A New Slipcover for a Cat-Worn Chair

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This is our poor, sad chair.  The chair I saw at a thrift store in perfect condition and had to have because it was 1) the right size, 2) the right style and 3) the perfect combination of colors to match the living room rug.  It’s a great chair except that it is the cats’ #1 object to scratch in the house.  And no matter how many times we reprimand them, it only teaches them not to scratch it when we’re in the room.  And no matter how many scratching posts we put next to it, they still want to rip it to shreds.  This lovely chair has been covered in all manner of clothes – sheets, afghans, bedspreads, etc., for the last few years but none large enough to cover the whole thing and keep the cats out.

Then this year we decided to host Christmas and I said, “That’s it!” This chair is an eye sore and it doesn’t deserve a place in our Christmas living room without a new cover.  I went on a search for internet tutorials.  And this was the winning blog post that felt right.

The next step was procuring fabric. I looked at my local fabric stores, but really couldn’t find a patterned fabric that matched the color scheme in the living room and wasn’t a texture I thought the cats would have a heyday with and didn’t cost a bundle (I’m cheap).  So I ventured to the south part of town and the Pacific Fabrics Outlet.  I decided on a simple brown duck fabric. It’s essentially the same material as the curtains, which they leave alone.

While at the fabric store, I happened to see a book on creating slip covers, The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers: Transform Your Furniture with Fitted or Casual Covers. I flipped through it, mostly trying to figure out what kind of fabric to buy.  The one thing I saw that was super useful were pictures of the pattern pieces being made.  If you look at the blog tutorial, you can see that she used large sheets of  throw away fabric to create pattern pieces for each section of the chair plus seam allowance. The one tip I learned from the book, “The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers”, was to use some kind of marking pencil or pen to draw lines along the edges of each piece so you know exactly where the 1″ seam allowance should go. This one tip saved me! I would have slaved hopelessly for hours if I had cut loosely around the edges of eyeballed pattern pieces. For anyone wanting a solid slipcover, get this book!

I learned that handy tip after I had already cut large, sloppy pattern pieces, so I went home and pinned each piece tightly to the chair (which made them much easier to work with) and used a pen to mark the edge of each panel.  Then I was able to cut a perfect 1″ seam allowance around each piece (more like 3-4″ for the bottom edge of the chair).  This to me was more accurate than just using pins to mark seams. I tend to be a little sloppy and don’t always pin straight or in the exact right spot and some corners were really tight so the pen helped me be even more accurate in my  pattern pieces than pinning and cutting.

Once the pattern pieces were tidied up, I cut out all the fabric pieces.  And here’s where  a little miracle happened.  I didn’t think to measure the pattern pieces before going to the fabric store.  I instead eye-balled the fabric to 4 yards (don’t try this at home). Turns out it was the PERFECT amount. Only small problem was that the fabric got extra worn in a couple of places and because I wasn’t in my entire right mind and didn’t have extra fabric, they’re in visible locations, but a simple afghan throw covers a multitude of sins.

Once I had cut, sewn, and fit the cover to my chair inside out, I hemmed the bottom edge to 1″ below the upholstered fabric, just to allow a little lift so nothing was revealed when someone sat in it.

And, without further ado, here is my masterpiece!

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No longer the scratching post and just in time for Christmas!  Well, except for that one time I caught one of the cats mid-scratch, but so far it hasn’t left a mark.  Here’s hoping!!

This took me one day of sewing to complete.

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