This week's design story I am sharing how I gave my glider rocking chair a new look with handmade cushion covers. There is so much fun upholstery fabric to choose from at craft stores, you can give your glider chair a makeover! I just stuck with white giving my chair a classic new look that won't go out of style. I did not have a pattern to follow, so it took a little thinking, but the way I designed these covers makes the chair easy to clean and keeps them in place. I took as many pictures as I could to try and explain the process of making these cushions, but I should really say that it is not a beginner sewing project. Knowing the basics of sewing and using a machine is essential for this project.
This is my sewing machine. Nothing fancy. So, if you have just a basic machine you can do this. When sewing upholstery change your needle to a bigger size. Check your machine's User Manuel for the requirements. My machine is a Singer and I needed a 16 or 18 size needle for heavy upholstery or Jean material.
This chair Todd found for me on Craigslist for $35. We love designing and building furniture for our home, but we also love saving cheap beat up furniture that just needs some TLC. We bought it a few years ago, and it has been a favorite for rocking our kids to sleep. We re-glued an arm and stained it. The forest green cushions do not match our color scheme or taste so I picked out a lovely upholstery fabric I liked. Just plain white :) There really are so many cool floral patterns, but I tend to like plain neutral stuff. It has a matching footrest ottoman that I re-upholstered in the same fabric. Read about that project here ------------> Finished Stool
I started with the back cushion piece. I planned on making it with new loops at the top and Velcro opening at the bottom. I have found the best way to make covers is to cut the material right around the cushion. Following the shape and contours, it makes for a nice fit without having to do all the math of measuring. I always use a half inch in seam, so I cut a half inch out from the edge of the cushion all the way around. Fold the material right side together, lay on a flat surface ( I like the floor), place the cushion on top, and proceed to cut. You can measure a half inch out, if you want, all the way around and mark it with chalk or pencil, but I prefer to just eyeball it.
Next I pinned a hem at the bottom each of the two pieces. I sewed the hem, then laid the two pieces back on top of each other, right sides together, pinned the edges, and then sewed along the sides and across the top. Three separate straight seems following the contours of the material with half inch in-seam. When I sewed the top seam I did not start at the side stitching. I left a space in each corner. See I can stick my finger inside each corner of the top.
Ok, here is the back cushion sewn together, inside out still, with me holding open the hemmed opening. Now I will show you the loops that go in the top corner holes.
I cut a 1 inch by 6 inch rectangle of material, folded it in half and sewed along the non folded edge. I just left the both ends open. Next I turned them inside out using a crochet hook to help me push and pull the piece right side out. This was difficult. This step was frustrating, because I had to be careful not to snag or rip the material. It does take some serious pulling to get it pulled through. The piece on the right is turned all the way out.
Next bend the pieces into a loop and push them, ends first, through the holes you made in the corners of the cover. Cover should be inside out when you are doing this.
It should look like this. Now time to sew the loops in place. Sew from where the side seam ends over to where the top seam begins (dashed line). You will be sewing the corner shut, going over the loop ends and sewing them in place at the same time. When you turn the cover right side out it should look like this.
Now for the seat cover. I had to measure this time, because, I wanted the seam to run along the middle of the sides all around the cushion. I had to measure how thick my cushion was and then divide that number in half and add my inseam measurement. My cushion was 3 inches thick, divided in half that is 1.5 inches and plus my half inch inseam, that equals a total of two inches. So, I measured 2 inches out from the edge of the cushion, all the way around. I also wanted a hemmed Velcro opening on the backside. I cut 2 inches all around the cushion, but for the opening I cut the top piece differently than the bottom piece.
The top piece follows the curve of the cushion and the bottom piece has a rectangle flap that extends further. I pinned and sewed my half inch hem on the opening edges. Here are both pieces, the top first, ready for the machine.
After I sewed these hems, I was ready to pin the two pieces together (right sides of material together).
The two pieces are pinned and ready for the machine. See the differing hemmed edges of the opening?
Ok, with these pieces sewn together now, the moment of truth. Time to stuff the old cushions in and see if these covers work.
Yes it worked! Sitting pretty in my living room. It feels good to look at this chair now :) I just have to iron on the Velcro. If you know a little about sewing you can make these covers too. Let me know if you will give it a try. As always thanks for reading!
P.S. The painting above our chair is one of mine. Prints available through fineartamerica.com or you can purchase the original (straight out of my living room). Available here at my online store-------> Online Store