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Noel Home: Classic Chair Back Covers

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Ah! Pity the naked chair. Everyone comes to the dinner table in their holiday finery and the chair pulls up without a stitch on. An elegant cover not only avoids embarrassment for your mild-mannered chair, it doubles the decorative charm of the entire room. And really... why should the table have all the fun? Our festive cover features an accent 'collar' with pretty dangling pom-poms. It's what all the best-dressed chairs are wearing this season.

Our chair cover design works best on a chair with a straight back and top. If your chair has short little posts, you can try our little 'tape trick' shown below: simply stretch a couple pieces of painters tape across to create a level top.

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Working with a curved-top chair is a whole different project. If you are more advanced and clever with patterns, I'm sure you could retrofit our plain rectangle design to create a curved top. But for our quick and easy covers, we're going to stick to the 'straight and narrow.'

If you decide to use velvet for your covers as we did, we recommend using a roller foot or walking foot to help keep the shifting layers in line. Our Janome Memory Craft Horizon has AcuFeed™, which is like a built-in walking foot. Love that!

Our thanks to our friends at Moda Fabrics for providing all the French General Lumiere de Noel fabric as well as our selected velvets. You can find the gorgeous Lumiere de Noel fabric in stores and online now, including at Fat Quarter Shop.

The yardages shown below are for TWO chair covers to fit our sample chairs.

We show you below how we measured to come up with our dimensions. Just follow these steps to measure your chairs. Your yardage may need to be slightly more or less depending on your chair size, and how many chairs you need to dress.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for cover fronts: we used Lumiere de Noel by French General for Moda Fabrics in Red Dobby Dot
  • ½ yard of 44-45" wide fabric for print triangles: we used Lumiere de Noel by French General for Moda Fabrics in Floral Christmas Tournesal White
  • 1 yard of 44-45" wide fabric for cover backs: we used a cotton velvet by Moda Fabrics in Burgundy
  • Four approximately 2½" pom-poms
    NOTE: We made our own using a
  • 1 yard lightweight fusible interfacing
  • All purpose thread: we used deep red
  • Large piece (apx. 18" x 22") of pattern or tracing paper
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen, pencil or chalk
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pressing cloth
  • Yarn needle
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Measure the WIDTH of the back of your chair. Ours was 16".
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  2. Measure the depth of the chair back frame. Ours was 1¼". Add this to your width measurement. In our sample, we are now up to 17¼". 
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    NOTE: You only need to add the depth once, even though you have two sides. Why? Because... you want the side seam of the cover to go straight down the middle on the side of the chair. So, that's half the full depth on one side and half on the other side. Which means... just one full depth in the equation.
  3. Then add a ½" seam allowance for each side or 1" total. In our sample, that means a final width total of 18¼".
  4. We wanted the LENGTH of our chair cover to be 15". This was about half way down the back of our chair. Adjust for your chair as you see fit. To the length measurement, add ½" for the top seam and 1" for the bottom hem. For our chair, we now have 15" + ½" + 1" = 16½".
  5. From the fabric for the front (Dobby Dot in our sample), cut TWO pieces 18¼" x 16½".
  6. From the fabric for the back (velvet in our sample) cut TWO identical pieces 18¼" x 16½".
  7. For each accent triangle (Floral Christmas in our sample), you need a square of fabric whose diagonal measurement is the same as the width of your cut chair fabric, plus one inch for the seam allowance. In our sample, that would be 18¼ + 1 = 19¼". And you want to fussy cut the fabric so your accent triangle has a nicely centered pattern.
  8. This is where the pattern or tracing paper comes in. We are going to make a square pattern with the correct diagonal. To do this with math you need to square things and then take the square root of other things... needless to say, when my much-smarter-when-it-comes-to-math partner tried to explain it to me, my eyes glazed over. So, I came up with this little paper pattern idea instead.
  9. Take an approximately 18" x 22" piece of paper. This should be a piece of paper with exactly-square corners; don't just rip up the newspaper.
  10. Fold up the bottom right corner until the edges of the paper align along the left edge. You've made a triangle.
  11. Measure along the folded edge, from the bottom point up, to your width plus 1". In our sample, we measured to 19¼" and made a mark.
    Diagram
  12. Open the paper back up and flip it over so you can see your mark.
  13. From the mark draw one perfectly horizontal line and one perfectly vertical line. Be careful with your ruler and make sure you end up with a perfect 90˚ corner.
    Diagram
  14. Cut along your drawn lines to create your square pattern. Ours ended up to be just a bit under 14" x 14".
  15. Use this pattern to cut the accent fabric for your covers, moving the square over the design to center your motifs in a pleasing way. For two chair covers, you need to cut two squares.
    Diagram
  16. Cut each accent fabric square in half diagonally to make TWO triangles.
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  17. From the lightweight fusible interfacing, cut two squares 1" less that your paper pattern. In our case, we cut two 13" x 13" squares. We then cut each square in half diagonally to yield two triangles.

Pom-poms

  1. We made our fluffy pom-poms, using the Clover Pom-Pom Maker. You can do this too with help from our easy, step-by-step tutorial. Or... you can buy some big pom-poms.
  2. We also did a fancy little twisted cord technique for the pom hangers. If you are a knitter, you'll recognize this easy technique right away. If not, there are lots of instructions online, including this video from Knitting at KNoon.
  3. We made one pom hanger approximately 3" and the other approximately 5".

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

The following instructions are for ONE chair cover, repeat as necessary.

  1. Following manufacturer's directions, iron a fusible interfacing triangle to the wrong side of each fabric triangle.
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  2. Machine baste a pair of poms in place at the point of one triangle. Keep your basting within the seam allowance. Place one pom so it will hang about 2" from the finished point and the second so it will hang about 4" from the point.
  3. When done basting, it helps to pin the poms to the triangle, so later, they stay out of the way of your stitching.
    Diagram
  4. Place the two triangles, right sides together, sandwiching the poms in between.
  5. Pin along both sides, leaving the long bottom edge open.
  6. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together.
  7. Remember to stitch into the point, then stop with your needle in the down position, pivot and stitch up the other side. This will give you a nice point. Trim away the seam allowance at the point.
  8. Turn the triangle right side out and press.
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  9. Pin the open long side of triangle (the open side) to the top of the front fabric rectangle (the velvet in our sample), matching corners. Machine baste the two pieces together. Now you can work with these two pieces as one piece
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  10. Pin the front and back pieces right sides together. Across the top, you'll have four layers: the front, the back, and the two layers of the triangle accent.
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  11. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch together up one side, across the top and down the opposite side. Leave the bottom edge open.
  12. Stitch the top corners at an angle so they are softened into a square rather than sharp and pointy.
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  13. Clip the corners.
  14. Finish the inside seam with a zig zag stitch, overcast stitch or a serger.
  15. To create the hem, turn under the bottom raw edge ½" and press.
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  16. Turn under another ½", press again. Pin in place and stitch close to the fold.
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  17. Turn right side out and press. If you are using velvet, use a pressing cloth.
  18. Slip over the chair.
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Contributors

Project Concept: Alicia Thommas

Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Jami Boys

Other machines suitable for this project include the Viking Sapphire 875 and the Baby Lock Symphony.

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Comments (9)

Lisa Hernandez said:
Lisa Hernandez's picture

I bought some for Christmas, and absolutely loved them.  They looked good on my chairs.  I will use your guide to help make more for other Holidays, or just because.  Thanks.

TIARA said:
TIARA's picture
BEAUTIFUL.I WILL BE MAKING THIS FOR MY DINING ROOM. THANKS
Sharynn Patterson said:
Sharynn Patterson's picture
Love the project. I want to make them for my own dining room.smilies/grin.gif
replica tudor watches said:
replica tudor watches's picture
Excellent collection of shots. Really unbelievable. Thanks for sharing this nice post.I will keep your article.
wordygirl said:
wordygirl's picture
Lovely idea. I am smitten with the idea of having a "Noel Home".
Peggy Gonzales said:
Peggy Gonzales's picture
Absolutely lovely. This project would be easy to make for all holidays, Thanks for posting.
mummsie said:
mummsie's picture
Another of your pleasy easy projectssmilies/grin.gif. I think I'd like to make a set for every holiday!!smilies/wink.gif

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