Here is the chair I started with (the cushion is not pictured). It is an IKEA Ektorp Jennylund armchair, normally $200, but I found a new one in the "as-is" section for $30 because it didn't have legs or a cover. So of course I snatched it up before anyone else could even glance at it. You can find cheaper chairs on craigslist, but I'm always nervous of the history. (did the owner smoke in it? did a cat sleep on it? did someone die in it? ha. you never know!)
The first step was buying legs, which took more looking than I thought. I ended up buying six inch legs on ebay for about $24 for a set of four. They're simple, but I didn't want to spend any more money on nicer legs. The only problem was that the screw to the legs didn't fit in the screw holes in the chair. That was a project in and of itself, and I won't go into the details, but we got it to work. Thanks to my wonderful husband and the Home Depot workers!
I bought my fabric on fabric.com for a very good price, thanks to a 50% promo code I found online. That really helped out. I love the dark brown color and the sturdiness of the cloth. I think it will hold up well. After the discount the fabric was $7.00 a yard, and I ended up getting seven yards. I measured all the chair dimensions (and added about 2 inches to be safe) and drew it to scale to see exactly how many yards I would need. Then I added one yard to be safe. This took a long time, but I'm glad I did it because I had just the right amount, with only a little to spare.
Now for the actual sewing:
First I made the welting, which was so easy. I used 11 yards of the cording and encased it with 1.5 inch strips of my fabric.
To join strips together, cut 45 degree angles, then match right sides together perpendicular to each other and sew. Then press the seams flat. The diagonal seam won't stand out as much.
Fold the cording into the welting strips, pin, and sew as close to the cording as you can. I used my zipper foot, and it worked fine. I'm glad I didn't buy a special welting foot.
Then cut the fabric and lay it on your chair to make sure it'll be suficient.
First, pin the panel for the front side of the back (confusing?), right side down. And do the same for the inner arm and the front of the arms
Draw a line around the front of the arm where you want the welting, then pin the welting onto the line. And sew it on, sewing as close to the cording as possible. Then attach the front arm panels to the inner arm panels.
Then pin the inner arm panels to the front and sides of the back section. (sounds totally confusing, but I don't know how to say it.)
Pin, Sew, and trim your seams.
Here's the chair with the front arm panels, inner arm panels, and front of the back section all sewed together.
Then attach the "deck" or the panel that is under the cushion and runs down the front. This part was tricky for me to sew that corner where the deck meets the front arm panel.
Then add the outer arm panels, with welting under the outer curve of the arm. And then add the back panel. My slipcover had a hard time fitting over the chair, so I added quite a long zipper (18 inches) up the seam where the back panel meets the right arm and side. The zipper goes down to the pleats, and then the pleats close together with velcro, which sounds tacky, but you can't see it. The zipper and velcro were the very last steps, after the skirt is attached (see below).
You can do the cushion cover at any point. Just add welting to the top and bottom cushion panels. Then make the side panel with a zipper. I used a 30 inch zipper that wraps around the back of the cushion and a few inches on each side. I made a flap/pocket to cover the end of the zipper, so it wouldn't snag the inner arm panels of the chair when I pushed it down into place. (It's a snug fit).
Okay, now for the pleated skirt, which I actually did before the zipper up the back. I cut my long skirt panels, hemmed them, pressed them, then pinned them into the pleats. This part was really tedious because I didn't want the pleats to wrap around the corners. The widths of the pleats varied between just under 4 inches wide and 4.25 inches wide, in order to fit within the length of the front, side, back, etc. That probably doesn't make sense. Oh well.
Pinned them, ironed them flat, and sewed a line across the pleats to keep them together. Then I sewed the pleats to the along the bottom of the slipcover, with welting in between. Then add the zipper, velcro, iron the whole thing, and shout HALLELUJAH that you're done!