Slipcover a Real Chair ? YES, I Can!

FINALLY! After months of being embarrassed by the state of the rapidly deteriorating chair in our den........

Warning for my Mother: - remember how embarrassed you were when I shared the photo of my dining room on the "world wide web?" You may want to ignore these next photos!

A Special Plead to my Readers: Please do not judge me or my family for the condition of this chair. The rest of my furniture does NOT look like this - I promise. But this is my little-10-year-old-helper's favorite tv watching chair (since he was 2). --AND this chair sits in direct sunlight most of the day. --AND I am frugal and did not want to buy a new chair, without completely redecorating the entire den at the same time.

Warning: Don't get any closer.......

Yikes!!! What kind of people are we?

(Disgusting, I know.)

Well - I took some drop cloths from Home Depot and bleached them. I used two 12'x9' drop cloths and about 3 gallons of bleach. (Several washings). I also used rather fat cording - figuring if I am going to the trouble to place cording on every seam, then I want it to show!

I measured and cut and pinned and sewed.

And HERE is the finished product!!!!!........

We LOVE our "new" chair!!!

Lessons I learned:
(1) It is MUCH easier to tackle a project when the fabric you are cutting is inexpensive. So what if you mess up on two $9.00 drop cloths? Go buy one more and you will have a whopping $30 in the project (plus another $3 for the extra bleach). Certainly costs a LOT less than a new chair (plus a second matching chair, and a new sofa, and new window treatments, etc..)

(2) Canvas drop cloths are very SOFT - after two bleachings and two regular detergent washings.

(3) This project takes time (maybe 7 hours, total- with interruptions) and patience - but is not as difficult as I thought. Well worth my day!

(4) All drop cloth canvases are NOT the SAME! The two I bought at Home Depot for the chair were very thick and could withstand lots of bleach. The drop cloth I bought today at Lowe's (8 oz weight) is much thinner and only required about 1 cup of bleach (or less) to lighten. (It is a much thinner fabric.)

This post is featured at Kimba's Do-It-Yourself Day!


Please visit Metamorphosis Monday for more before and after projects!

This post is also linked to The Shades of Pink and Reinvented!


dee dee said…
Love the chair! Fantastic job! I just slip covered one of my wing back chairs with drop cloth, and you couldn't be more right! It does get soft after washing. I didn't even think to bleach mine, I'll have to try that next time. I now have a couch to contend with... From your photos, yourslip cover looks very professional!
Dee Dee
Love it! The chair looks great!! I've been crushing on dropclothes for a while! :)
Anna said…
looks great! you did an amazing job. that's good to know the drop cloths can be bleached and soften up after washing
trish said…
Oh how I wish I could have watch each step in person. That is a fabulous make over! I love your "new" chair!
Sincerely ~ Tricia Anne
Sjn said…
Great job, hooray for you! I've been thinking I want to try a slipcover, now I have the inspiration!
santamaker said…
Nice job! I am sold on drop cloths too. Love the texture , color and it's cheap...Yay!
Diann said…
Very nice finished product! It's amazing what you can accomplish with simple goods. P.S. I would never judge anyone by their furniture!
I have a very scary wing chair and I just have not had the courage to attempt a slipcover. What a great idea to use those drop cloths!
OMG...I am stunned..that is the look I what for my sofa. What a great job you did. Was it really that easy? I never thought of using drop cloths! How did you even think of that??? Can you tell I am impressed ;-)
Lindy said…
Oh girl, that is amazing! Thanks for the tips about drop cloths! I have been thinking about drop cloth curtains for awhile now. I love your artwork (I found you through the oh so fabulous NESTER) and I definitely will be ordering some soon!

I could never judge a person by their furniture either. I have three big dogs that live on my furniture. They are worse than children!
Wow... it looks great! I have always wondered about using drop cloths for something. Glad to find out it does work well!
I just covered three dining chairs I bought at Goodwill with a drop cloth - cost me only $5.00...and years ago I made sliding glass door curtains from a drop cloth - they are certainly multipurpose cloths!

Your chair turned out beautiful!!
jninecostumes said…
Thanks for the inspiration and the drop cloth idea. I have a little chair that needs just this treatment.
Farmgirl Paints said…
What an amazing before and after...seriously wow!!! I need to recover our sofa in the basement. It is quite the job though and I just need a kick to get started.
mustard seeds said…
That chair looks great now. Very cozy
nannykim said…
Boy, so many are using these drop clothes for curtains and slipcovers! Thanks for telling us about the difference between Lowes and Home Depot!! Looks way better!!

spindle cottage is my home blog.
Kathleen said…
Wow, that's great! I wonder if it would be too hard to fit on a recliner??
Love those drop clothes, what a great idea to use them on a chair! Looks great.
Anonymous said…
That looks great! Wow. and again I say WOW!

If you haven't already drop by and sign up for my link party if you'd like!
Beautiful job!! It makes me want to cover an old chair....hmmmmm
What a transformation!! Wow!!! I love the new look. :) You did a fabulous job! Visiting from Kimba's party. :)
Marigene said…
Wow! I wish I could sew well enough to make slipcovers. You did a fantastic job.
Anonymous said…
Great job!! I have a chair that looks very similar to your before pic. Have a chenille spread over it but need to tackle a slip cover!
cindy said…
Fabulous fabulous fabulous. I'm coveting. I need to learn to make slipcovers better. Mine are wonky. LOVE the chair makeover. Good on ya! I'm a new follower...
Martha said…
I a very impressed -- A great job and a new chair for some time and very little money! Congratulations!
You did a great job. I love that you bleached the drop cloth and I love the cording! It looks hard to me, glad to here it wasn't.
Molly Anne said…
I am very impressed! It looks great and you made it look easy and do-able.
Cheryl said…
WOW! Love your new slipcover. You did a great job. I have been wanting to do this with my wing chair and am just too chicken to do it. I need to just grab the drop cloth I bought months ago and do it.
Shanty 2 Chic said…
LOVE this!! Way to go!! Love the little skirt at the bottom... thanks for all the tips!
I really love this, and yes, I'm more brave with cheaper fabric!
ImagineCozy said…
Love it!! I have made a slip cover once and it did make such a difference.
Wow, it looks amazing and very custom with the trim.
Lynette said…
I just emailed your blog post to my mom (who is an incredible seamstress just like you) and practically begged her to read every.single.word of your great tute on this so she can recover one of my wingback chairs for me since I am not an incredible seamstress like you or her!!

Your chair looks awesome - thanks for sharing it with us - even your mom should be proud!!
Amy said…
Wow! What a transformation! Nice work!
Unknown said…
Holy cow, that is gorgeous! I am sooo envious of your talents. Great, fabulous, awesome job.
April said…
this is fantastical! congratulations! I think it was brave of you.
wow I am so impressed, mostly because it is a huge job to tackle, I did a smaller chair once and I know how hard and frustrating it can be, you did a wonderful job, I am a new follower of yours, come visit
THis is a FANTASTIC before and after! Love it!! I have a whole new appreciation for drop cloths.
Betty said…
I've made up my mind...I'm going to slip cover my chair...your chair looks great... I enjoyed four days in your lovely town last week sewing window treatments for...well, I'm sure you know...Betty
Anonymous said…
I love the transformation of your chair. I've been contemplating a dropcloth slip cover for the chair my dog has taken over.
I've got to get some of the lazy out and get the sewing machine going!
Unknown said…
Great job! I wish I had those kind of sewing skills! Very creative using the bleached drop cloths!
You did an amazing job! I want to do this so badly! The thing is I would do it badly bc I can't sew...I think I'll do the cutting and fitting and try to get someone to sew it! Drop cloths-wow!
Coming over from Rhoda's 2009 Project Party. This slipcover turned out great! Thanks for the tip on the bleach! I wanted to use the dropcloths for curtains but wanted them white, I never thought of bleach them, duh...I know!
Which weight of dropcloth did you prefer working with...the lightweight or heavyweight? Thanks, Lisa