DIY wing chair slip cover with sweet potato print

When looking around in blogosphere land, the pre-holiday-busyness-syndrome definitely did not seem to have kept everyone from blogging, but it did me… so far. Today I want to share about finally making a slip cover for a dearly beloved and tremendously cozy wing chair. It won’t be a full blown tutorial, since there are already so many great tutorials out there. But I will share which tutorials I used and also add some tweaks I made and preferences for techniques.

chair

I have had this chair for about 20 years now – yes, time does pass! Back then my mother had gotten it from my grandparents and had it newly upholstered for me. I had asked her then to just have it done with a simple white muslin, because I wanted to sew my own slip cover! You might be wondering: did I make a slip cover back then and just felt like making a new one now? Nope, no slip cover in the last 20 years…. but since I also liked it in white I did not feel too bad all those years to never having gotten to sewing one.

Collage

But finally, just before the year 2015 switches over to 2016, I started talking about making a slip cover again. I guess it helped that with time the white muslin started to show some not so attractive aging signs, like a slightly yellowish hue mainly on the armrests. Maybe I had needed just that to finally actually make the slip cover.
Since both my husband and I love creating patterns, we decided to make the fabric together and chose to go for a sweet potato print, inspired by Christine Schmidt’s book Print Workshop – Hand-Printing Techniques + Truly Original Projects. 

First I cut the fabric into rectangular pieces, roughly fitting the main areas of my wing chair. Then I pinned them to the chair and drew a more exact outline, to then cut the different pattern pieces with quite an abundant seam allowance. The next step was to print the pattern pieces.  I collected some of the tutorials on how to do this on one of my pinterest boards, and I especially liked this one.

Printing: Using a linol cutter set and sharp kitchen knife, we cut the sweet potatoes and one regular potato (for the yellow leaf), carving the feather or leaf-like shapes. For the actual printing we mixed our own fabric color by adding fabric medium to acrylic paint we already had at home. You’ll find a few pins  about making your own fabric color on my pinterest board, and a more detailed tutorial here.
I personally like it best to put the color onto the potatoes with a foam stencil brush, because in my experience it is the best way to apply the color evenly. It is always good to use a scrap of the fabric you will end up using to make some test prints to get a feel for how much color exactly to put on and also how hard to press to get the result you want.

Sewing: Once we had all the pattern pieces printed it was time to finally sew the chair cover together. This did challenge my patience, but the end result was definitely worth some of the swearing along the way.
I pinned the printed pattern pieces on the chair and then basted them together as close to the chair as possible, then marked the exact sewing line along the original seam lines of the chair and trimmed off some of the excess fabric.
Many posts say to pin the pattern pieces, but to me it was easier and also better to take it off the chair for sewing with having it basted. After that it just took some diligent sewing, and testing the fit on the chair in between, until finally the slip cover I wanted to make for 20 years was done! Overall I would say: just start doing it, read a few tutorials, but then also feel free to follow your own common sense in how exactly to sew it together and in which order.

chair-with-pillow

Since it is quite a busy pattern, I wanted a pillow to add a calm element, using a solid gray fabric onto which I sewed just one of the potato print elements to connect it to the chair. Voila, done! And I really enjoy taking my cup of coffee in it in the morning, looking out into the morning sky.

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