How to cover a weird shaped chair.
June 5, 2009 3:48 AM   Subscribe

How to make/get a slipcover for my Ikea chair Ektorp Tullsta?

- I don't like the ones offered on the Ikea website
- I tried Ikea Hacker and their forums
- also turned up nothing specific enough to help me
- It doesn't need to be fancy with the separate cover for the seat cushion and the flaps, just needs to be better than throwing a sheet over it.

Any suggestions or other forums to search? I am willing to try sewing one myself but would need lots of handholding.
posted by like_neon to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
These? Spendy, but cool.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:04 AM on June 5, 2009

If you have an Ikea near you, you could try their "AS-IS" section for a really cheap cover, then take it apart and make a copy of it with whatever material you like.
posted by orme at 4:08 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was going to say what orme said. Easiest thing to do is to get an as-is one and make a pattern from it. However, if you can't do that, you can get some cheap fabric ($1-2/yard cotton) and make a pattern from that.

Actually, that might be pretty hard if you are not already kind of good at this. Okay, here are two tutorials on how to do it. Your profile does not say where you are, but you might want to look into a discount upholstery warehouse like this one which is near me for your fabric. At this particular place, they also have a printed guide on about how much fabric you would need for your particular furniture item - this is not uncommon, or so I hear - so you could take a photo/picture of the chair in and they can help you compare it against a more "traditional" chair to double check your measurements/estimates. And, if you buy more than you need, you can always make some throw pillows.

If you are new to sewing, or just need some support/people to ask questions, check out Pattern Review.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:58 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

ersatzkat - Agreed, very very nice but spendy!!

orme - Ikea is about a 1 hour trip back and forth but if we go there for some other reason that's a good idea and then we'd have another chair to boot! :)

Medieval Maven - Interesting idea. Found this following that concept and so maybe with that along with your tutorials I might just give that a go.
posted by like_neon at 5:39 AM on June 5, 2009

Adult Education might offer an upholstery class. Good way to learn with an expert, an dget the slipcover or new upholstery done.
posted by theora55 at 7:00 AM on June 5, 2009

That's a really good suggestion thora55. I have way too many hobbies but this is definitely something I've always wanted to check out and wasn't sure how.
posted by like_neon at 7:53 AM on June 5, 2009

My trick for upholstering is to leave the chair in the room where I sit a lot and stare at it for a couple of weeks. It really helps to plan the whole thing in your head first and decide which seams need to be sewn first so that it comes out in the end. Also, I slipcovered a whole bunch of things (I just wing it and figure out what I did wrong afterwards.) and THEN realized how to put a zipper in a cushion seam. (I always plan to put it in the final seam and then it's too crooked and seems too hard so I just sew it up and plan to rip the seam out if I ever wash the cushion.) I FINALLY realized that what I need to do is sew a zipper in between two long strips of fabric and THEN make that into the side panel. Duh.

Anyway, the method where you put the fabric on the chair inside out and pin it all up is a really doable way of making a slip cover. Watch an episode of Trading Spaces, they are sure to do it at least once, especially if you can find a Hildy episode.

Also, the easiest (albeit kinda crappy) way of slipcovering is to staple gun fabric directly onto the chair. (But a lot of the edges need to be wood and I doubt that chair is. An example is that for a chair with rolled arms you put fabric right side up over the arm of the chair and staple gun it down right up under the arm (where it meets the side.) Then, you put a piece of fabric (for the side) pattern side down on the rolled part of the chair and staple gun it (with the staples really close together) along where the arm meets the side then flip the material down and staple gun it to the underside. You do the same with the back (do the front of the back first then do the back of the sofa the flippy way that you did the side, then hand sew the sides to the back. The hard part in this method is doing something that looks decent with the front of the arms, but it is the most beginneriest way. Ask me more questions if you haven't the faintest idea of what I'm talking about.

I've managed to teach myself to slipcover pretty well - make it with thick washable fabric, though. A few things I covered didn't clean very well because I was using (adorable) not-very-sturdy fabric. It made me very sad to see my covers either fall apart or start to look filthy too quickly. The most recent ones were done with black cotton duck with more decorative pillows and they held up really well with 3 kids and a cat. (Although, orange fur on black, quite regrettable.)
posted by artychoke at 8:11 AM on June 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

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