This cover gives a chair a real ‘wow’ factor, and the buttoned shirt front makes it easy to slip on and off. Before you make it you will need to do lots of measuring and make a paper pattern. This type of cover works best on an upright chair without any curves or carvings. You will need large shirts for this project. I was very lucky to find one that had a strange false shirt tail in a smaller check in the same colourway. I didn’t have a patterned shirt with white cuffs, so I took some from a plain white shirt and replaced the patterned ones.
Making the paper pattern
1 For the front of the chair back, measure
A, B and C, and add a seam allowance of
2cm (3?4in) to each side and the top – this
unusual allowance takes into account the
thickness of the chair back, so adjust yours
according to your chair; add a 1cm (1?2in)
seam allowance to the bottom edge; cut a
piece of paper to this measurement.
2 Measure widths C and D and length E,
add a 1cm (1?2in) seam allowance to each
side and cut out the seat pattern.
3 Measure the back of the chair (B plus
F by A and G), add a 1cm (1?2in) seam
allowance and then cut a piece of paper to
4 For the sides, measure lengths E and H
and heights F and I; add a 1cm (1?2in) seam
allowance and cut 2 pieces of paper.
5 For the front of the chair measure height
I and width D, add a 1cm (1?2in) seam
allowance and cut 1 piece of paper.
Start with several shirts that nobody plans to wear any more, add some imagination, and the resulting product can be anything from a good-looking checked chair cover or a brightly patterned beach bag to a set of table napkins or a soft stuffed toy that will delight a lucky toddler. The principle guiding this fascinating crafts book is that recycling isn't merely virtuous--it's also fun, and a good way to add colorful new items to the household. Author Juliet Bawden presents ideas for transforming all kinds of shirts--classic white or blue dress shirts, Hawaiian shirts, lumberjack shirts, polo shirts, corduroy shirts, or any other kind that happens to be available. She then presents detailed directions and templates for creating-- Chair covers Book covers Baby booti...© 2013 Juliet Bawden / Aurum Press · Reproduced with permission.
Pin the front and back paper pattern pieces together and slip them over the chair. If the measurement is tight, add some more to your pattern; if it is too loose, move the pins in so that it fits and mark the new seam allowance. Remember, you need to be able to lift the cover on and off (although the back of the finished chair
cover will have a buttoned shirt front as an opening). Pin the seat, front and sides in turn to the pattern pieces already on the chair. Mark each of the pattern pieces –
back, front of backrest, seat, front and sides – so you know where they all go.
When you are happy with the fit of the pattern, carefully unpin the pieces and remove them from the chair. Choose your shirts carefully and pin the paper pattern onto the pieces of shirt. You may have to join some pieces of shirting together, as I have here, to get large enough pieces of fabric. Remember to use a buttoned shirt front for the back of the chair and centre the opening on your pattern piece. Cut out the pieces with dressmaking scissors.
Cut the arms off a shirt. If you wish, replace the patterned cuffs with plain white ones from another shirt, machine
stitching them onto the bottom of the sleeves with right sides together and a 1cm (1?2in) seam allowance. Fold the
cuffs down and press the seams.
With right sides facing, pin all the fabric pieces together, just as they were on your paper pattern, but this time pin
the top of the arms between the back and front of the chair cover, one on each side, 14cm (51?2in) from the top. I aligned mine with the seam joining two pieces of shirting together. Make sure the arms are enclosed between the front and back pieces so that they will be on the outside
of the finished chair cover when it is turned right side out.
Baste everything in place. Then turn the cover right side out and slip it over the chair and button up the back to
check that it fits properly. Make any adjustments you need at this stage. When you are happy with the fit,
machine stitch along the basting on each seam. Then sew a second line of stitching to reinforce the seams. Press the seams and overlock the raw edges. Finally, fold and press the bottom of the shirt 5mm (1?4in) to the wrong side, then
fold over and press another 5mm (1?4in) and machine stitch the hem.