...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We have this chair in our master bedroom.

There’s nothing wrong with it exactly.  It has good lines, is comfortable, was inexpensive and has held up well over the last few years.  I think it could do better though.  Microfiber doesn’t exactly scream ‘sophisticated.’  I like the look of this Williams-Sonoma slipcovered armless chair

…but with a starting price of $1,150 {aye, aye, aye!} it’s way outta my price range.  So, instead of feeling bummed about my lack of finances {okay, maybe I’m a little bummed}, I see it as an opportunity.  An opportunity to upcycle my existing chair, finally use some clearance fabric I bought last year {surprise, it’s actually faulty curtain panels!}, break out my sewing machine and try something new.  That’s right, folks. For my next feat, I will attempt to make a slipcover by hand, from scratch.  Last year, I put together these ottoman slipcovers that disguise our board game storage.  Oddly enough, they were constructed from defective curtain panels, also.  Do you notice a pattern here?  I get cheap fabric in whatever form I can…curtains, sheets, duvets, etc.  So, back to my chair.  The ottoman slipcovers were quite easy since they’re basically perfect cubes. Measuring, cutting and sewing the square panels together was simple.  This slipper chair will probably be more difficult.  But I plan on using lots of straight pins and measuring obsessively before cutting. Plus, I won’t have to worry about any piping or fancy stitches…now, that would be crazy!  I’ve heard of people using muslin and even newspapers to make patterns for slipcovers, but I think I’ll just play it by ear with my fabric and see how it goes.  It’s pretty much a given that it’s not going to look as fab as the Williams-Sonoma inspiration chair.  Especially since my version has a loose back cushion.  But I’d rather put that $1,100 towards our debt.

I’ve got a teeny trick up my sleeve to give the handmade slipcover an added detail that’ll take it from ‘Obviously My First Slipcover’ to possibly ‘This Isn’t My First Rodeo Slipcover.’  {see image above for a hint}

So, that’s how most ideas are born over here.  I find my ideal thing, discover I can’t afford it, and then come up with a way to make a similar thing with less money and more work.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some sewing to do…after a healthy pep talk with myself.

images:  1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking  2) Williams-Sonoma Home 3) Williams-Sonoma Home via DecorPad 4) Eric Piasecki photography, Ashley Whittker design for House Beautiful

12 Comments

07.January.2011

I can’t wait to see how this turns out. I’ve been toying with the idea of covering chairs for our bedroom also…Gotta find the chairs first though! :-) Good luck!

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07.January.2011

You go, girl!!! I’m so excited to see what you do! I have a chair I would love to slipcover but haven’t gotten up the nerve yet. And kudos for throwing your $ @ debt instead of a new chair. We’re in the same stage right now…Sallie Mae is choking on all the payments we’re force-feeding her. :) By the way, I am sitting on my couch enjoying my very first Etsy pillow thanks to you! Got a fab all-white ruffle cushion from nerakson w/ the cutest ever button tab closure on the back. Thanks for posting your Etsy finds!!! I LOVE them.

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07.January.2011

Cant wait to see it! I have major plans for my recliner chairs… and a major lack of courage! Hopefully you will insire me!

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07.January.2011

How exciting! I recently sewed my first chair slipcover…It didn’t turn out perfect, but that just gives it more character…I love it! Good luck! :)

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07.January.2011

I’m looking forward to seeing this. I can do simple shapes like ottomans or wooden chair seats with no problem, but I reeeally want to do a wing chair. I need to find a super thrifty chair and fabric though in case the project goes horribly awry.

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08.January.2011

I can’t wait to see how your turn out! Giving chairs a fabric makeover is constantly on my mind but it just looks way more challenging than what I am ready for right now.

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08.January.2011

You can definitely do this! My Mom and I are in the middle of slipping a humongo sofa and we have verrrrry basic sewing skills! So far I’ve learned A LOT–I even sewed about 100 feet of welting and survived. And the cushions we’ve finished look great! Don’t be afraid! You can do it!

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08.January.2011

Can’t wait to hear how it turns out. Great project!

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10.January.2011

I hope you post what you do cuz I am working on one for an over-sized wing chair. Just trying to keep my dogs from destroying the original fabric. I am using drop clothes for fabric. So far have the cushion all pinned and ready to sew but I am sweating out how the corners will go together…where the sides meet the top, bottom and adjacent side – seems like there is probably a technique to piece it together ??????

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10.January.2011

That sounds like an awesome idea, and a great way to use what you already have!

So, if I may offer some suggestions, if you want it to look more like the Williams-Sonoma version? What if you were to attach some velcro to the separate back cushion, attaching it to the back of the chair, then wrapping the whole thing with some batting to smooth it out, and make your slipcover in the style of the other chairs – with a notch underneath the back cushion for the seat to fit into, but then you have a whole piece covering the back of the chair, and only a separate cover to sew for the seat cushion?

Maybe you’ve already thought of that, but I just wanted to throw in my $0.02 :) I’ve been getting lots of inspiration from your blog on how to make things look good on a budget, so thank you for that!

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10.January.2011

This will be fun to see how it all works out. Great blog just discovered it!

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02.March.2011

Your train of thought regarding slipcovers are identical to mine! Good luck with yours…I just finished my DIY slipcover last week (because the ones I loved were way too expensive!). Please check it out…it only cost $24!
http://decoratingdiy.blogspot.com/2011/03/let-me-slipcover-into-something-little.html

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