Chair Seat Covers, Part 1

Last December, one of our cousins contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in a sewing project to make covers for her kitchen chairs. She forwarded a couple of sample photos and asked if this was 'my thing', which made me chuckle. :-)

It had been a while since I made the slipcovers for my couch and the opportunity to do some 'real' sewing was irresistible. We worked out the details for the project and agreed she would buy the fabric and drop it off along with one of the chairs in January and pick everything up when the covers were finished.

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat CoverThe original plan was to make 7 kitchen chair seat covers. I prepared a rough estimate of the fabric yardage so she could order enough fabric, plus a little extra. 

When she arrived to drop off the fabric and one of the kitchen chairs, there was a bonus bar stool chair and a request to make 3 padded covers to match the kitchen chairs. Fortunately, she had ordered a couple of extra yards of fabric, which proved to be more than enough for all 10 slipcovers.

With an open date for completion, I was able to work on the chair covers and keep up with orders from my ArtFire shop for the next several weeks.

I began working on the kitchen chair covers first, so I could think about how to construct and pad the bar stool covers. This blog post is about the kitchen chair covers; my next post will be about the padded bar stool covers and will have more detailed how-to's.

I began by making a muslin version of the chair seat cover. To make a pattern, I pinned a piece of Pattern Ease tracing material to the seat and traced the shape of the seat with pencil. The pencil line was intended to be my seam line, so I added about 1/2 inch all around for a seam allowance. I folded the pattern in half vertically and made some adjustments to make sure all the corners and contours were symmetrical.

The back of the skirt slips under the back of the chair and is secured to the rest of the skirt with velcro. The skirt pieces wrap around the legs to keep the cover in place. To accommodate the narrower space at the back, the pattern for the seat has an extension a couple of inches long that joins to the back skirt.

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

Next, the seat pattern piece was cut out of muslin and pinned to the chair seat, making sure the corners fit along the seat back. The strips of muslin were pinned along the front and back to determine the skirt placement and height. Then I marked the seam lines in pencil right on the muslin pieces, which I then basted together in dark thread. Here's how it looked when we tried it on to check the fit:

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

Some additional markings and adjustments made to the muslin to make it fit properly and hang evenly were transferred to my pattern piece, and then I was ready to cut into the home dec fabric.

The first seat cover made of the home dec fabric turned out almost exactly as expected, but I ended up lengthening the extension at the back of the seat so that the back skirt fit better on the remaining 6 kitchen chair covers.

Here's a peek at the inside seams:

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

The front skirt is made of 3 strips of fabric, joined together so that the seams would fall right at the front outside corner of each front leg of the chair. I used my serger and a wide overlock stitch to finish all the raw edges of the fabric, then turned up the hem and finished it with a blind-hem stitch. 

I added fabric facings to the corners at the back of the seat section for support and a neat finish before attaching the front and back skirts. This seam was also serged to prevent the fabric from unraveling.

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

Last, I sewed velcro onto the ends of the back and front skirt, then folded and top-stitched them to hem them in place.

Here's a look at the back of the seat cover, about to be secured with the velcro:

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

Everything fits nice and smooth:

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

And here's one last look at the front and back of a finished seat cover:

Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover Dining/Kitchen Chair Seat Cover

After the first one was finished, each of the remaining kitchen chair seat covers took between 2-3 hours to sew. Cutting as efficiently as possible, a little over one yard of home dec fabric made 2 covers.

I really liked the way these turned out and I may just have to do this again for my own dining room chairs!

Edited to add: Since sharing this blog post, I've received several inquiries, asking me if I make chair seat covers for others. I'm extremely flattered, but unfortunately, because of the time involved, I can only make these and other home decor items for close friends and family members.