Help, my favorite chair needs a cover up
February 12, 2013 in Design Dilemma
The arms and top of this chair (a very old one) are well worn from my little dog sitting on them and I need to cover those parts up, but I can't find a pattern in any of the stores for just the arms and top for this type of chair. Any suggestions?
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Interiors International, Inc.
Slip cover or reupholster.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 4:47PM
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can't afford to reupholster. Just thought I could make a cover for the arms and top that would match the color.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 5:09PM
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How about slip covering "short" so the tassles still show.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Mardew, your chair has beautiful lines and I think anything less than reupholstery will do it an injustice ...But what about purchasing a table runner laying it over one arm, carry it underneath the cushion and then bring it over the other arm?? Crazy idea that might work on a temporary basis!
3 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Perhaps a full reupholstery might be out of the question, but perhaps an upholsterer may be able to change the fabric under the fringing to a colour-matched plain one and use the 'borrowed' fabric for armcovers.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 5:37PM
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My grandmother had rectangular lace doilies that she put on the arms of her chairs. They were fastened with special pins made for the purpose..
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Ironwood Builders
Is there a county extension or a community college offering classes in upholstery near you? My mom and I re-upholstered most of the furniture in our house when I was a teenager, still do a lot of my own. That looks to be a complicated piece with the channel back and rolled arms...but take the table runner idea to buy some time, scat the dog off the chair (or he'll ruin the next one too) take a class and learn the way it is done, then do some other simpler pieces from the Goodwill and when you feel ready...go for your favorite chair.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 6:17PM
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The term for those headrest and arm coverings is antimacassers...although my family just called them doilies
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 6:24PM
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Usually, we just trace a pattern in newspaper held directly against the arm. The part that covers the top of the arm can go as far back as you like. The top part can be fitted but will not look great, no matter what. Take the seat cushion to the fabric store to pick a coordinating fabric. If you are lucky, you'll find some upholstery fabric in a similar colorway, but don't bet on it. There may be more choices in lightweight quilting fabric because that's mainly what fabric stores carry these days.

Or take the simple route: buy two terry handtowels and one large bathtowel if the dog will continue to sit on the chair.

Or look into the "dog" slipcovers from
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 6:42PM
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I hope this all doesn't sound too harsh, but I assumed three things in this plea for suggestions:
- budget is an issue
- matching the fabric after all this time is an issue, and it would be a different colour through fading now anyway
- a middle to older chair owner

Just started an upholstery course after years of also watching my mother and then 'pratting about' myself to save money and take on a challenge with throw-outs and hand-me-downs with slipcovers and fixed covers trying to turn an ugly duckling into that elusive swan. Results were mixed - the fabric covering was good, but a wonky chair remains a wonky chair despite disassembly and reassembly.... I'm going to get advice on that from the learned one.

Our no-nonsense tutor began by letting the students know we would leave with sore backs, hands and shoulders, but no fingernails. He showed us his toolkit and offered to sell these at 'trade' rates, as they are not readily available at Joe Bloggs' Hardware. They also do not come cheaply nor warranted for the 'prat abouts' such as myself. So this 'tack' - pardon the pun - of self-upholstery is not for the feint of heart (or body it would seem).... although one eager soul brought along a chair that needs diamond buttoning, without any previous upholstery experience - bless her!

Nevertheless, I stand by the suggestion to 'cut and paste' some of the original fabric by someone who is better equipped, qualified and more eager to take it on.

All that being said, the replacement will still wear out with regular family use and probably faster with dog-use.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Thank you all for your ideas. Linda, I think your idea is exactly what I was looking for. The color doesn't have to be an exact match, just something that will go with what I have. Now I have to go and find material that will look good. Thank you all.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 7:16PM
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Scott's Creative Home
If you we're wanting the same fabric, you could always remove the skirt under the bullion trim and use it to make arm covers. This could buy you sometime. Certainly a complementary fabric for a headrest and arm covers would give the chair new life.
0 Likes   February 12, 2013 at 7:24PM
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I've always loved what they did with the chair in this Houzz photo. It's something I wouldn't think to do, yet it looks great:

1 Like   February 12, 2013 at 7:40PM
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