Easy DIY Slipcovers
Cool fact about my BFF: She's a chef. Pretty much anytime there's a gathering at her house, she goes all out with the food. I always offer to help, but if there's nothing for me to do, I'll sit in the kitchen and keep her company while she works. But recently, my favorite spot disappeared - the counter-height barstools in the kitchen fell apart and were regulated to furniture heaven. This was unacceptable to me.
Now, I'm not really sure if my friend wanted new barstools. She and her husband seemed perfectly okay barstool-less. But they didn't protest when I offered to add barstools to my project calendar, and I wanted my favorite spot back, so here we are.
Lucky for me, I found a pair of barstools at my local Habitat Restore for $10 each. Honestly, they're a little too-nice; I really struggled in the beginning with what to do with them. The leather was high quality, the finish was a little worn, but not terrible... basically, I was truly afraid I'd make them worse.
So I decided to make slipcovers for them instead of doing anything major. My friend has a toddler and another daughter on the way; washable slipcovers seemed to be the way to go. And if they move or prefer the original style of the chair sometime, they can just take the slipcover off. Win-win.
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DIY Barstool Slipcovers
- 9' x 12' Dropcloth - I washed (but didn't bleach) this before I started working. Each dropcloth will make slipcovers for three chairs. Look for 100% cotton dropcloths with no seam in the middle. I purchased mine at Harbor Freight, but they have at least three different dropcloth manufacturers, and one of them does put a seam in the middle. If you can find Item Number 38109, that version is 100% cotton and doesn't have a seam.
- General Sewing Supplies (Thread, pins, scissors, machine, etc.) - I have this sewing machine, and it is easiest thing to use... which is good, because I am not that good with sewing machines. If you're looking for a good beginner machine, check it out.
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Step 1: Cut Out Fabric
Start by cutting a 10" strip of fabric off the edge of the long side. Meaning: You should have a 12' long strip that's hemmed on three sides.
Do this on the other end of the fabric as well, so that you have two 10" wide, 12' long strips. We'll use these later to make the decorative knots.
Then fold the fabric into thirds and cut. I didn't measure here - each third is more than enough to cover one chair.
Finally, lay your fabric (now 1/3 of the total dropcloth) out on the chair. If your fabric has a "right side," that should be facing the chair. Make sure everything is fully covered with extra fabric to spare, then cut the fabric between the back and the seat of the chair.
Step 2: Make Back of Slipcover
Pull the fabric taut at the sides of the back of the chair, and pin in place, right sides together. In fact, every stitch you make in the project is right sides together, so I'm going to stop saying it.
Once both sides of the chair have been pinned, sew. I tested the fit of after the first side was sewn, but never had to do any adjusting. Also, as you can see in the photo above, I had a ton of extra fabric; I trimmed it before I sewed.
Step 3: Attach Seat to Back
Pin the seat fabric to the base of the back fabric.
Because the sides of the seat need to go a couple inches further back to reach the back of the chair, you'll have some extra fabric at the crease area between the back and the seat of the chair. That's okay, just trim it off after everything is pinned. Here's a closeup of the side area so you can see exactly how everything comes together:
Sew in place. This was the hardest part for me, but I just did my best (and I am NOT an expert seamstress) and it all worked out.
Step 4: Finish Seat
Make the corners of the front of the chair by pinning the excess fabric together. Then cut off the extra fabric and sew along the pin line.
Once the corners are done, fold up the bottom of the four sides of the slipcover, and hem.
The bottom of the slipcover isn't hemmed in the above photo, but you get the idea. At this point, the main part of the slipcover is done. I trimmed any excess fabric off so that there was only a 1/2" or so extra at all of the seams, then turned the slipcover so that it was right side out.
Step 5: Make the Knots
Take the strips of fabric you cut at the beginning of the project, and knot them around the chair to determine how long your knot fabric should be. I didn't measure mine (theme of this project, apparently,) but each knot used about half the length of one of the strips.
I also cut down the width of the strip to about 6.5 inches at this point as well. I originally cut 10 inches off of the main fabric just to be safe, but I liked the look of the 6.5" strip. Go with what looks best to you based on your chair.
Finally, cut your strip to the correct length, then pin and hem any loose sides.
Knot the strip around your chair, and enjoy your new slipcovers!
So, as I mentioned above, these are actually barstools, but they were easier to photograph in the dining room, so just ignore the fact that they're way too tall for this table.
I love the simplicity of the knot on the back of the chair. Which is good, since the back is what's seen, given that the front of the chair is mostly covered by the counter anyway.. That said, the front looks nice too.
Overall, I am so pleased with how they turned out! And if you were wondering, I got to test out the new barstools on New Years Eve, and yes, they're the perfect thing for chatting with my BFF while she hustles around the kitchen. If you like these simple DIY slipcovers, be sure to save them to Pinterest so you can find them again later! And if you make them yourself, let me know how it goes in the comments below!