The holidays are coming. Maybe your family is, too. Maybe some friends. In any case, if you’re hosting a big meal this season, you’ll likely need a lot of seating.
Perhaps your dining chairs have seen better days. Or you had to pick up some at a garage sale that don’t match the others just so you would have enough.
There’s an easy fix for all of this, assuming you have the fairly standard wooden chairs with a removable seat: re-cover them.
A co-worker of mine asked me to make new covers for her kitchen stools out of scraps she had of other fabrics that coordinate with her décor. It was a fun challenge to work the small-ish scraps into pieces big enough to cover the whole seats, and I came up with a solution that both of us liked.
- Scissors/rotary cutter
- Sewing machine
- Screwdriver or drill
- Staple gun and staples
- Measure the seats and trace the shape onto a large piece of paper. I used newspaper, of course. Keep the shape in mind when making the cover — on most chairs, one end is wider than the other. You’ll need to have sufficient fabric to wrap underneath on all sides.
- Play with the scraps until you find a pattern that works. What I ended up with was not my original idea. For these, I cut the yellow floral scraps into strips and arranged them horizontally down the center and used the blue fabric vertically along the sides. The two seats aren’t exactly alike — the strips are arranged in different patterns — but the look is cohesive.
- Sew the pieces together as you’ve arranged them, using a 1/4-inch seam. With the iron, press the seams to one side on the wrong side of the patchwork. They don’t all have to be pressed the same direction; usually you press them toward the darker fabric, if there is one.
- Once the covers are ready to go, take the seat off the chair: Turn the chair upside down and take out the screws attaching the seat using a screwdriver or a drill with screwdriver bit.
- Lay the cover right-side down on your work surface. Lay the seat right-side down on top of the cover. Carefully stretch the fabric around the seat. Staple once in the center of each side to hold the fabric; then go around the sides, stapling the fabric all around.
- When finished stapling, put the chair upside down on top of the upside-down cover and screw the cover back on. Turn the chair right-side up and take a load off.
If you want to use just one piece of fabric for each cover rather than a patchwork piece: measure the seat and cut out the fabric, leaving overhang on all sides to attach it, then skip to Step 4.