How to Slipcover IKEA or Patio Chair Cushions

by Mary

Have you ever priced brand new chair cushions for your patio or IKEA chairs? Expensive, right? Well, I decided that I could change the look of any cushion quite easily with a new “coat” of fabric!

I did this once with my entire patio of chairs. I slipcovered some to tie them in with light green ones that I had and also made pillows to make everything cohesive.

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Now, I am faced with two IKEA chairs in my basement that have become yellowed over time. Small stains have also appeared. Anyone else have a problem keeping white or ivory furniture from showing its wear?

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So, I purchased two yards of dark gray fabric (seen in photo below) per IKEA chair (27 1/2 inches by 6 feet). The reason why you need to ensure that you have the larger width of 27 1/2 inches is so that you can accommodate the 24 inches of the IKEA chair pad. The smaller bolts of fabric (23 inches in width or less) will not work well for this endeavor. But the 23-inch bolts will work for standard patio cushions that measure 21 inches wide. Also, you can wrap the fabric entirely around the chair pad like a book cover. You will then only have to stitch one long side (6 foot side) of the cushion as well as one short side (27 1/2 inches of the top of the cushion where the head will rest). The reason for the 6 feet of length is due to the head rest on an IKEA chair pad that flips over. When straightened out, the pad length is that long now (see arrow in photo above).

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Cover the cushion with the fabric, inside out (see photo below). Pin all around the cushion from the top of the cushion to the bottom, making sure not to pin the fabric to the cushion itself. This is simply for learning where you will stitch later. You need to leave the bottom part of the cushion completely open where your legs will hit. This will be for installing a zipper later. It will also aid in your ability to get the slipcover on and off the cushion for laundering in the future.

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Keep in mind that rounded corners are very important to document at this stage with your pins. Better to pin too much than to create stitches that don’t really represent that section of your cushion well (see circle at the corner of the cushion in the photo below).

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Remove the cushion from the pinned fabric, trying not to disturb the pins as you pull.

Time to stitch where the pins are. Keep the fabric inside out for this process as well. Stitch all along the pins, trying to mimic the corners and other areas where the pins were strategically placed for the best fit. Remove the pins as you go.

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Turn out the fabric (so that the correct side of the fabric is now facing out) and do a dry run with your cushion by covering it. Did you pin appropriately enough that there is a nice, snug fit? Pin anything again that you think needs to be a tighter fit and restitch those areas. At this point, you can also see where the zipper needs to go by folding under the fabric at the opening and pinching to keep enough room for the zipper (see photo below).

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I once tried to close the opening with velcro with a previous set of slipcovers. I used the sticky kind and it didn’t work as well as I would have liked. You could also use the sew-on kind of velcro, which I think would yield a better result. It was hard for me to get a really snug fit with the velcro, and it wouldn’t stay on the fabric like I wanted. Maybe you’ll have better luck. I also toyed with sew-on snaps while at the fabric store recently. Because those would have to be sewn by hand, I inevitably purchased 24-inch zippers because I wanted to use the machine.

If you are not worried about laundering the slipcovers in the future, you could easily stitch closed the opening as I did with the pillow I covered (see How to Cover a Pillow).

Otherwise, for installing a zipper, I have posted separately how to do that, since installing zippers can be for pillows and other items too! (See How to Install a Zipper).

For now, I simply tucked under the excess where your legs hit the cushion, as you can see in the photo below! Usable until zipper day!

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