DIY | How To Make Nursery Glider Slipcovers

The once-tired glider/rocker from the nursery is looking a little bit fresher after I reupholstered it with some new fabric. I put this project off for ages. I don’t know how to sew and it was thoroughly intimidating, but it really wasn’t that hard once I got going. If I can do this, anyone can do this. So here’s a simple tutorial for DIY glider slipcovers if you want to have a go yourself.

DIY Glider Slipcovers Tutorial Before After

You Will Need

  • An ugly ass 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 model Singer makes, and it’s great for a proper beginner. I got mine from JoAnn, and they do a free “How to Use Your Machine” class which was really helpful.)

Back Glider Cushion Slipcover

As I said, I do not know how to sew. This is the first thing I’ve ever made, so this tutorial is very much designed for beginners on the basis of what worked for me.

I chose to make slipcovers over simply recovering the cushions. If you opted to pick the original covers apart, you’d have a pattern to work from, which would make for an easier DIY. But slipcovers are removable and washable. Bit of a no brainer for a piece of furniture that’s going to get spit up on on a regular basis.

I started 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 slipcover.

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - cutting fabric

With the two pieces of fabric pattern to pattern (you’re sewing this inside out), I tacked all the way around the edges. In case you are a newb like me, tacking is loose, hand-sewed temporary stitching designed to hold the seam until it’s properly sewn.  

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - taking fabric

(Apologies for the awful pictures – hopefully you still get the idea!)

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - tacking fabric detail

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. Keeping the cover inside out, I removed the cushion and used my machine to sew all around the sides and top, leaving the bottom open.

I tested the fit once I’d turned it back round the right way.

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - sewing back cover

It looked good! I started thinking this might not actually be an impossible project! (If you get to this point and it’s not perfect, it’s easy to fix. See how I made alterations on the seat cushion below.)

To close the bottom of the cushion, I folded the fabric under and ironed along the seams…

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - closing seams

…then sewed over the ironed seams with the machine.

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - closing seams

I used sew-on snap closures to hold the opening together (like these). If I did this again though, I’d use Velcro like I did on the seat cushion (see below). Velcro looks tidier when the slip cover is on the cushion.

Adding Ties

Next, I made ties to secure the cushion to the glider frame. I copied what was on the original cushion by ironing two long strips of fabric. (Clean edges are easy to sew.)

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - making ties 1
DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - making ties 2

 I sewed up the seams on the machine.

DIY nursery glider rocker slipcover tutorial - making ties 3

Then I hand-sewed them onto the back of the slipcover so that they’d be in the right place to tie on to the chair back.

Hand sewn ties for DIY nursery glider slipcovers
Hand sewn ties for DIY nursery glider slipcovers to attach cushion to rocker

And that’s the back cushion done.

Seat Cushion Slipcover

The seat cushion was similar to the back cushion. With the thicker pad, though, I had to make a few 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 fabric rather than a print, it wouldn’t matter so much.

DIY seat cushion slipcover - tacking & pinning fabric

I tacked all the way around the cushion again, aiming to keep the seam at the bottom of the pad 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.

Glider slipcover - pinned cushion edges

When it was all pinned and tacked, I removed the pins, took the cushion out, and sewed the sides and top on the machine. Again, I put the cushion back in to test the fit.

Reupholstering nursery rocker cushion - testing the fit

I trimmed the excess fabric.

Trimming excess fabric

When I turned it the right way round, it was obvious the fit wasn’t as tight as I’d have liked.

Adjusting the Fit

Adjusting the fit of the reupholstered glider cushion

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. Thankfully, this is an easy problem to solve. I turned it all inside out again and adjusted the pins for a better fit. Then I sewed a new seam, removing the pins as I went.

Adjusting the seams on reupholstered nursery glider
Sewing machine

The second time I tested it, it fit. Like a glove.

Reupholstered slipcover for nursery glider

Velcro Closure

Now I just had to finish the bottom. I started by folding the fabric inward and ironing along the seam.

Velcro on seams to close up cushion cover

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. I pinned the Velcro on underneath, removed the cushion, and sewed around the edges of the Velcro on the machine.

Velcro on seams to close up cushion cover

I tested it when I was done, and it was a good fit – the pattern even matched up pretty well.

Velcro on seams to close up cushion cover

To finish the corners, I folded the fabric inwards and pinned it on the outside.

Cushion corner upholstery

I removed the cushion again and sewed along the seams I’d pinned from the outside, removing the pins as I went.

Cushion corner upholstery

I put the cushion back in again. Still fit!

DIY upholstered glider cushion cover

One More Tie

I just had to make one more tie to hold this cushion to the chair frame. Same deal as the seat back ties – ironing the seams the way I wanted them to sit before sewing them on the machine. This one was shorter, wider, and used velcro.

Velcro seat cushion tie/fastening

I pinned it to the seat cover where I wanted it, then sewed it on the machine.

Attaching tie to cushion with sewing machine

With the seat cover finished, it looked like this:

Tie on seat cushion to attach to rocker glider frame

The Arm Cushions

I opted not to add arm cushions for now. I do have a good idea of how to tackle the arms if I want to add cushions for those in the future though.

DIY Glider Slipcovers | After

Honestly, the slipcovers turned out better than I expected. Here’s a reminder of the before.

How to Recover Nursery Glider Tutorial Before

And a much cleaner, fresher after!

How to Recover Nursery Glider Tutorial Before
How to Recover a Nursery Glider Tutorial
How to Recover a Nursery Glider Tutorial - After
DIY glider slipcover after - detail
DIY glider slipcover after

See the glider in its new home in Eleanor’s nursery reveal.

If you’re after more thrifty DIY ideas for nurseries and kids rooms, you might want to read about the upholstered bed, button monogram, or polka dot wall. And you can check out all my other DIY projects here.

DIY Glider Slipcovers Tutorial Before After

Follow:

28 Comments

  1. January 31, 2012 / 12:21 am

    It looks great!! 🙂

  2. January 31, 2012 / 2:59 pm

    Your glider looks brand new now! You did a great job on it. I love a challenge, don't you!
    Hugs, Cindy

  3. January 31, 2012 / 9:02 pm

    I am soooo impressed! That fabric is awesome, it does look awesome without the arms. Your sewing on the straps is perfect! Did you make that rosette too? It is all lovely, thanks so much for linking up! Karah

  4. January 31, 2012 / 10:19 pm

    Love the trains saying hello. And you had me laughing with the things you'll need, 'one ugly glider' …

    Looks amazing … and I'm loving that pillow too. Did you make or purchase? And I'm guessing the new little one is still hanging on …

    Thanks so much for taking on our challenge and linking up today!

    Linda
    [email protected]

  5. January 31, 2012 / 11:26 pm

    Thanks Karah, and thanks for hosting too! I might get the arms done eventually! 🙂

  6. January 31, 2012 / 11:27 pm

    Thanks for hosting it! 🙂
    The pillow was bought – I'm not sure I could take on something like that just yet lol. It was from Next (in the UK).
    And yep, she's still cooking – hopefully not for too much longer though!

  7. February 1, 2012 / 12:21 am

    This looks great! Thanks for sharing your "impossibility"! <3 from your newest follower and fellow {brand-new} blogger! Check out my "impossibility" and follow back!

    ~Misty
    http://www.413sparrowlane.com

  8. February 1, 2012 / 3:06 am

    Your chair turned out amazing, and I love your detailed tutorial. As it turns out, I'm in luck – I have an ugly glider! Your paint and fabric choice are great. I'm definitely inspired!

  9. February 1, 2012 / 5:11 pm

    Gosh! There are some clever creative people out there! I don't think I could begin to do something like this (I don't own a sewing machine which doesn't help!) but it's great reading about people who manage to do such great things! Well done!

  10. February 1, 2012 / 8:09 pm

    She's going to LOVE her new rocker!
    And, you will be so comfy in it!

    Now, you rest and put your feet up.

    Can you believe there are so many of us "Impossible" gals out there?

    ~ Dana
    Cooking at Cafe D
    "Jimmy John's Kitchen" Project

  11. February 1, 2012 / 11:23 pm

    Love that you admitted it's not finished – makes me think a mere non sewing moral like me might someday be able to do something like this (probably not)!! Love that your project lists calls for an "ugly glider"! Thanks for joining our Impossibilities Challenge party!
    Kelly

  12. February 2, 2012 / 4:05 am

    Yay, yay, yay!!! I love the way it turned out. I think it looks great without the arms, but I understand it will be much more comfortable to have them (especially since you'll probably be spending LOTS of time there when she arrives 🙂 ).

    Congrats on overcoming your impossibility!!!

    -Sarah

  13. February 3, 2012 / 12:58 am

    Love it! It's so pretty. I did something similar a couple years ago, but the pretty fabric I found was too thin and I wasn't as happy with it. Home decor fabric is the way to go. Looks great!!

  14. April 20, 2012 / 8:43 am

    This is fab! I'm going to attempt it myself, I have just spend days agonising over fabric choice as I wasn't sure how thick a fabric to buy. Let's hope I got it right!

    Esther

  15. October 16, 2012 / 4:56 am

    I would love to see how you did the arms! My glider is the same way with the cushioned arms, and that's what I was most worried about doing :S

  16. October 20, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    I have to shamefully admit that I still haven't done the arms. I use a boppy while I'm nursing so I haven't missed them. I'll get around to it one day though!

  17. April 30, 2013 / 10:32 pm

    AMAZING!!!!! Thank you so much! I am buying a home for the first time and you just helped me a ton!

  18. February 27, 2014 / 9:47 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your method. I am so excited to try this on the new (used) glider I just bought for my daughter's room! It seemed like such a daunting task at first, but after reading your tutorial I feel like I can do it!

  19. April 1, 2014 / 4:06 pm

    Hi, I was wondering if you pre-washed your fabric to avoid it getting too small with washing? How did yours hold up? I am a novice, too; haven't made much of anything in a long time.
    Thank you!

  20. April 2, 2014 / 6:06 am

    I just started this adventure, and I pre-washed my fabric… In my -very limited- sewing experience, its always been step # 1. So, I didn't even stop to think otherwise.

  21. April 2, 2014 / 4:57 pm

    I didn't but I'd recommend it. Mine were fine, but there's a good chance of shrinkage so I just got lucky! And my cushions held up really well – washed well and still looked new 2 years later when I sold the glider. 🙂

  22. June 11, 2014 / 12:11 pm

    Wonderful job! I love the fabric you chose! Looks like you have conquered your "impossible." Thanks for joining the party!
    blessings,
    karianne

  23. June 30, 2014 / 12:30 pm

    Hi, Lizzie! I've been wanting to re-do some cushions I have on a rocking chair. I like the idea of slipcovering them like you did since I'll be using the rocker to nurse a baby and would like to have the ability to wash them. My husband thinks it's a bad idea since the cushions we have have sections in them that are quite "poofy"…it has the sewn lines on each cushion like yours but each of those sections looks more full than yours. I hope that makes sense. Anyway, he thinks that after sitting on the cushions, that you'll be able to see the indentations from those sewn lines of the original cushion. Do you notice that on yours? I thought if my fabric was thick enough it would help that to not happen so badly. Did you use a thicker type of fabric (I would buy one from the Home Decor section at JoAnne's).

  24. June 30, 2014 / 12:34 pm

    You couldn't really notice the sections through the slip cover. The fabric I used was quite thick – upholstery weight I think. Our cushions weren't super poofy, though. Sorry, not sure how helpful that was!

  25. July 28, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    I was hoping I wouldn't get called out on them! 🤣 We just used it without the arm cushions, then we moved and I sold the glider (with the fabric to cover the cushions if the buyer wanted to, although she didn't seem bothered). Sorry, never did finish it off properly.

What Clients Are Saying

Houzz