Sewing for the Home ~ Draping a Slipcover (Part Two)

on September 16 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 6 Comments

This is Part Two of maevedragon’s tutorials about the entire chair slipcover process. Learn more about maevedragon in her intro. Part One focuses on drafting a slipcover and Part Three focuses on sewing the slipcover.

Draping Your Slipcover
Pull out your muslin fabric (I used lightweight $1/yard mystery fabric from Wal-Mart that had a tight weave). When transferring the paper pattern piece outlines to the fabric, add 2″ on every side for a seam allowance. Basically, this will give you room to tweak the fit of the piece and to give you a margin for error (literally!).

The easiest way to add the 2″ border is to find a corner of your cloth and measure out 2″ from the top and the sides. Mark with a fabric pencil and align your pattern piece along these guidelines while keeping in mind the grain of your fabric. I just tried to align the center line of each mirrored pattern to one of the grains of the muslin, and for the non-mirrored pieces I tried to align an edge. This is, after all, simply a mock-up of the final piece.


Mark corner 2″ from each side.


Trace pattern piece with a 2″ buffer, using the cloth ruler to assist you.

Cut out.



Leave the piece on the chair while you move on to the next pattern piece.

Repeat the cutting out process with the INSIDE WING (which in my case has now been trimmed up to the stress point).

DO NOT CUT THE DARTS INTO THE MUSLIN. The cut darts in the paper were simply used to give us the curve of the pattern piece. You’ll be draping the muslin fabric and recreating the darts with it.

Overlap the bottom of the INSIDE WING piece with the top of the ARMREST piece for the seam.

Fold and pin the muslin to recreate your darts for the curve.

Pin and baste along the INSIDE WING and ARMREST.

Baste along the darts.


Repeat cutting out process for the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST pattern piece.

Align the inner corner of the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST piece to the corner of the WING and the ARMREST pattern pieces. Pin, overlapping edges to create a seam.

After smoothing and pinning the piece to the chair, carefully place pins along the seam line of the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST and the ARMREST pieces. Place pins very snuggly against the chair without actually catching any of the upholstery fabric.

At the end of the ARMREST piece, carefully fold over…

…And pin the cloth.

Snugly pin the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST to the front of the ARMREST piece along your future seam line.

Continue the pinning along the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST and the WING.

Baste along future seam lines.

Make sure there’s enough cloth to fit over the part where the top of the WING meets the OUTSIDE BACK and INSIDE BACK.

Turn inside out and check the fit.

Repeat the pinning/basting/fitting sequence…

…Until you are happy with the seams.

Checking fit.

Checking fit.

Checking fit.

Pull off the cloth and, inside out, lay on a flat surface. Trim the excess cloth from the seams (I trimmed at 1″ from the basted seam line).

Repeat the cutting out process for the OUTSIDE BACK piece.

Repeat the pinning/basting/fitting/trimming process on the OUTSIDE BACK piece. If you have a larger or overstuffed winged chair, you may want to skip all or part of the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST and OUTSIDE BACK seams and install a closer of some type to allow for an easier fit over the larger portions of the chair.

Again, do not cut the darts from the paper pattern into the cloth!

Once cut out, fold the INSIDE BACK piece in half and align along the center of the chair back.

Pin, leaving excess cloth at the sides for seaming and tucking.

Pinch the OUTSIDE BACK and INSIDE BACK pieces together and gently pull up.

Slide your fingers down–while holding the two pieces of cloth together–to the top of the chair.


Continue in this fashion along the curve. See, I told you not to cut those darts!

When you reach the intersection of INSIDE BACK, OUTSIDE BACK, and OUTSIDE WING, stop.

Fold over the excess cloth from the INSIDE BACK piece.

Pull (or poke) the top of the INSIDE WING cloth until it meets the OUTSIDE BACK piece.

Pinch pieces together.


Repeat with the INSIDE BACK and OUTSIDE BACK pieces.

Pinch pieces together.



The resulting seams. It looks complicated but when broken up into pieces it makes perfect sense.

Baste all of your pinned seams and remove the pins.

Turn the pieces right side out and put back on the chair for a fitting.

Repeat the pinning/basting/fitting/trimming process as necessary to achieve a proper fit.

Trim only along the basted seams!

Repeat the cutting out process with the SEAT piece.

Drape over the seat of the chair, roughly aligning the center of the piece to the center of the chair. Tuck the excess into the creases.

Pin the top of the cushion from the center outward.

At the corner of the cushion by the front of the armrest, gather up the excess ARMREST piece and the excess SEAT piece (basically, the extra cloth from both pieces that’s tucked into the crease).

Align and pin.

Pull up this pinned part, roughly align the rest of the cloth and pin.

Pin the front panel to the chair, starting at the center and smoothing the cloth outwards and downwards before pinning.

Pull the excess up, align the edge of the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST piece and the SEAT piece and pin up to the ARMREST and SEAT seam.

Pull up, align and pin the bottom edge of the ARMREST piece and the side edge of the SEAT piece.

Repeat along the bottom edge of the INSIDE BACK piece and the back edge of the SEAT piece.

Fold the excess along the back edge of the INSIDE WING and the INSIDE BACK until the creases are just touching the corner of the chair. Align and pin in a fashion that allows for the seam to be tucked into the crease.

Align the portion below the WING/ARMREST seam and pin.

Rearrange any pins to allow seam lines to meet.

Baste seams. Remove pins.

Additional view.

Additional view.

Turn right side out and check the fit.

Fiddle with the corner cloth until you get a fit/look that you like. Pin or mark as necessary (I placed a pin on the corner SEAT cloth and a pin on the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST cloth so that I can mark and match up the pattern pieces later).

Additional view.

Additional view.

Additional view.

Label your pieces using masking tape before removing the muslin.

Once the muslin is removed from the chair, trim all seams to 1″ from the basting lines.

Place masking tape along the basting thread lines (so that there is the edge of the cloth, 1″ of space, basting line, masking tape). Do this for all of the seams before removing the basting thread and separating the muslin into individual pieces.

Remember to mark where your darts were located.

For those pieces that have only half of their seams marked, fold in half vertically and use the top to align (I placed pins along the edge of the masking tape).

Secure the two halves together and pin. Add another label to the piece indicating “Place on fold” along the new crease.

You now have the choice of using the muslin pieces as your pattern pieces, transferring the changes from the muslin pieces back to the original pattern pieces, or creating new paper pattern pieces from the muslin pieces.

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6 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Draping a Slipcover (Part Two)

  1. Diane says:

    I am looking for help in making a cover for a overstuffed club chair. I used muslim to make a pattern, pinned the pieces together, marked them and wrote what sections they were for, but when I got them home (the chair is in Florida I’m in NH) I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Should be a simple project turned into a nightmare. Can anyone help me?

  2. Jaime says:

    Oh My! I could have used this a couple years ago when I reupholstered a chair I was given! Or that time I slipcovered an overstuffed chair for my mom – I would rather sew clothing! LOL! 🙂

  3. Michele Wang says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I’m moving to a new place soon, and am planning on creating a slipcover for an old much-loved sofa. I’m a bit intimidated by the sheer size of the project, but I think this has given me the chutzpah to give it a whirl!

  4. Debra says:

    Thanks for this tutorial!! I have been afriad to try it but after reading this I may have to try,

  5. Joan Gutierrez says:

    In my fantasies I have done this a million times. I wish had the guts to give this a whirl.

  6. jacquie says:

    i just might be able to tackle my wing chairs now. thanks!

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