Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slipper Chair Slip Covers

My re-upholstery skills and leftover love seat fabric were put to use again. This time my goal was to re-cover two slipper chairs in our living room.

We purchased them online from Target.com about a year ago. I did quite a bit of shopping around, looking for a pair of neutral colored chairs of this shape and size that were affordable. The on-line images sold me. I couldn't wait for these chairs to arrive! They were stylish, would be a great addition to our decor and would provide additional flexible seating.
This is the close up online image of the fabric, which I had to make a decision based on. It was hard to tell exactly what it would be like. 
Looking back, I wish I had seen the chairs in person before purchasing. They were a hassle to assemble, I wasn't crazy about the fabric and they could use some more padding. But, lesson learned. I still like the look of them. 

Photo from Young House Love
They're actually the same chairs Jon and Sherry from Young House Love have. I didn't realize this until after I got them. I must have good taste :)

Unfortunately, our cats loved them too. By love them, I mean they clawed them to the point of ruining them. I was furious! It was literally a daily battle of trying to keep the furballs off of the chairs. They couldn't get enough of the beige polyester blend! I was beginning to think the chairs were stuffed with catnip. Seriously, some kind of cruel joke! Here's a look at the damage. Chancho owes me $300. I'm still waiting for a check.
When it got so bad that I had to do something about it, I got out the tan fabric  I used to cover the love seat and went to work.

I cut and pinned fabric to the entire chair, inside out, using the current shapes and seams as a guide. Many, many pins along every seam. I made sure the pins were pretty snug so that I could sew a little inside the pins to have a great fit.

I left a generous amount of extra fabric to be trimmed off later and allow for adjustments.

I made sure the bottom edge was even all the way around and would hang down a little lower than the original upholstery to cover everything. The tricky part was sewing each edge carefully on my sewing machine. It felt like a puzzle. The rounded tops of the chairs were the most difficult part. When I was done sewing, I turned it right-side out, and slipped it on the chair (with some tugging and tucking).

I did not sew the "crack" of the chair where the seat back meets the seat (I don't know else to describe that). I left enough fabric to tuck down into the seat crack. That meant I couldn't sew completely down the sides. I'm a pretty good guesser, so it worked out, thankfully. Sometimes my lack of measuring doesn't always work out in my favor. This time it did. 

Here's a look at the before:
And the new cover after:
I like the darker tan fabric a lot better. Especially the fact that it's smooth and the cats don't sink their claws into it! 

I feel like I have my new chairs back! Even if this new fabric doesn't hold up forever, I can always re-cover them again with something else, now that I know how to do it. It took about 2.5 hours for each chair. Not bad. What do you think? I'm pretty proud of myself for covering them. I like the way the look now ever better! 

How about you? Saved any furniture lately? Any pets ruined your stuff? I want to hear your stories!


  1. Hi Sarah! Found you by Googling about those Target slipper chairs. You've done a GREAT job with yours. :)

    I have a set, as well, that I got off Craigslist. I originally wanted much whiter chairs, so I was a little disappointed, but they turned out to look really good against our turquoise walls. Now that I'm painting (again), they look dingy against the greige color ... I am thinking of making slipcovers for them and was scared to attempt the task. This gives me a good base to work with! Thanks! Definitely bookmarking this post for future reference.

  2. Hi Andrea! Nice to meet you! I'm so glad my post could be of some help to you. It was a bit of a challenge, mostly where the seat meets the back of the chair. I would recommend making them a little on the snug side because they tend to "get loose" over time. I'd also suggest using a medium to heavy-weight fabric. Less wrinkles and movement when sat upon. Best of luck with your slipcovers! I would love to see them when you're done.

  3. Hmmmm. looks great!! I'm NOT as talented as you and am looking to buy one of these slipcovers for basically the same chair. know anyone who sells them? You should totally make these for sale!!!

  4. I just found your post while looking to make slip covers for the same chair! I bought it at Target (b/c John and Sherry have it) and hate it! But... the cat loves it :( It's the first thing I've ever had my cat scratch. Too funny?! You can see it here:


    Your chairs turned out great. I was thinking of stuffing the material down the 'crack' too - glad to see it worked out!!

  5. Can you tell me how much yardage you used! This was a great step by step! Thanks!

    1. Hi Sarah! I am horrible at measuring, but I would say I used about 4 1/2 - 5 yards of fabric, per chair, just to be safe (give or take). I would love to see photos if you're giving this a try!

  6. I am so jealous of your sewing skills. I really want to try this. I have the same chairs in turquoise aviary for three years now. They've actually held up really well but in our new house I'm just sick of that print. I really want to tackle this now!


  7. I'm so happy you shared your experience of covering these chairs! I bought a couple of these slipper chairs at Target too and I'm tired of the pattern. I just want something plain and neutral so I can use pillows and throws for color. After reading your blog, I'm giving it a go! Thanks!

  8. Hi, Sarah! Many thanks for this great post - the tips and pictures are very helpful. I have the exact same chairs, two cats, and... well, you get the idea. (I happen to agree with your suspicion that the chairs were laced with catnip.) As soon as I find the right fabric, I'll be tackling this project. Can't wait!

  9. Ok, I have a slipper chair and cannot sew! do you know where I can buy them?

    1. I haven't shopped for them in a while, but I would check online at Target, Pottery Barn and Bed Bath & Beyond. Good luck in your search!

  10. Hello - you say your cats do not get their claws into the new fabric on the chairs you reupholstered? What type of fabric is the new kind? We also have cats who want to scratch my slipper chair, so I'm thinking of making a cover like you did here, and I want to make sure the new fabric is as cat-proof as can be ... though that's pretty hard to find.

    1. Hi Elizabeth! The fabric I purchased at Jo-ann Fabrics was a lightweight canvas type material. I wanted something with little to no "weave" that my cats wouldn't try to claw. One cat still occasionally tries to scratch the new fabric, but not nearly as bad as the original material. I have found that microfiber/soft fabrics are less attractive for scratching. I would avoid anything with a visible weave. Good luck with your chair! I hope you have success.


Thank you!