Slipcover Fit Tips for a Modern Club Chair
At first glance, this Room & Board chair looked super simple to slipcover. Then, it got tricky. In this post, I share how I worked with the boxy shape and modern design to create a custom fit.
Club chairs come in all shape and sizes. Some designs are sleek and boxy. Others have a soft rounded inner back and curved, sloped arms.
This chair, even though it’s a very simple modern style, just happened to a have all of those features.
As I began to pin fit, I realized there were certain areas of the chair that angled, bowed or bulged out. I had a hunch the fabric wasn’t going to drape, shape and lay flat easily.
Take a look at the arms on the upholstered piece. You will see:
- The inner and outer arm is one piece.
- No seam or tucks on the outer arm to help contour the shape.
- The arms slope from front to back.
- The front arms bow at the outer seams.
That’s a lot going on!
I wanted to replicate the one piece arm to maintain the simple, modern style. That meant I had to start with a very large piece of fabric — larger than what I would normally cut for an arm.
Then, I just kept shifting the placement backward, forward, right and left over the arm until I found the right position where I could pin the fabric flat and keep the straight grain on the outer arm.
But excess fabric has to go somewhere when pinning this type of arm. In this case, it ended up at the inner arm (where it connects to the inner back).
I discovered I could remove the unwanted ripples of fabric by smoothing and shaping the inner arm curve as I cut. I was able to create a nice smooth fit over the entire arm without the need for tucks or darts that are typically placed at the back outer arm.
This is when I wish making a video was part of my super powers. It would be so much easier to show you than write about it. Ha!
Once the inner / outer arm was in place, the bowed front arm piece was easy to pin. I just followed the upholstery welt cord edge to copy the shape.
The other tricky area was the inner back.
Normally pinning fabric to that area of a chair is pretty straight forward and easy to do. However, when the inner back is rounded AND poufy — like my chair — fabric will resist laying flat and smooth.
As a result, a fair amount of excess fabric gets pushed towards the upper back during the pin fitting. To create a smooth fit across the inner back, I gathered the extra fabric into a deep tuck at each corner.
In addition, I copied the narrow boxing design from the upholstery. The flat panel sits on top of the inner back and down the sides. It decreases the bulge and omits gathers in those areas.
I use that boxing method often to reduce fullness on other types of rounded back pieces like this wingback chair.
The rest of the pin fitting was very easy once I conquered the opposing angles and poufy bulges. Whew!
Thanks for following! Have a creative week. — Karen
How would you make arm protectors that stay on the arms? I have a similar chair and the arm protectors slip off at the slightest touch!
This is beautiful!! Sounds like a tricky pin fit! Can you tell me about how much yardage you used? Just a ballpark number would be great! I have a chair that would look amazing in this fabric! Cathy
Cathy, that chair took 8 yards, 56″ wide fabric. The chair looks big but actually it had a small foot print.
I love reading how you think through the fitting process!
Tracey, I hope my pin fit experiences are helpful to you!
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