Most rattan chairs use loose cushions, so they are considered easy to reupholster. Chair and sofa cushions frequently have zippered back panels that make removing the cover easier. Cushion zippers tend to be larger and are easier to sew than garment zippers. These zippers are sold by the length you need rather than in fixed sizes, and you add the zipper handle. Once you overcome these minor details, you can master the project in a few hours.
Things You'll Need
- Seam ripper
- Iron and board
- Sewing machine
Remove the cushions from the chair. Remove the cushion covers if they have a zipper in the back. If they don't have a zipper, open the back seam using a seam ripper and remove the inside cushion.
Open all of the seams on the cover. Keep one zippered panel intact to use it as an example when you sew your first zipper. Label each piece and how it fits the cushion. Most cushion covers are seven pieces with welting and a zipper. Keep each set of covers separate, as they are likely to be a different size.
Iron the existing covers to flatten out the seams. Launder, dry and iron your new fabric. When a cover is detachable with a zipper, it usually means you can wash the cover when it becomes soiled. Select a decorator fabric that is suitable for a washing machine.
Pin the covers to your fabric, and cut out your new pieces. If you have selected a patterned fabric, you will need extra fabric to match your patterns when you pin your pieces.
Sew your zippered panels first. Sew a basting stitch to join the two panel sections together over the zipper area. Pin to mark the ends of the zipper. Sew with a regular stitch from the end of the zipper to the end of the panel on each side. Iron the seam flat. Place the panel face side down.
Pin the zipper face side down and centered over the seam. Put a zipper foot in the sewing machine, and sew along the side of the zipper. Sew across the zipper at each end. Sew slowly so you don't break your needle. Stitch forward, backward and forward so that the ends are secure. Open the basted seam over the zipper.
Sew the side panels together in the order of the original cover. The zippered section will be the back panel.
Make welting by cutting 1 1/2-inch strips of fabric on the 45-degree bias. Fold the fabric in half along its length. Insert a cord into the fold, and sew tight to the cord. Make enough continuous welting to fit twice around the circumference of each cushion plus 24 inches.
Place your top cover face side up on the table. Pin the welting to the cover starting in the center of the back side. Pin so that the rough edge of the welting is aligned with the rough edge of the cover. Trim the welting 1-inch longer when you reach the beginning point. Rip the seam open on the end of the welting cover to expose the cord.
Cut the cord to butt up against the beginning cord. Fold the fabric under half an inch. Wrap the fabric over the beginning part of the welting to hide the seam, and pin it in place. Sew the welting to the cover. Repeat for the bottom cover.
Place the top cover face side-up on the table. Align the corners of the side fabric so that the zipper panel is along the back side. Pin the side fabric inside out, or face the sides together to the top cover. Align the rough edges over the welting edges.
Sew your 1/2-inch seam tight to the welting cord. Repeat for the bottom cover. Leave the zipper open when you sew the bottom cover. Clip your corner seam allowance fabric at a 45-degree angle to reduce the bulk. Turn the cover right side out, and then insert your cushion.
Tips & Warnings
- Some covers have an extra-long back panel that wraps around each side to make installing cushions easier. Follow your cover pattern to match the style on your cushion. Make sure your sewing machine is rated for thicker materials and that you use the right needle and settings when sewing your upholstery covers.
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