Of course, it is all Greek to me. I am a goofball when it comes to such things! : ) Oh but I wish I could make something like this for our chairs! I love the look!!
YOU are one talented woman ya know!

Amongst The Oaks said...

Love the seat covers. So feminine and dreamy. Maybe I can do something like that with the drop cloth that has a seam in it.

Lallee said...

I love your chair covers! I have wanted to make some for my breakfast room chairs. Thank you so much for the tutorial!
XO to you and the two posers.

Elyse said...





Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Oh Girl I just loved this post...thanks so much for showing the how to's...Just awesome my friend...I just may have to do this for my kitchen...great...may you have a great weekend....Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Jaclyn said...

Great job on the chairs! They turned out so cute!

cindy said...

You make it looks so easy.....but won't you just come over to my house and do mine too? LOL. I'll fix ya lunch! :D

yapping cat

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Sensational! I don't care how many slipcovers I've made...I always get tips from great tutorials like yours. I LOVE these slippies....I'd be right on my machine whipping them up if I had that kind of chair....Mine are full wicker...so, sadly these aren't for me....Phooooey. :-)

Warm blessings,

Ticking and Toile said...

Hi Becky,
I know I commented about these right after you posted, but I was wondering what fabric you used? Is it the dropcloth fabric as well? Still Really LOVE these slipcovers you made!!