How to Recover a Chair Cushion



Today’s I’ll show you how to use an old chair cushion cover to make a new one.  This will finish up my thinking chair makeover & give me a comfy spot to think!  Since this cushion has a “T” shape, there are a few tricks I’ll show you to get around those corners & curves.  I’ll also talk about putting in a zipper & piping.  You’ll see how easy it can be to recover a chair cushion!

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recover a chair cushion

Making Templates

This chair cushion had a zipper, which meant it was removable.  I took it off & took it apart with the seam ripper!

I gave the pieces I needed for templates a good press to iron out the seams.  Ultimately I decided to leave the plastic piping cord out because I prefer cotton.  Plastic piping is a pain!

These pieces are the top & bottom, the side panel, & the zipper panels.  I also saved the zipper to use for the new cover.  Here are the fabrics I chose for the replacement cover.

The top one is a thinner jean material for the top & bottom.  The middle fabric is for the piping & the bottom one is for the side panel.

Just pin the top or bottom to the doubled fabric & cut it out.  I did straighten out that curve at the bottom a little which is from wear of the cushion.

When dealing with the side panels & zipper flaps, I measured the length & width in several spots.  I cut the fabric with the measurements of the pieces because they were a little warped from wear.

Adding the Zipper

Sewing a zipper into the back panels is about the easiest way to learn how to do a zipper.  This is just a quick view & I’m thinking about doing a full post later on inserting zippers.

  1. Find centers & align.
  2. Flip fabric over zipper, faces together, & pin.  Make sure centers are aligned.
  3. Stitch close to zipper using a zipper foot.  I usually have to go down this twice to make sure I get a straight line.
  4. Flip the fabric over & press.

Then you’ll just do the other side the same way!

You’ll also need to tuck a folded piece of fabric at each end to work as a zipper stop.  Do this before sewing down the side so you don’t have to use the seam ripper.  How do I know that?  I’ll be you can guess! ; )

Top stitch all around close to the zipper with a zipper foot.  Take care when going over the teeth.  If they are metal, you will need to hand sew at the ends.

Sew one end of the zipper panel to the side panel.  Pin it around the top panel to make sure it fits right, then sew the other two ends together.  {I’m missing some pics here because I got caught up in the sewing action!}

I also decided to add a little batting to the top piece & quilt some lines with fuchsia denim thread.

Inserting Piping

I cut up the fabric into 2″ strips & sewed them together the same as quilt binding.  Originally I was going to reuse the plastic piping cord.  That was a pain because it’s all kinked up & almost impossible to match back up to the bends.

I recommend cotton piping cord for a more flexible {and comfortable} piping.  My cushion will be piping cord-less because I have none on hand.  To add piping cord, just fold the fabric strip in half & tuck the cord in the crease.  Sew down the edges with a zipper foot or piping foot using a basting stitch.

Once the piping is ready, attach it to the top & bottom panel of the cushion.  For the corners, measure the distance from the edge of piping to basting line.  When you get to the corner, mark that distance from the corner {1} & cut almost to the basting line {2}.

This makes it easier to bend the piping around the corner & align the edges {3}.  Using a basting stitch, I sewed all around about 1/4″ from where the main stitch will be.  Don’t worry about open corners, they will be caught when sewing the side panel on.

This cushion had a slight curve at the bottom of the “T” shape.  To get around curves with non-biased trim, put a slit at the point where the trim needs to curve.  Over lap the slit when going around the corner & pin.

The side panel goes on in the same way as the piping except you’ll use the real seam allowance.  Remember to pull the zipper down a little before sewing down the bottom panel.  This is how you will turn it right side out, through the zipper hole!

I realized after I sat down to type this up I’m didn’t take some pictures that might be very helpful!  I will do a tutorial sometime in the future that has more pictures for some of the missing ones here.  Here is what the finished cushion looks like in the chair:

Since there isn’t any piping cord in my piping, it’s kind of just standing up & flat.  That’s okay because it’s still comfy!  This picture makes the chair look a little lighter than it is, but I’m just glad to have my thinking chair back!

Have a marvelous Monday y’all!


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  1. Skye B says:

    Thank you so much for this blog post, it’s actually been really helpful (with cutting at the corners – photos are great!) and has also given me ideas – my lounge needs a makeover, I may attempt to do it myself ?

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