A Simple Slipcover Fix for a Complicated Wing Back Chair

Harden Wing Back ChairHarden Wing Back Chair Slipcover

Just when I thought I knew everything there is to know about slipcovering a wing back, this Harden chair showed up to teach me a thing or two.

At first glance I thought this piece looked like any other classic wing back. I’ve slipcovered many similar designs so I was sure this project was going to be easy-peasy.

Turns out, pin fitting this chair, especially the wings, was anything but easy. Let me tell you, there was a lot of S & S (swearing and seam ripping) going on around here!

In today’s post, I share the fit problem I had with this project and how I fixed it with a surprisingly simple solution.

Bowed Shape Wing Chair

Take a close look at this wing design. The outer wing bows outward quite a bit at the mid-section instead of bending slightly inward.

Naturally, the welt cord seam, which connects the outer and inner wings, sits right on that bowed curve.  Spoiler alert: this is exactly the area that threw me for a loop.

When I pin fit a wing back I like to follow the upholstery seams to ensure I capture the beautiful curved lines of the chair.

Wrapping the fabric smoothly across the inner wing to meet the outer wing usually isn’t difficult. I make several release cuts along the curved seam allowance as I pin. As a result, the fabric relaxes and lays flat.

But on this chair, no matter how many times I tried, I could not get the inner wing fabric to wrap smoothly. Each attempt I made to join that piece to the outer wing the fabric would ripple or buckle or crease. Believe me, it was not pretty.

Just as I managed to smooth the fabric in one area a new fit problem cropped up in another area. I realized following the upholstery seams wasn’t going to work.

No way was I going to use up more of my customer’s yardage for another round of problem solving.  So, I did what I always do when I need to work through a challenging fit issue. I made a pattern.

Using solid fabric I had on hand in a similar weight to my customer’s fabric, I cut the pieces larger than needed and starting pinning the wing one more time. I felt free to experiment, mark on the pattern and make mistakes without worry.

Slipcover Fit Solution for a Wing Back Chair

Once I stopped trying to force the inner wing fabric to go where it didn’t want to go, I discovered how to fix the problem pretty quickly: move the welt seam inwards and cut the inner wing on the bias.

Revised Inner Wing Placement on Slipcover

Here’s why this simple solution worked so well:

Placing the welt seam about 1 inch in from the upholstered seam straightened out the curve just enough to allow the inner wing fabric to fall into place easily.

Cutting the inner wing on the bias gave the fabric extra give, which also helped make the piece relax and lay flat over the curves.

Taking the time to work through the fit issue paid off big time. My customer loves the finished piece. Yay!!

The Slipcover Maker Custom Cover for Harden Chair

Thanks for following along, everyone! I hope this post inspires a slipcover project of your own. Dive in, experiment and have fun!

Custom Slipcover for Harden Wing Back Chair

 

15 thoughts on “A Simple Slipcover Fix for a Complicated Wing Back Chair

  1. Elizabeth Poole Smith

    Stunning work! Did you leave the original upholstery in place or remove it before putting on the new?

  2. Paula Carli

    I think I would have given up but not you!!! I love the lines with that beautiful fabric and a FAB job. I am almost ready for a new wingback chair slipcover myself!

  3. esterhudson62

    I like the way your new wing seam lines up with the bottom sides of the chair. It gives a good straight edged, top to bottom view…it also appears you widened the front arm panel; this makes it look so soft. I must say, I’d have screaming trying to sew this.😁. It’s really lovely.❤️

  4. Pamela Turner

    What a stunning finished product! Your fine skill on this piece gives the appearance of being reupholstered. Lovely work and lovely fabric.

  5. Susan Selckman Floccari

    OMG… this chair is beautiful.. and your work is stunning… wicked smart to cut that win on the bias… I don’ think it would have layed correctly any other way… well done!!!

  6. slipcovermaker Post author

    Thanks, Ester! Yes, I added a tiny amount of ease around the bottom curve of the front arm. That prevents the
    fabric from pulling in that area. I think that large print motif made the arm and the entire chair look wider, bigger.

  7. esterhudson62

    Lovely! One of my favorite things about your work is how you re-proportion the looks of your pieces by re-shaping the cover to freshen it up the existing lines.I pay attention to this…alas I’m no master at slipcovers, sometimes it’s like shaping a human body..Thx for your reply, have a warm holiday season. ( No doubt you will as you have plenty of fabric!)

Comments are closed.