Make over a dull, tired armchair with colourful fabrics.
Patchwork furniture is the hot, hot, hot decorating trend right now. If you haven't got big bucks to spend on a designer piece, you can make your own! Simply rescue a preloved chair that has removable cushion covers, give it a makeover with a fresh coat of paint, then add handmade patchwork covers in bold new fabrics. Wow!Scatter cushion
Using graph paper, sketch a design (to scale), showing how you want your patchwork pieces to fit together. Cut fabric pieces to desired size, allowing a 1cm seam, and stitch together for the front. Cut a single piece of fabric to the same size for cushion back. With right sides together, stitch front to back, leaving an opening in one side. Turn right side out, fill with insert and slip stitch closed.Patched up
Get inspired by the endless possibilities in colour and texture to create an upholstered patchwork chair or sofa that's truly one of a kind. For a quirky Alice in Wonderland feel, pep up traditional vintage fabrics with pretty pastel florals, or toss in some statement brights. The only limit is your imagination.
- Use up the smaller scraps from your main covers by whipping up a couple of scatter cushion covers - easy!
- If your foam inserts are a bit saggy, get new ones - you want your new covers to look their best! Foam rubber is widely available and not very expensive, and you can have it cut to size.
Gather your supplies
Old chair with removable foam cushion and cushion covers
Dulux Quick-Dry Undercoat
White Knight Quick-Dry Spray Gloss in Ivory (or colour to suit)
Firm fabrics in a pleasing combination of colours
Iron-on Velcro tape
General sewing supplies
To protect your new covers from inevitable spills and make them last longer, give them a coat of Scotchgard fabric protector.
- Step 1: Remove cushions from chair and sand frame to remove old varnish and smooth out any rough spots. Apply an undercoat, then finish with 2 coats of spray gloss in ivory (or a colour to complement your fabrics).
- Step 2: Remove cushion covers and turn inside out. Measure length and width of top and bottom of both seat and backrest covers to use for pattern. You’ll be making 1 top, 1 bottom and 4 side panels for each new cover.
- Step 3: Transfer measurements to brown paper. Rule them up carefully, then add 2cm for ease and seam allowance. To make pattern for sides of each cover, measure length and width of 1 side of old cover. Transfer measurements to brown paper and again add 2cm. If top of your cover is a square, then each side panel will be the same size – if your cover is not a square, be sure to make a separate pattern for each different side piece. For side panel at back of cushion, add an extra 4cm to the width measurement as well as the seam allowance because you will be cutting this panel in half for the opening.
- Step 4: Make a sketch of how you want patchwork pieces to fit together on your covers and on any extra scatter cushions. Try to avoid awkward corners – your aim should be to sew everything together in straight rows. Don’t make pieces too small – larger patches give a more contemporary look.
- Step 5: Cut fabric for patchwork top, a plain piece for the bottom and different colours for each of the side panels. Remember to add 1cm seam allowance on your patchwork fabrics.
- Step 6: Following your design, stitch patchwork pieces together, 1 row at a time. Finish raw edges of seams with zigzag stitch, then sew rows together, 1 after another. Lay paper pattern over patchwork fabric and trim to size, if necessary.
- Step 7: To create opening in side panel at back of cushion cover, fold larger side panel in half lengthways, then finger-press and cut along the fold line to give 2 equal pieces.
- Step 8: Press 1cm to wrong side on 1 long edge of 1 piece. On other piece, press 1cm to right side on 1 long edge.
- Step 9: Cut a strip of Velcro that is 2cm shorter than length of side panel. Position each Velcro part along pressed edges of panels, leaving 1cm seam allowance at each end and aligning edge of Velcro with fold of fabric. The inner edge of Velcro should extend beyond raw edge and cover it completely. Press Velcro in place. For extra strength, you could also stitch Velcro in place. Close Velcro seam on panels, then centre paper pattern on top and trim width to size, if necessary.
- Step 10: With right sides together and allowing 1cm seams, stitch side panels together, end to end, forming a circle. With right sides together, pin patchwork top to side panel section, matching seams on side panels to corners of top. Take care to allow a little ease at corners so that they are not too tight. Stitch seam as pinned, lifting the presser foot and pivoting on the needle at the corners. Repeat this process for bottom of cover. Turn right-side out through the back opening and fill cover with cushion insert. Finally, fasten Velcro seams to close.