Sewing for the Home ~ Sewing a Slipcover (Part Three)

on September 16 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 55 Comments

This is Part Three maevedragon‘s tutorial. For everything you need to know about sewing your chair slipcover, you can find her advice below. Learn about drafting a slipcover in Part One and draping a slipcover in Part Two.

Sewing The Slipcover
Use your muslin pieces as you would any regular pattern pieces. If any of your pattern pieces are deficient in the 1″ seam allowance, you can add that onto the upholstery fabric before cutting (just measure 1″ from the masking tape on the pattern piece pinned to the upholstery fabric and mark with a fabric pencil or pin).

Keep in mind that the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST, INSIDE WING, and INSIDE ARMREST pattern pieces must have 2 pieces of the upholstery fabric cut out and that they must be mirror pieces (a right and a left). The easiest way to do this is to fold your upholstery cloth in half with either wrong or right sides facing each other, align your pattern piece on top (not along a fold), and cut around the entire pattern piece.

Align the OUTSIDE BACK, INSIDE BACK, and SEAT pieces along a fold line, and then cut.

Align the edges of your OUTSIDE BACK and OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST pieces.

Repeat for other side.

I’m using a light upholstery weight fabric, so I’ve put in a new 90/14 universal sewing needle for the seaming of the slipcover.


Set the seam guide to 3/4″ and sew along the entire edge of the OUTSIDE BACK and OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST. Repeat for the other side.

Fold INSIDE WING darts in half and pin.

Sew from the outer edge to the point of the dart. Leave long ends on the thread.

Tie a knot in the thread at the point of the dart.

Repeat for all of the darts on both INSIDE WING pieces.

Align INSIDE WING with darts to the edge of the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST piece and pin. Sew at 3/4″ seam.

Align the front corner of the INSIDE ARMREST so that side A and side B are even (on the paper pattern, this was marked “tuck”; I’ve instead chosen to cut out the extra cloth and create a seam here). Pin and sew at 3/4″ seam.

Carefully align and pin the INSIDE ARMREST to the OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST. Start at the front corner where the “knob” of sorts is on the armrest (hint: you just created a seam for it), and work your way back and down from there.

Continue pinning through the INSIDE WING and INSIDE ARMREST seam.

Sew a 3/4″ seam, stopping 1″ or so from the intersection of the INSIDE ARMREST, INSIDE WING, and OUTSIDE WING/ARMREST. This will hopefully allow you to adjust the intersection as necessary to create a flat fitted look; just be sure to keep cloth well pinned while you work on the other seams.

I had to fiddle and redo this section a lot to get a fit that I was satisfied with.

Removing stitches.

Pinning once again.

I also adjusted the fit of the knob at the end of the armrest. You can easily do this by pinning and doing a slip stitch in a matching thread or by pinning, marking the adjusted seam line along those pins, and sewing along the new seam line with your sewing machine.


Transfer any new markings from the INSIDE WING and INSIDE ARMREST to their respective counterparts. Pin and sew as before.

Align, pin, and sew 1/2″ seams the INSIDE BACK piece to the OUTSIDE BACK, INSIDE WING, AND INSIDE ARMREST pieces.

Align the back edge of the SEAT piece to the bottom edge of the INSIDE BACK piece and pin. Sew 1/2″ seams.

Check the fit, making sure to tuck the extra cloth into the creases.

Test the corner treatment to see if it will still work with the upholstery cloth.

I discovered some excess cloth, so it gets pinned for hemming.

Set your sewing machine to its longest straight stitch and run a basting line 1/2″ from the lower front edge of the SEAT piece.

Fold at basting line and pin.

If you have a topstitch needle for your sewing machine, replace your universal needle with it now.

Topstitch 1/4″ from the edge of the cloth, including the excess part that you folded over and pinned.

Trim the excess off (I used pinking shears).

Replace slipcover onto chair and align front corners to where you want the closure to be. Mark with a fabric pencil.

Add closures where indicated by marks (buttons).

Pin the seat corners to their appropriate places and proceed to pin the hem. Sew 1/4″ seam.

Add closures (elastic).

Final adjustments using the slipstitch.

Top view.

The finished slipcover.

Side view.

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55 Responses to Sewing for the Home ~ Sewing a Slipcover (Part Three)

  1. Bujo says:

    Thank you for this great friendly tutorial! I’ve been looking everywhere for an instruction to help me reupholster a chair I found on craigslist, and this is it!

    It’s would be great if you can tell me approximately how many yards of fabric I might need to do this project? I bought some fabric to do a window curtain in the past, and the whole piece shrunk on me after a wash. Hopefully I got it right this time!

    Thank you!

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial.

    I have inherited a pair of wing chairs that I love and would like to try my hand at slipcovers for them.

    I have 2 questions for you:

    1. I notice you did not do a separate cover for the cushion, but rather left the cushion on the chair. Is there any particular reason for this?

    2. I do not want to have a skirt on the cover for the wing chair as I think that spoils the look. I have wondered, though, if without a skit, does the slipcover fabric ride up at the bottom of the chair, revealing the old fabric?

    Thanks again for the tutorial.


  3. Elizabeth says:

    Wow! I feel like I can do this now…My southern grandmother had linen slip-covers for all of her living room furniture. I loved to watch the changing of the seasons with the changing of the slip-covers. Now I can do it too!

  4. Ellen says:

    What an awesome task you’ve undertaken in documenting your slipcover project! That information is so valuable to those of us home dec sewers who learn best by pictures! Thank you ever so much! Please stop by and visit us at:


  5. naoko says:

    Thank you for this tutorial!
    I’ve reupholstered (actually not finished yet) a chair in white fabric (it was a cool idea at the time…) and have been dreading figuring out how to make a snug cover.
    Thanks again!

  6. This is an amazing tutorial! I’ve always wondered how to do semi-custom slip covers and you just explained it in three articles. Thanks so much!

  7. melissa garcia says:

    thank you for this series–it was so informative. i think that it was just what i needed to move forward with making slip covers for my kitchen chairs.

  8. mattie says:

    I am just about to endeavor on making a slipcover for my queen anne style sofa. Your tutorial is great and will help me so much. Thanks.

  9. Roxanne says:

    I am so excited to put this to use! Thanks for being so thorough, hopefully it will prevent me from blundering my way too badly through it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Great tutorial!!

  11. Mikaiya says:

    What an amazing re-do of that old chair!

    I’m glad it’s being put to good use ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Suzette says:

    I am planning on slipcovering my sofa so it was really great to see all your steps

  13. Brooke says:

    This was so helpful. I think I will go get started now.

  14. Ema says:

    Thanks for this great tutorial. I hope to do this someday.

  15. quenna says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Wow, that looks amazing!

  17. Ms. Cleaver says:

    We just bought a wingback chair that needs a little upholstery work, this will come in hand when we get the time to work on it!

  18. Amanda says:

    I’m sure this will probably come in handy! I’m a thrifstore girl and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of things to sew slipcovers for and yours look so neat and tidy, unlike some of those slipcovers you buy at a store!

  19. Colleen says:

    This is a really helpful tutorial. I like the custom fitting slipcovers much better than ones designed for any chair, that you have to keep tucking in and re-tying. Thanks!

  20. Vanessa says:

    Thanks for the tutorial. My chairs in my kitchen are first!

  21. Christine says:

    WOW! what a beautiful tute! This will help push me over the edge to finish upholstering my ottoman (sheesh,’s just an ottoman..not a chair!).

    I hope to win some fabric!!

  22. Caroline says:

    Wow. I could have used this tutorial about three months ago! What a life-saver!

  23. EmmyLizzy says:

    Wow-that turned out great!!

  24. Tricia says:

    Fantastic! I plan to tackle a couch soon.

  25. Sue says:

    This is wonderful. I have plans, many plans.

  26. Ellen says:

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I now have the “courage” to try it on an old chair.

  27. wendy says:

    Thanks! This no longer seems as intimidating as it used to ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. LaLa says:

    WOW! This makes it look easy enough for me to try! THANKS!!! I love SMS!!!

  29. Annie says:

    Wow, this turned out really great! I have a small chair I need to recover, thanks for all the info!

  30. Ruby says:

    Thank you for the tutorial! This is exactly what I need to do to cover my heinous neon orange burlap chair (so, so itchy…). Another thanks for including the entire process, adjustments and all. I appreciate knowing what I may expect for this project.

  31. lauren says:

    What a great tutorial! Thank you for tackling this project.

  32. Karie says:

    How COOL! I have the perfect chair to try this out with, now all I have to do is find the time…

  33. Toby says:

    I’m sooo glad you did this! I’ve had a chair I’ve been wanting to cover for almost 2 years and this will help me FINALLY do it!! THANK YOU!!

  34. Alissa says:

    This is so great! I will completely use this!! Thank you thank you for all these great “for the home” tutorials!

  35. leslie says:

    i have a living room full of furniture that needs to be re-covered. I hope that i can make this work to help me get the job done. Thanks for the great instructions

  36. Kerri says:

    Wow. Where was this when I was redoing a love seat + chair years ago? ๐Ÿ™‚ My arms were worn out; wish I’d had a little table like quilters use nowadays. Thank you for the tute!

  37. erica says:

    That’s beautiful fabric. Can I please get the details on that stuff?

  38. Lucinda says:

    Thanks so much for these posts. I have a project I have wanted to slipcover for quite some time but I’ve been a little nervous about it. Now, thanks to your help, I think I’m ready!!!

  39. Monica says:

    I have a chair that I’d love to slip cover someday – thanks for the tutorial! And, please enter me in Free Fabric Friday!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Joanna says:

    This is an awesome tutorial – I am just waiting to find that “perfect” chair at a yard sale or thrift store. It’s there just waiting for me to find it – I know it! lol!!

  41. Katie says:

    I love slipcovers. I’m glad there’s this series of 3 to help. Can we get a tutorial for a sofa next?

  42. Julia in MI says:

    Thank you for posting this series. I really want to make a fitted slip cover for my couch. Now I have the help and confidence to do it. Love this whole month of Sewing for the Home.

  43. Sarah Lemmon says:

    I have been wanting to do this for years! I’m so excited. Thank you!!

  44. jessi m says:

    great tutorial! your chair looks wonderful. thanks for the how-to & inspiration!

  45. Celeste says:

    I’m really excited about this tutorial–time to get started!

  46. Rebecca says:

    Great tutorial! Maybe now I’ll work up the nerve to recover my own chair!

  47. Lindsay says:

    I wish i had a neat chair like this to make a slip cover for!!

  48. Meseide says:

    I really love your tutorial. Iร‚ยดve got an old chair which isnร‚ยดt espescially beautiful anymore. Maybe now Iร‚ยดm going to try it myself..

  49. I have so many projects like this to do in my house. Your instructions will really help so much. Thank you!

  50. Kerry says:

    This turned out beautifully!

  51. Rita says:

    I’m so impressed by this, it’s so ambitious! I’m now regretting that we got rid of our old couch set and chair…I think.

  52. Great tutorial. Thanks for posting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Sara G says:

    Will this technique work for a sectional sofa?? Mine is a mess and I can’t find a slip cover anywhere!!!! HELP!

  54. Kristena says:

    Another great tutorial! I’m really diggin’ this month at SMS. A lot.

  55. jean says:

    That’s great! I like how you showed your errors and how you corrected them. This makes it easy to understand what I should avoid or how to fix it if I repeat the same error. Thanks for this great post!

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