Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let’s “Gather” Together…

I have always wanted to make a quilted slipcover for my black leather sewing chair.  So, that’s exactly what I did!  I can’t give you measurements for this as all chairs will be different, but I can explain my process! 


I will admit first off, that I have never been taught  how to make slipcovers, so it was not second nature to me!  But, I figured if I was logical about it, I could figure it out!  First thing, I took measurements of the chair, and selected the fabrics to use…which is always time consuming for me!  But my sewing room curtains and decor is all Mary Engelbreit, so I chose her fabrics for the chair cover, too!  I cut out two large pieces for the front/seat and back of the chair, added batting and backing and quilted those two pieces first!


I rounded the top corners and after measuring how far down the sides the seam should go, with right sides together, I sewed that seam from one side around the top and down the other side.


I left it wrong side out and slipped it over the chair back.  I was then able to adjust those top corners to fit the chair better.  I pinned them and slipped the cover off and sewed right on that pinned line!  I trimmed the seams to 3/8” and zigzagged the raw edges. 


Next, I put the cover back on the chair and used pins to mark the places on the sides that need to be cut out to fit around the arm rests.  I slit those areas and rolled the excess fabric to the inside and stitched them down.  I also sewed on a long thin piece of matching ribbon at the line where the back meets the seat which will be wrapped under the chair and tied in a bow to secure the seat cover.


Time to make the ruffle!  So, how do you gather fabric when making a ruffle?  I have used this same method for years and believe me, when you make country dolls, you are making ruffles on every one!!  So I’ve made zillions of ruffles- large and small!


First thing I do is make two rows of stitching with a very long stitch length and leave long thread tails at both ends.  The rows are 1/4” apart.  Then I mark the middle of the ruffle and the middle of where it is being sewn onto and put a pin securing the two centers.


Next, I firmly hold the top thread tail of the first line of stitching and the bottom thread tail of the second line of stitching together in my right hand and slowly move the fabric into gathers with my left hand by pushing it to the left- toward the center which is secured with that pin… straightening gathers as I go.  Once I have it gathered enough for the ruffle end to fit perfectly to the length you need, pin it all down, adjusting the gathers to your taste.


When the ruffle is all gathered and pinned, sew right down the middle of the space between the two rows of stitching with a small stitch length. If you want to zigzag the raw edges together, you can do that, too. 


Then you can very easily pull out the row of gathering stitches that are outside the seam allowance and showing on the right side of the project by grasping the LONGEST thread of that gathering line and pulling it right out.


I hope this is easy to picture and understand.  I’ve found this to be such an easy method to make perfect gathers on any sewn project. 


And the rule of thumb for how long a ruffle should be is double!  Take the measurement of where the ruffle is to be sewn and double that and that is how long to cut the ruffle.


I sewed ruffles onto the bottom of the slip cover and added black and white checkered wide ribbon to each end around the arm rests and where the back meets the front.  Isn’t this old Mary Engelbreit sewing theme fabric just too cute?

After putting it on the chair, I decided I wanted a sash to tie in the back, so I took it off and made two black print sashes and sewed one to each side, put it back on the chair and voila!!!  A fun and girly sewing chair!!


So?? What are you working on today??



  1. Wonderful chair cover! It looks just perfect for the sewing room!!! I cheated and bought a single sheepskin wool car seat cover to cover my sewing chair, but I do like your idea very much!!!

  2. Really a lovely chair cover and you made it sound so easy LOL. You gather the same way I do I guess we were taught at same school,it is still the easiest way to do.
    I just finished piecing the top of a quilt for grandson now I have to figure out backing using leftover fabric. Have a happy weekend. Blessings Sandra

  3. what a great project.You made making gathers look easy. Now I will have to give them a go.

  4. What a lovely cover you made! The fabric is gorgeous.
    I've been working on sewing knitted squares that have been donated by the public into a large knee rug...the challenge is that the squares can vary greatly in The blankets go to the needy in the state.

  5. You have made a beautiful quilted slipcover for your special chair. Gorgeous fabrics you used.
    DH and I are busy travelling the North of our State so have only been hand sewing a stitchery and Hexies. We are on our last leg of the journey and I am looking forward to using my machine again.

  6. That is a very nice slip cover might attempt one myself. Today i finished piecing my xmas quilt. Its the first one ive made that big, it not as intricate as others but im proud of it. I'd love to post a pic but not sure how. Next ill be working on my xmas table runners and wall hanging.

  7. That is just wonderful! You have a talent! Have a happy week!

  8. What a huge scary task. I need to do it to our kitchen chairs. Maybe I will try...eeeekkk!

  9. Very clever and it looks wonderful, mmmm I have a chair just like that, wonder if I should do it too?

  10. Great job! i just love Mary E fabric and colors.


Thank you sooooooo very much for taking the time to leave a comment! I am always happy to know that someone is reading my ramblings!! Polly :-)