How to Make a Flirty Chair Skirt ~ Part 1

Flirty skirts… We all like wearing those cute swingy skirts
when we are young and sometimes we even
like wearing short flirty skirts when we get
a little bit older.

But, today I’m sharing about how to
make a fun and flirty chair 
slipcover skirt!

Me ripping the dropcloth fabric horizontally to make the skirting.
Cutting off my own head aside…
Making a dropcloth chair cover skirt
is a pretty easy project!

Figuring out fabric layout

The dropcloth used for this project is a
9′ x 12′  dropcloth, 8-oz. deniér
{thickness of the cloth}
although dropcloths come in 5′ x 5′ very lightweight
and a heavier 10-oz. weight in various sizes.
Use the presewn edges in your design ~
this saves time in sewing and pressing.

Work on the skirting first, since this will be the first piece
cut out of the dropcloth.

Fabric is made up of warp and weft threads. 
The warp are the longitudinal up and down threads.
The weft are the horizontal or sideways threads.
Since dropcloths are made up of different cloth selvages
sewn together, use the pre-sewn top and bottom
parts of the “rectangle” for your skirting.

Figure out how long you’d like your skirting.
Mark with a pin.
{I used the chair itself as a guide ~ roughly 1/3 of the length of the height
up to the top of the chair seat.}

If you would like a ruffle around your seamline
then add 2 1/4″ {or more} ~ for turning under 1/4″
and another 1″ down for a roughly 3/4″ ruffle
once finally sewn in.

Cut your fabric including the extra mentioned above
for the seam allowance and ruffle, if desired.

Tip #1~ Ripping the Fabric

You can cut the skirting all the way across
marking each side and intervals all the way across
to keep the line straight as you cut, but it’s easier to
cut the thick turned edge and cut just slightly
into the fabric and then rip quickly
across the fabric!*

Ripping the fabric is an old quilting and sewing trick that
works best in cotton-based fabrics.
It makes perfectly square pieces of fabric once the
first edge is ripped.

Sometimes you’ll buy a shirt or pants or a skirt
that was cut slightly “off” and you may not know
WHY you don’t like
wearing that item of clothing
but chances are the fabric wasn’t cut perfectly 
right to begin with.
This is where the ripping trick eliminates
that fabric torsion.
{my term for that phenomena!}
*I tested the first skirt and checked the two sides and they were within a 1/4″ of being equal in length.
Not an issue as the two sides won’t be sewn together and will be sewn onto opposite sides of the
chair seat top.  If you think whatever you are creating may be really affected by uneven weave,
then rip a small piece off the bottom to create your “even edge,” then measure to the length you need
and rip the final piece, adding in for needed turning of a new seam.  🙂
This shows the vertical length I decided upon.  The pin actually shows where I’m planning to run my seam line
{at the pin line and across}.  Don’t be afraid to pin right into your chair’s fabric and padding to help hold your
fabric as you are designing!  🙂  Unless the cover is leather, most woven fabrics won’t be harmed by this.

Making the Seat Pattern

Patterns can be made using anything ~ newsprint
and parchment paper work best.
On newspaper, you can draw lines easily with a marker.

With regular kitchen parchment paper
it’s opaque so you can see what is underneath.
It doesn’t tape together well so you may
want to pin it when combining several pieces
together on big projects.
{or use packing tape, which works better}
Big sewing and craft stores also sell
wider parchment paper.
Lay out your parchment on top of your seat and 
draw around where you want your seam to be.

Make slits in the pattern for the upper chair’s
back posts and push the pattern back enough
to create the back seam {plus selvage}.
When actually cutting the fabric, leave extra fabric
around the edges for surrounding the posts are cut ~
these will become the 1/2″ lengths for finishing those edges.

Draw across the back piece for skirting
across the back of the chair, if desired.

Make a tuck at each front corner ~ open up when actually cutting out fabric pieces.  The final seam line is shown.

Here’s the actual cutting line, sewing line and pleat opened up.

Lay out your seat piece on the remaining dropcloth fabric

cutting out as many seat pieces as needed.
Keep the middle of the seat pattern
{as if you are facing the chair’s seat from the front}
centered on one vertical thread
of the dropcloth.

A vertical line can be drawn through 
the middle of the pattern piece 
if needed to assist with this.

If you are new to sewing, stay as close to
the fabric’s selvage edge when pinning
and cutting to conserve the middle of 
the fabric for future projects.

***Next week in Part 2, I’ll be making
a top for the chair back!***

This photo just shows the pre-sewn edge and bottom of the original fabric (middle piece) from the fabric’s wrong side.

Sewing Seams

Sew all of your seams turning under a 1/4″ then
once again along each side seam and
any other seams as needed.

Sew 1/8″ to 1/4″ from the turned down upper
seam of the skirting pieces.  
This will also become your sewing line and 
point of reference for pinning to the seat top.

Tip #2 ~ Making Perfect Seams

I used to sew turned down edges from the wrong side of 
the fabric but I’ve found that if evenly sewn seams on the
right side is what is wanted, sewing from the 
right side of the fabric is the way to go.

This also helps with uneven bobbin tension
and bobbin “globs” of extra thread
that often happen.
{hides those infernal things on the fabric’s wrong side}
Line up the turned seam using the guides on
the machines feed dog plate on one measurment
as you sew.

*I also like to use a finger on my right hand underneath 
along the lower turned edge as a guide, too.
This alerts me as to when I might come to a section that is shallower or uneven than all the rest so that small movements
can be made during this topstitching to “catch” the 
underneath edge into the seam.
This is where sewing from the front comes in handy!

Attach outer edges of skirt to very back of chair seat with pins. Pin roughly 1/3 of the fabric length to each front corner,
then begin splitting by halves and pin until fully pinned.

Gathering the Skirt and Sewing

On thin fabrics like lightweight cottons, the old way of
sewing two rows of very loose threads along
each piece’s seam selvage works well.
{lengthen your stitch length to 4 or above and sew at 1/2″ and 3/8″ from a piece’s edge}
The bobbin thread of both rows would then be pulled, gathered
and arranged over the adjoining fabric piece, and finally sewn with a permanent regular-length stitch over top.

This is pretty time consuming and doesn’t work
with thick fabrics like dropcloth canvas or
blue jeans or upholstery weight materials.


It’s done by dividing in half, over and over
until all the fabric sections are pinned
in place.

The photograph above shows pulling the fabric
straight out finding “the middle” of this section.

This “center” is now pinned to the eyeballed
“middle” of this open section.
Put your pins in vertically instead of

This photo shows the skirting fabric being
pulled out slightly more than 1/3 of
the total fabric to put a little more
on each side than infront.

Once fully pinned on, stand back and eyeball
whether the “seam line” will be level.
Adjust up or down in areas as necessary.
A Pinterest worthy image.

Sew the skirt and final edges

Sew along your already topstitched line
catching in the seat top’s fabric

The pleats on the front corners can be
pre-sewn or you can just do it in
with this seam as you go.
Totally up to your comfort level
sewing multiple steps
at a time!

Turn down twice the edges around
the chair legs and sew making
a 3-sides box.

Sew on the back piece of the skirt to the chair seat piece’s
back area separately from the rest of the skirting.
This skirt edge will always be put on
separately and will hide any fabric closures
added later to hold the chair 
slipcover in place.

That’s it folks for the end of Part 1!
***Next week in Part 2, I’ll be making
a top for the chair backs!***
Looking for that perfect stencil now…

I put a small video out on
yesterday and another out on my
YouTube channel
sharing how to sew and pin the skirt and
some of these things in more detail.
They are first attempt videos and I know there are filming boo-boos
but thought I’d share anyway. XD!

I’d love it if you’d check
those out and subscribe to my feeds!
Thank you.

Past dropcloth project I worked on:
Sofa Slipcovers
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 ~ Ruching
Settee Cover Reveal

Sharing with
Sweet Inspiration ~ The Boondocks Blog
Friday at the Firestation ~ A Fireman’s Wife
Friendship Friday ~ Create with Joy
Home Matters ~ Life with Lorelai

See you next time!

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