By Shari Hiller and Matt Fox
Scripps Howard News Service
Sometimes dining chairs don’t seem very welcoming or comfortable. In fact, wood-back chairs often aren’t very comfy and can cause a lovely dinner to be cut short. Well, never fear, a solution is here: chair-back covers. We wish we’d padded ours a bit, but that is certainly something you could add.
This is an easy project as long as the backs of your dining chairs are fairly straight up and down. Additional curves will make it tougher for the fabric to stay against the chair since the panels are only held to the chair with ribbons.
Paper to make a chair-back pattern
Fabric of your choice (about 2 yards per chair — depending, of course, on the size of the chair)
Thread to match
Satin ribbon or grosgrain to match or coordinate
1. Begin by laying the back of the dining chair flat against a piece of paper large enough to make a pattern, and trace around the back of the chair. Cut out the pattern.
2. Pin the pattern to the fabric you’ve chosen and cut out four of the pattern pieces. Two will be for the front panel and two for the back panel. Make sure to add 1/2 inch all the way around for seam allowance.
3. Determine where to locate the ribbons to best hold the covers in place. We selected seven different positions — three across the top and two on each side. The area where the top met the sides and created a bit of a jut-out in the design had a tendency to fold back at times.
If you have a similar design, consider using interfacing on the fabric to make it stiffer. Adding a bit of padding would certainly help as well.
4. Cut two 9-inch pieces of ribbon for every location. Pin one piece of ribbon in each predetermined place along two of the fabric pieces. Pin them to the right side of the fabric with the ribbons extending to the center of the fabric, not to the outside.
5. With right sides together and ribbons to the inside, pin two pattern pieces together — one with ribbons and one without. Sew the panels together, leaving an opening at the bottom to turn the chair cover right side out.
6. Trim the seam, clip the curves and turn the chair-back cover right side out. Take the cover to an ironing board and carefully iron the cover flat, making sure the side seams are pulled out as far as they can go to match the pattern you made. Then hand-stitch the opening closed.
7. Tie two panels onto the back of each dining chair — one on the front and the other on the back.
—Shari Hiller and Matt Fox are best known for HGTV’s “Room by Room.” They now host the PBS television series “Around the House with Matt and Shari.” Visit them on their website, www.mattandshari.com