Two ways to recover a desk chair

I recently splurged on a light-up pink keyboard for my home office that’s making typing way more fun.

But when I was editing pictures of my pretty new keyboard, I realized I couldn’t share the ones that showed the worn-off patch of my (faux) leather desk chair. 

Yuck

All at once, I had a new project to tackle: a desk chair slipcover!

Making slipcovers can be tricky, but it’s a lot easier if you choose a fabric with lots of stretch. I hunted through my fabric stash and picked a piece of spandex printed with rainbow stripes that match the rainbow lights of my new keyboard. 

I decided to cover my desk chair in two separate pieces: the seat and the back. This meant I’d be able to show you two different methods for making a slipcover. I call them “The Scrunch” and “The Pin.” 

THE SCRUNCH

This slipcovering method is great for anything rounded, like an ottoman, a cushion or — in this case — an oval-ish chair seat. You’re basically making a huge showercap that can be tightened nice and snug with elastic.

I measured the seat’s length and width and cut out a huge oval of fabric that was roughly 12cm wider than the seat all the way around.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

Then I folded the edge over by about 3cm and used a stretch stitch to sew all the way around the oval, leaving a 5cm gap for the next step.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

I secured a safety pin to a piece of long skinny elastic and worked it all the way through the casing I’d just sewn.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

When I got back to the beginning, I tugged hard on both ends of the elastic to make the oval scrunch up a little — looking sort of like a shower cap or a drawstring bag.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

Then I slipped the cover over the seat of my desk chair and tugged harder on both ends of the elastic, fitting the cover around the seat. When I was happy with how snug it was, I just knotted the ends of the elastic together. There was no need to sew up that 5cm gap since it was on the underside and no one would see it.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

THE PIN

Now, I could have used the same method to make a slipcover for the back of my desk chair, but it would have left the tight elastic circle visible on the back of my chair. Instead, I decided to make a snug slip-on cover that would basically be the equivalent of yanking a pencil skirt over the back of a chair.

I didn’t have a ton of fabric left, but I had two pieces large enough to cover both sides of the chair back. With both pieces “right sides in” (meaning you couldn’t see the pretty rainbow stripes) against the chair back, I pinned them together all along the top and down both sides, making sure the fabric was stretched nice and tight.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}
Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

Once the last pin was in place, I carefully pulled the whole thing off and took it over to the sewing machine to sew along the pin lines. When I was finished, I had a wobbly-looking U-shaped seam connecting both pieces of fabric. 

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

It didn’t look perfect by any means, but that’s the beauty of stretchy fabric! I trimmed away the excess fabric around the edges, squared up the bottom, flipped it right-side-out and yanked it over the back of my chair. A perfect fit, and the entire project took me less than an hour!

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

My new pink keyboard was already making me smile at work, and now my new rainbow desk chair is proudly drawn up in front of it.

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}

If the slipcovers get dirty or damaged, they’ll be easy to remove. Heck, I might make a few other sets and change up the decor of my office a few times a year. Maybe the next set will match my llama-printed calculator.

Don’t forget to pin this idea for later!

Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather's Handmade Life}
Two ways to recover a desk chair {Heather’s Handmade Life}

So what do you think?

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