Easy Wingback Slipcover Arm Seams

Slipcover your wingback arm seams with this easy pin-fit method. Use it on your rolled-arm wingback chair to shape, pin, and cut fabric smoothly over the outer arms for a great fit.

Wingback chair with a natural color slipcover.

I love the look of a slipcovered wingback armchair, especially the traditional styles with curvy wings, a rounded top, soft tucks, and timeless rolled arms.

Despite its many details, a wingback chair is fairly straightforward to pin-fit. If you use the right side out pin fit method like I do, you will pin the chair sections in a certain order. Learn how to do it here.

As far as the slipcover seams go, I typically follow the upholstered chair contour and/or seams as placement guides.

Wingback chair with natural canvas slipcover.

Sometimes I modify certain seam placements for better design and function.

For example, I pinned the natural canvas slipcover above with a one-piece outer wing and arm. This is a popular design on slipcovered wingbacks. I followed the chair’s wing and arm contour as the seam placement for my slipcover and it turned out great.

But let me tell you, keeping one big piece of fabric straight (on grain) and smooth as I pinned it in place was tricky. Not to mention cutting the sloped outer arm seam and pinning it to the inner arm and wing without it puckering or pulling!

Is there an easier way to pin-fit the wingback outer arm? Yes, there is!

In this post, I will show you where and how to pin the seam and answer frequently asked questions.

Upholstered wingback chair.

How to Pin Fit Wingback Outer Arms

  1. Place your slipcover outer arm seam ABOVE the upholstered outer arm seam.
  2. Run the seam straight across from the front of the chair to the back.
  3. Keep the arm seam line parallel to the floor. Don’t angle it.

This method makes it easy to pin the outer arm seam with a straight, smooth seam. It also simplifies the process of joining it to the inner arm and outer wing pieces.

Wingback chair with ticking stripe slipcover.

Above is a ticking stripe slipcover I made for the same wingback chair we looked at earlier.

See the outer arm seam placement? It sits slightly above the upholstered arm seam and is sewn straight across. The look is simple and it’s very easy to pin and sew.

Brown wingback chair with arm seam placement.

Let’s look at a few more examples. First up is this tall-back wing chair.

When I slipcovered it in white Carr-Go Canvas, I placed the outer arm seam above the upholstered arm seam but only slightly. That’s because the arm roll was petite and the space underneath it was shallow.

Tall wingback chair with white denim slipcover.

As you can see (photo above) the straight outer arm seam line on the Carr-Go canvas slipcover is parallel to the floor.

Tan upholstered wingback chair.

Next is this beautiful oversized camelback wing chair. Check out the full round shape and steep roll of those arms!

I wanted the outer arm seam on my slipcover to be placed visually proportionate to the scale of the chair. So, I pinned it a bit higher up on the arm than I usually do. I like how it lines up with the center of the front arm.

Wingback chair with natural canvas slipcover.

Above is the natural canvas slipcover I made for the oversized wingback chair. The outer arm seam placement looks in balance with the chair scale and the slipcover design.

Notice how the seam runs straight across the chair and is parallel to the floor.

Brown floral wingback chair.

Lastly is this Harden wide wingback chair. The design and make of this piece is stunning!

I love the look of the rolled arms. They flare out from the chair and are slightly oblong on the front, which leaves a deep space under the roll.

Their unique shape and size inspired me to place my slipcover outer arm seam lower on the arm than I usually do but still well above the upholstered arm seam.

Blue and white leaf print slipcover on wingback chair.

Above is the indigo leaf print slipcover I made for the Harden wingback. You can see how the outer arm seam sits low on the arm without disappearing underneath the roll.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I place my slipcover outer arm seam directly on top of the upholstered arm seam instead of above it?

I don’t recommend it because the upholstered outer arm seam is tucked up under the rolled arm making it difficult to get your fingers in the tight space to pin a smooth, straight seam. That placement is also too low for the slipcover seam to function with good results.

How far up on the upholstered outer arm should I place my slipcover seam?

There isn’t a standard measurement. I like placing the seam on the outer arm before the roll drops off and curls under. Sometimes I place it a little higher or lower depending on the size and fullness of the arm roll.

Should I pin a straight outer arm seam or a one-piece outer wing & arm if I’m slipcovering my wingback in a fabric print?

Either method will work. If your print requires matching, you might want to match the outer wing section to the outer arm section when pinning a straight outer arm seam. See the photo below.

Blue striped slipcover on a wingback chair.

That’s a wrap for this post! I hope you found these wingback arm seam tips helpful and are inspired to try them on your slipcover.


    1. Hello Judith! Yes, I used the 8.5 oz Carr-Go Canvas for the tall wingback chair featured in the post. It’s a medium-weight fabric that works well for slipcovers that get light to moderate use and up to 2 washes per year. The finish is similar to peach skin, not fully brushed. I no longer use or recommend Nick of Time denim. The fabrics I received from them in the past were seconds with a lot of flaws that couldn’t be worked around. Very difficult to make returns and overall poor customer service.

  1. Love that indigo leaf pattern on that sweet little wingback… I might have to look 👀 for another wingback to get slipcovered!! Such classy chairs!

  2. What a wonderful and informative post! I’ve long wondered: is it possible (or advisable!) to slipcover a reclining wingback chair? I see them everywhere to be had for a song, and long for the comfort of a reclining chair with a perfect Karen-style slipcover! What do you think?

  3. Very informative post!!! I would like to ask you if it is possible to show us different types of closures to the slipcovers….for couches or chairs because i always get puzzled where to put the zipper or the buttons for a slipcover so as to look nice, has a good fit and be easy to take it on and off…

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