Tutorial: Ikea Dining Room Chair Covers
- Two Ikea chair covers (one you will rip apart and one you will keep together to use as a guide)
- Sewing machine
- Roughly 2 yards fabric per chair (this depends on the pattern of the fabric. The first time I did this my pattern did not need matching so I used a lot less fabric. This time my pattern required some careful placement and required extra. I always shoot for more fabric then I need in the event I make a mistake. The extra fabric can always be made into pillows or place mats, etc.)
- Scissors & pinking shears
- Fray Check
- Washable marker
- Seam ripper
- Permanent marker
- Iron & Ironing board
Using your seam ripper, carefully take apart one of the Ikea chair covers. Take care to label what each piece is and to note the top and bottom. I did not rip the Velcro off each piece so I made notes to add a 1/2 inch to each of these places. Pictured above are the 5 seat pieces. There are also 2 upper pieces meaning when you are done there should be 7 labeled pieces. This will serve as your pattern.
You will need a large spot to cut the new covers out. I put the two extra leaves in our dining room table and then protected the top with some cardboard. Spread your new fabric out and carefully position and pin your pattern pieces down. I have learned that you can’t really over pin. The first time I made covers my fabric did not require any attention to pattern. This time, though, I had to use care in how I positioned my pieces. Take your time and think carefully about how the top pieces connect to one another. Look at your second Ikea cover (the one that you did not rip apart) for guidance.
Once pinned in place, take your fabric marker and mark any spots where you need to add a 1/2 seam allowance. Then carefully cut your pieces out.
If you are doing several covers at once, label each set by writing the name of the piece (Upper Front) and the chair number (#1) on scraps of paper and pinning them to the center of each piece. This way you will make sure your all the No. 1 pieces that you carefully cut to match end up together. I also noted the top and bottom of each piece since I was doing my cutting two weeks before I would get to sew.
Before you start sewing, take a look at how your chairs are holding up. Our cats relentlessly claw the furniture (hence making new covers all the time). Over the past three years they had also started to claw up the chair base and I didn’t want it to get any worse. I always keep a roll of white duct tape in my craft drawer (seriously, this stuff is fantastic!) and used that to carefully reinforce the chair. This also makes it easier for your new covers to slip on and off. .
Take the upper front and upper back pieces and carefully pin them right side in around the chair. I pinned right at 1/2 inch . Again, take your time and make sure everything lines up as it should. Don’t be stingy with your pins either.
When you are done pinning it should look like this. Carefully remove it from the chair and then stitch the two pieces together leaving a 1/2 seam allowance. Go slowly when sewing the curved portions.
Turn the cover right side out and slip it on the chair to check fit. If it fits to your liking turn the cover back inside-out and reinforce your seams with a zigzag stitch along the seam allowance.
Once your seam are reinforced with a zigzag, slip the cover back on the chair, inside-out. Carefully apply Fray Check to your seams to prevent further fraying. This takes a little extra time but will help your covers last longer.
Alternatively, if you have a serger, you can skip this step and instead serge the edges of each piece. I am not so lucky to have a serger so Fray Check it is!
Allow your Fray Check to dry while you sew the chair seat.
The seat part of the chair cover includes four pieces: the seat top (where you put your rump), the two seat sides, the seat front and the inner flap.
Take your seat front panel and your two seat side panels. Carefully pin each side panel to the front. Stitch with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Reinforce each stitch with a zigzag stitch along the seam allowance.
Just like with the top, carefully pin the seat top to the now stitched together seat front/sides with inside-out using the chair as your base. Again, don’t be stingy with your pins.
Press and pin a narrow 1/4 inch hem around the curves where each front chair leg stands. Stitch in place.
Pause to visit your helpers. Yum Yum loves to hang out while I sew.
Velcro will line the bottoms of the seat front and sides and hold the cover in place. Pin and stitch a half-inch seam along each edge where you will later sew the velcro. Take a few minutes to look at your still-in-tact cover for guidance.
While the Fray Check dries stitch laundering instructions into the “flap.” Most drapery/upholstery fabrics will have laundering instructions printed along the selvage. I like to clip this out with my pinking sheers and then stitch it inside so I do not forget. The chair flap is the perfect place to do this since it is a 100% internal piece.
This next step I failed to photograph. Take your nicely sewn chair back and seat cover and your “flap.” and pin them together. Make sure your flap is pointed so it will come out under the chair cover, not on top. I did this wrong both times, actually, and went to fit my chair cover just to find that the flap was sticking out from between the seat back and bottom like an ugly tongue!
Carefully sew your main pieces together, and then do one final fitting. If you like what you see, check the edges around the chair legs and make sure none of them need a final hem.
Finally, pin the soft side of your velcro to the front and both sides of the chair bottom. I purchased 1/4 inch velcro but ended up cutting it down a bit so it fit more neatly on my seam. Personal preference, though. Also stitch a strip of velcro to your flap. You might need to pop the cover on one last time to make sure you get it on the correct side of the flap.
Voila! One beautiful chair cover that will make your Ikea chairs look less like cheap Swedish furniture and more like custom designer pieces! I spent one afternoon cutting out the chair covers and then one afternoon per chair sewing them for a total of three afternoons. I think that doing more than two would actually speed up the process and you could run it in an assembly line fashion and probably crank a lot more out.