I have a little confession: it’s not completely finished. But the back and bottom cushions are slip-covered and, since a lot of gliders don’t even have arm cushions, I’ll explain how I did these and then update this post when I do get the arms completed. Here’s how she’s looking at the moment…
Even without arm cushions, I still think it’s a vast improvement on the boring blue that is hiding underneath the pretty new covers, don’t you?
You Will Need:
– An ugly glider
– 2-3 yards of fabric (I used Waverly Cross Section in Charcoal)
– Sew-on Velcro and/or sew-on snap closures
– Needle & thread
– Sewing machine (I have a Singer Simple – it’s the most basic, cheapest model Singer makes, and it’s great for a proper beginner like me. Also, if you buy one from Jo-Ann Fabrics, they do a free “How to Use Your Machine” class which was really helpful.)
The Back Cushion:
I actually started on the arms, made a big mess and gave up, then did the back cushion. But I’ll skip that first bit and start with the successful part instead. 😉
I should point out, in case you’re not aware, that I do not know how to sew. This is the first thing I have ever made, so this tutorial is designed for beginners. I’m sure there are better ways of doing things but this is what worked for me. 🙂 I chose slip-covers over just recovering the cushions, which I think is probably more difficult (if you picked the original covers apart, you’d have a pattern to work from at least), but slip-covers are removable and washable, which is what you want for a piece of furniture that’s probably going to get spit up on on a regular basis.
I began by removing the back cushion from the glider, laying it out on my new fabric and cutting two pieces of fabric big enough to make a slip cover.
(Apologies for the horrendously out of focus pictures – hopefully you still get the idea!)
You could probably pin instead, but I thought this was a more fool-proof way of making sure that when I sewed it on the machine, it would be a good fit.
…then sewed over the ironed seams with the machine:
I used sew-on snap closures to hold the opening together (like these), but if I did this again, I’d use Velcro like I did on the seat cushion (see below) because I think it looks tidier when the slip cover is on the cushion. Sorry, no picture of this step, but I promise it’s very straight-forward – just sew a few on at intervals along the bottom edges of the opening. I also sewed the edges (a couple of inches on either side) with the machine. I did a better job on the seat cushion than the back cushion for this step, so I’ll explain this part better later on.
And with that, the back cushion was done. Just the seat and arms left to do…
The Seat Cushion:
The seat cushion went pretty much the same way as the back cushion. The only difference was that because it was thicker, I had to make a few little adjustments.
Again, I began by removing the seat cushion from the glider and laying it out on the floor between two wrong-way-round pieces of fabric. I then pinned along the back on the cushion in a straight line. I hadn’t needed to do this for the back cushion because it was easier to see that the pattern was straight with the thinner cushion. Obviously, if you’re using a solid, it wouldn’t be so important.
I tacked all the way around the cushion again, aiming to keep the seam at the bottom of the pillow rather than in the middle – I thought it would be easier that way because I’d only have to deal with one lot of corner folds.
Speaking of corner folds (which I’m sure is not the technical term), I pinned them in place as I tacked the edges:
All tacked and pinned, it looked like this:
Then I removed the pins, took the cushion out, and sewed the sides and top on the machine. When that was done, I put the cushion back in to test the fit:
Then turned it the right way round to admire my handiwork. This way round, though, it was easier to see that the fit wasn’t as tight as I’d have liked.
See how the left and right sides aren’t even? One was too loose, and the whole seam along the top could have been tighter too (it’s not that obvious in the picture, but it was enough to bug me). Thankfully, this is an easy problem to solve – I turned it all inside out again, re-pinned it for a better fit, and then sewed along the pins, removing them as I went:
This time when I tested it, it was perfect. 🙂
Now I just had to finish the bottom. I started by folding the fabric inward and ironing along the seam.
I used sew-on Velcro this time. The top row of pins in this picture was my guide to make sure I left enough fabric for a neat closure, then I pinned the Velcro on underneath, removed the cushion again, and sewed around the edges of the Velcro on the machine:
I tested it when I was done, and it was a good fit – the pattern even matched up pretty well:
To finish the corners, I folded the fabric inwards and pinned it on the outside.
I removed the cushion again and sewed along the seams I’d pinned from the outside, removing the pins as I went:
I put the cushion back in again and was happy with the fit again – yay!
I just had to make one more tie to hold this cushion to the chair frame. I used the same method as for the seat back ties – ironing the seams the way I wanted them to sit before sewing them on the machine – only this one was shorter and wider and used Velcro.
I pinned it to the seat cover where I wanted it, then sewed it on the machine. I went over it three times to make it extra strong.
With the seat cover finished, it looked like this:
And with that, the seat cushion was done!
The Arm Cushions:
Like I said, I haven’t finished the arm cushions yet. I actually only finished the seat at 10 last night (which is past my bed time as it is), and it’s taken me till now to write up this post, so I’ll get to it later. Having done the two big cushions though, I have a much better idea of how to tackle the arms, so I’m definitely not as intimidated as I was! I’ll update this post/tutorial when they’re done.
Before & After:
Want another look at how far we’ve come?
Honestly, even though it’s not finished, I’m really pleased with how far it’s come. And I wouldn’t have even started it without the motivation that the Imagine the Possibilities Challenge gave me! (Thanks to bloggy friend Linda at It All Started With Paint for introducing me to it!)