How to sew covers for the arm of a sofa or chair

Updated February 21, 2017

Perhaps the most expensive pieces of furniture in a household are the sofa and chairs. These members of the furniture family see years of use and abuse. Children, pets, beverages and even cigarette ashes find their way to the arms of sofas and chairs. Hands, constantly in motion, touch the arm rests more than any part. Such expensive furniture can hardly be replaced simply because of soiled or frayed arm rests. Sewing covers for the arms of the sofa and chairs can prolong the usefulness of the furniture, cover fabric blemishes or, when used as a preventive measure, protect for future beauty.

Determine how many covers you need to sew and cut the fabric 14 inches wide by 25 inches long for each arm rest cover.

Pin all edges of the fabric under, against the wrong side of the fabric, so that no raw edges are exposed.

Sew all of the pinned edges of the fabric, using the straight stitch function on the sewing machine with a one-inch seam allowance. Remove pins as the fabric makes its way through the machine.

Iron the seams and the entire arm rest cover.

Repeat for additional chair and sofa arm covers.

Cut two squares that are four-by-four inches from rubber, non-slip drawer liner. Attach these to the undersides of the arm rest covers by gluing with a glue gun or hand sewing into place in the corners. This will keep the arm rest cover in place.


Some sewing stores carry upholstery to match leading furniture maker's fabric choices. Clip a swatch from under the sofa or chair from an unseen seam to take with you to the store. Velvets and denims, as well as other durable fabrics, are available in coordinating or contrasting colours. For easily washable arm rest covers, choose thicker cottons or denims. For a feminine look, sew gathered eyelet lace around the hems. Craft stores have ample supplies of flat woven ribbons and ball trims to suit varied tastes. Check any added trims or laces for durability and washing capabilities--you may want to wash the covers frequently.


Use extreme caution when operating glue guns as some reach very hot temperatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric - 14 inches wide x 25 inches long (per arm cover)
  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Non-slip rubber drawer liner, optional
  • Glue gun & glue sticks, optional
  • Needle, optional
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About the Author

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.