Using fabric chair covers is an inexpensive way to update the look of your dining room and save wear and tear on your dining chairs. Over time, however, the fabric covers can pull and stretch, and your once perfectly fitting covers can sag and look a bit lifeless. There are several ways you can quickly update the look of your existing chair covers and give them a new life.
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Make cinch ties to tighten up loose covers. Select a coordinating heavy-duty cotton fabric. For best results, use home decor-weight cotton, which will withstand the rigours of daily use. Cut two lengths of fabric 25 cm (10 inches) long by 10 cm (4 inches) wide. Iron each raw edge of each piece in 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) and press into place with an iron set on the cotton-steam setting. Fold each piece in half, lengthwise, and press into place. Sew along all four sides with a 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) seam allowance. Pin a short edge of each tie to the back of your chair so they are about 15 cm (6 inches) apart and sew into place. Tie the two pieces together to cinch loose dining room covers securely to the chair.
A simple sash tied around the back of the chair cinches the excess fabric of the chair cover and adds an interesting look to the dining room itself. For best results, use a sash that isn't slippery, such as satin or silk, and tie the sash firmly and in a double knot. Place the knot on the rear side of the chair so that it won't hit anyone in the back who happens to be sitting in that chair. This technique works best with standard wooden chairs.
As fabric settles and ages, it naturally stretches; depending on the type of fabric and the amount of use it gets, it can stretch even more. This is especially true of cotton or a cotton-blend fabric. Often, the fibres of cotton or cotton-blend fabrics lose their shape with time and wear. When washed in hot water and dried on a high-cotton setting, they can retain much of their original shape.
Sometimes chair covers are so stretched and worn, you have no option but to alter them. For best results, turn each chair cover inside out and replace it on the chair. Use your fingers to gather excess fabric around the edges and pin around the edges of the chair, leaving the excess fabric outside the pins. The pins mark where you will be making your new seams. Carefully remove each chair cover and sew 6.5 mm (1/4 inch) outside of the pins, removing the pins as you go, to allow for a slight ease in the fabric, so the chair covers aren't too tight. Replace the chair covers after you've made your seams to ensure that they fit, and then cut off all the excess fabric. Iron the chair covers, turn right side out and put the chair covers back on the chair.