So…I have these naked chairs. Yes, I bought them this way. In case you were curious, this is what the Henriksdal chair from Ikea looks like without a cover. The version I got, the brown-black frame without a cover, was $49.99 per chair. When I tested them out in the store I thought they were very comfortable. I was first inspired to consider these chairs for our dining room after seeing Liz’s amazing hand-painted chairs for her breakfast room. I knew, I too, wanted to make some super-cool, original chair covers.
Remember that little pic of the Prakesh Table Cloth by Dwell Studio for Target from the Dining Room Mood Board? Well, I do not plan to use it as a tablecloth. I actually did, for a birthday party and loved it so much I ordered 3 more to make my chair slipcovers. The tablecloths were $17.99 each. I loved the idea of the grey part of the pattern down the middle of the chairs. But getting a tablecloth to turn into a chair slipcover is much easier said than done.
Enter the $10 Ikea Henriksdal Slipcover. This is the plain cotton slipcover sold with the base model Henriksdal. Note: They price it as a package for $59.99, but you can buy the chair alone for $49.99. I purchased four plain chair frames and one cotton slipcover. The total with tax was just shy of $225…not bad for four upholstered dining chairs.
I decided the best way to make my own slipcovers, was to dissect the $10 slipcover to create a pattern. This took a lot of patience and learning about my own strength for ripping seams. I do not think there is any right way or pretty way to do this. I grabbed a seam ripper and started slicing at the threads. My mom would tell you it is easiest to start in the middle of a seam, instead of the ends where there is usually backstitching or reinforcement. These slipcovers are professionally serged with at least 4 threads…meaning there is a lot of seam ripping to do. I think it took me about an hour to get all the seams apart.
Here is what my slipcover
puzzle pattern looks like. It is laid out by adjoining seams. The top piece is the back of the chair cover upside down. It attaches around the sides and top to the front cover piece in the middle. The front attaches to the seat piece at the bottom. The pieces around the seat are the fronts and sides of the apron.
As I got the first fabric piece loose from the slipcover, I worried I would not remember how to put it back together. There was different stitching at the hems than at the side seams. Once all the pieces were apart it was difficult to tell the difference from the front apron to the side apron. Part way through I decided to take some notes. I put a piece of tape on each fabric piece to serve as a label. In they-only-make-snese-to-me-terms I took notes about how to reassemble the pattern. I wrote things like 1/2″ hem and serge side. I labeled each piece with the part of the chair it covered. Hopefully this will make reassembly easier since I will have these “pattern pieces” to refer too.
- Use pattern to cut out pieces from my tablecloths (totally nervous about this)
- Serge pieces together to make a slipcover following my “pattern notes” (yes, I have a serger…no, I do not know how to do all the required stitches yet)
- Add velcro around apron (chair frame has velcro underneath to attach slipcover to)
- Put slipcover on chair and cross-fingers it fits perfectly (cry if it doesn’t)
If you can’t tell by my parenthetical side notes above…I am a little panicked about this project. I tend to get myself way in over my head sometimes. The only silver-lining is I usually can, in Tim Gunn’s words, “make it work”. Wish me luck.
Read more about this project: