DIY Project: Seat Cover

The blue velvet rocker...when hubby and I moved to Texas in 2000, this chair came with us. My parents owned the chair for a number of years, and as a teenager, I remember my dad removing the brown vinyl seat cover and sewing this amazing blue velvet replacement. Yes my dad sewed it, that was not a typo, and yes it went from a brown vinyl to blue velvet. It was an upgrade of epic proportions.

For years the blue velvet chair didn't match anything else in our house, and it was sadly relegated to a corner in the spare bedroom. I liked the rocker, but I didn't like that the blue velvet collected cat fur. Lots of cat fur. At the time, I owned two cats (RIP Stanley and Sniper!), and it became a favorite napping spot. Copious amounts of vacuuming could not remove even the first layer of fur, so I gave up trying and the chair just collected more and more fur.

Last fall we moved to a beautiful house in a really nice neighborhood where people surely don't have blue velvet seat rockers covered in cat fur. Without further adieu, here's how to change out a seat cover DIY style (or with a small army of willing participants).

You will need:
  • your choice of fabric (cost about $8 from Ikea)
  • upholstery tacks (cost about $3 for 2 boxes from Home Depot)
  • a sister with a sewing machine
  • a husband with strong hands
  • hammer
  1. Remove the old seat cover. You will need the use of your husband's strong hands to remove the old tacks holding the fabric in place, and also to remove bolts holding the rocker together. Curse level: 2 (out of a possible high of 5).
  2. Go outside with the now removed cover and shake it a lot to get the fur off. Keep shaking until your arm hurts and the sidewalk is covered with your dead cat's fur. Curse level: 1.
  3. The old seat cover is now your template to sew a new seat cover. No need for measuring! Stick it in a shipping box with your selected fabric and mail it to your sister and her sewing machine. This step may take a shorter amount of time if you are skilled enough to have your own sewing machine, otherwise you could end up waiting a few months for your sister to mail back the new cover. Curse level: 1.
  4. Months later when the box arrives from your sister with your new seat cover, take the chair apart and start yanking the cover over the foam. You cannot do this alone or you will end up with bloody knuckles like I did. Stretching the fabric took about 30 minutes. Curse level: 3.
  5. Now you're ready for tacks! I bought two boxes of tacks, which was barely enough. I suppose it would have been the perfect amount if I didn't crookedly hammer every other tack. They are not easy to pound through fabric nor into the wood behind the fabric. Curse level: 4.
Total cost: Less than $12
Time: Approx. 3 hours
Total # of curses: 11 out of a possible 25

Stay tuned for the next segment where I change out the kitchen chair seat covers...