How to slipcover a wingback chair

Written by ana cassis | 13/05/2017
How to slipcover a wingback chair
Wingback chairs are those that have extended sides that act as side headrests. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Slipcovers protect your wingback chair, update its current fabric style or improve its condition. They are not permanently attached to furniture, so slipcovers remove easily for cleaning. Wingback chairs have "wings" that protrude forward from the upper sides of the chair. They are typically traditional in style, but vary according to the period of manufacture. You can make a slipcover that fits any shape.

Draw a picture of your wingback chair to identify where tucks, seams, closures, cording or other decor elements will be. Use the existing fabric seam placement as a guide to locate where they should be on your slipcover. Draw a plan view, side view, perspective view or other views that assist you in visualising the sewing project.

Measure each section of the chair between the seams and write down its dimensions on your drawings. Use your measurements to cut out large rectangles of paper or fabric that correspond to your measurements.

Use waste fabric or paper to make a pattern. Pin a piece of fabric that is larger than the area of slipcover you are cutting to the wingback chair. Feel the seams and use a felt tip pen to outline the seams on the chair, but increase it by 1 inch. Cut out the piece along the outline. If the pattern fabric is thick, write directly on the underside of the piece what part of the chair it covers. If the pattern piece is thin, make a label with drafting tape. Or, forgo making a pattern and make a quick slipcover with the final fabric, using the chair as a template.

Lay out the pieces of the pattern on the floor and use them as templates to cut out fabric. Align all the edges of adjacent pieces.

Sew the edges of the pieces of the slipcover fabric together.

Keep the bottom of the cover open for a streamlined look.

Make a chair skirt for a country look. Measure from the bottom edge of the chair to the floor for the height of the skirt. Measure the chair's circumference for its length and add extra fabric for ruffles or pleats. Add about 1/2 inch to its height. Cut out this amount of fabric. Hem the bottom and top edges 1/4 inch and attach Velcro to its top to attach it to the chair.

Use Velcro to fasten the fabric to the underside of the chair.


Don't use pins if your chair's original fabric is delicate and may be damaged.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't use pins if your chair's original fabric is delicate and may be damaged.

Things you need

  • Graph paper and pencils: regular and coloured
  • Kraft paper
  • Paper scissors
  • Yardstick
  • Small cloth ruler
  • Approximately 5 yards of upholstery or other slipcover fabric
  • Fabric pencils: light and dark
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Straight pins
  • Masking tape
  • Sellotape
  • Thread
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Closures: buttons, snaps or Velcro

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