Directions for a Slipcover for a Chair With Wooden Arms

F.R.R. Mallory

Arm chairs with wooden arms often have wooden backs as well. A popular slipcover style for a chair with wooden arms is called a dressmaker style. This slipcover fits over the seat of the chair and it often has a skirt. The slipcover is fitted so that the cover accommodates the wooden arms and seat back. This maintains the original style of the chair while updating the seat fabric.

Arm chair with wooden arms and back
  1. Cut the muslin large enough to cover the seat of the chair plus 12 inches on each side. Place the muslin centered over the seat and use the marker to label it as the top of the chair seat. Pin folds or darts where needed.

  2. Trace the seam line of the existing chair cushion plus 1/2-inch seam allowance. Mark around the arms and back (adding the seam allowance) and cut and notch the fabric. Fit the muslin to the seat and pin it in position.

  3. Cut a 5-inch band of muslin that is long enough to wrap around the perimeter of the chair plus 12 inches. Your slip cover will have a closure at each corner. Measure the width of the back of the seat and add 2 inches. Cut this amount from your 5-inch band.

  4. Pin the top of the band with a 1/2-inch seam allowance to the back top of the seat muslin. Fold under each end of the band to be even with the corner of the back leg on each side.

  5. Turn the chair sideways. Measure the side width and add 3 inches. Cut this from the band. Start at the front leg corner. Fold the end under 1/2 inch. Pin along the top edge, joining the seat to the band. The end of the band will wrap around the back leg and use a hook and loop closure. This means the band will extend past the corner of the back leg at least 1 1/2 inches to allow for the end to be turned under 1/2-inch. Repeat for the other side.

  6. Fit the front band last. Measure the width and add 3 inches. Each end of the front band will wrap around the front leg to a closure on the side. Pin the seam allowances. Label each piece with a marker and make notes on the muslin where the hook and loop tape will be sewn.

  7. Determine the height of the skirt you want to attach below the band. Add 1 inch for seam allowances. A gathered skirt uses twice the perimeter of the chair. Cut fabric for the skirt. Gather the skirt fabric. Cut each section the width of the band (include seam allowances). Pin the gathered skirts to the bands. Label each piece. Unpin and use the muslin pieces as a pattern to cut out your pre-washed finished fabric.

  8. Sew the seat darts first. Attach the bands to the seat by placing right sides together and sewing 1/2-inch seams. Turn the band ends under and hem. Cut hook and loop tape closures to fit and sew to the corresponding areas of the bands (use the muslin pattern as a guide). Hem the skirts on three sides. Gather the tops of each skirt and sew the skirts to their corresponding bands using the seam allowances.