DIY Network

How To Make a No-Sew Slipcover

Take much of the work and the expense out of re-covering a chair. Learn how to make an easy slipcover using fabric and pins.

More in Decorating

no sew slipcover is easy to do
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Measure the Chair

Measure the chair to determine how much fabric is needed. First, take the cushion out. Then take the front-to-back measurement with a flexible measuring tape, starting with the floor-to-seat measurement, continuing across the seat to the base of the seat-back, then up the seat-back, over the top, and all the way down to the floor again. Write down the total distance: this is the length the material will need to be.

Next, determine the side-to-side measurement. Start at the floor on one side of the chair-back, and run the tape measure up the side of the chair, up the side edge of the chair-back, across the top of the chair-back, and down the other side to the floor. Write down the total distance; this is the width the material will need to be. If the edges need to be hemmed, take that into account. If combining two remnants, stitch them with a 3/8-inch seam.

Step 2: Position the Fabric On the Chair

Take the seat cushion out of the chair and throw the fabric over the chair, positioning it to drape evenly over the chair and its back. Fabric outlets are a great source of remnants for no-sew slipcovers. Try to get lightweight material; it's less likely to wrinkle up and also much easier to work with. Designer sheets also work well, but if purchasing them just for this purpose, buy flat sheets, not a set that includes a bottom sheet.

position fabric on chair

Step 3: Pull and Fasten the Material to the Seat and Back

Push and tuck the large piece of fabric until it fits smoothly and tightly into the crevices of the chair, starting with the seat, then the arms, and last the back. As you pull each section of material taut, fasten it to the chair with pins in places no one will see, such as the inside corners or under a fold of material.

To use a T-pin, push it through the material and the cushion at a right angle, but don't push it in the whole way. Instead, flip the T to the other diagonal before thrusting the pin into the chair cushioning. It works the same way as a hatpin.

fasten material to the chair with t pins

Step 4: Pin the Fabric to the Arm Rests

To make the fabric snug along the arms, use upholstery pins (they look like pig's tails) under the arms, where no one will see them. If the fabric's too thick for upholstery pins, use larger safety pins. They can be covered with a decorative touch, like a button, if they're too obvious. Another trick for helping the slipcover stay on: stuff cardboard rolls from toilet paper or paper towels into the crevices, on top of the material.

Step 5: Pleat the Material

Move to the back, smoothing the material over the top of the seat-back. Then box-pleat the material by hand to make sure it drapes nicely, and fasten the pleats together with a couple of T-pins or a safety pin (Image 1). If the hardware's too obvious, hide it later with a decorative ribbon.

Use the smaller piece of fabric to wrap the cushion like a present, fastening the ends with T-pins. Then slip the cushion, smooth side up, back into the chair (Image 2).