100% Recycled Chair Seat Covers

Several years ago, my husband saw a restaurant put some chairs in the dumpster. Now, I admit we – we are dumpster divers, or garbage pickers. We don’t pick everything, but when we see something of good quality being thrown away, we can’t help ourselves.

Anyway, the chairs were all in excellent condition and there were 10 of them in the dumpster. He brought home 6, we cleaned them up and we’ve been using them ever since. Unfortunately, from daily use, the vinyl seat covers are tearing, so I put my thinking cap on, dug through my fabric stash (most of it recycled from old sheets and jeans), and came up with these chair covers.

The size was based on the size of the plaid flannel sheet-turned-curtain I had. When I folded it into 6 it was just the right size the cover the chair seat. The back is a yellow sheet that was wearing badly in the middle, and I lightly padded the seat covers with an old mattress pad that wouldn’t stay on the bed anymore. (I was planning to just put new elastic on the band, but I couldn’t resist when inspiration struck me.)

Seat coverIf I was starting with excess fabric, I would have measured the chair seat and shaped them a little more, but I was going for speed and little waste, so I just did squares.

Cut the two fabrics to the desired size. Cut the middle layer to the same size, minus your seam allowance.

Prepare the bias-tape by cutting lengths about 20-24″ long. Double-fold bias-tape needs to be stitched down the middle. If you have single-fold bias-tape, just press it down the middle for the second fold and stitch. Fold in half to make a V and press.

Pin the top and bottom together with right sides facing and pin the strings with the V-point in each corner, between the layers. Stitch all 4 corners but only 3 sides.

Turn the cover right side out. You may need/want to lightly press it at this point. Your ties should be hanging from each corner.

Put the middle inside the cover, and smooth flat. Starting in the middle, pin the three layers together. Also pin closed along the open edge. At this point, you want to lightly quilt the layers together so they don’t bunch up in the washing machine. You can simply stitch an X from corner to corner. If one of your fabrics has a pattern, you can mirror elements of the pattern like I did. Once you’re done with the quilting, top stitch about 1/4″ in from the edge, all the way around, being sure to stitch the open edge closed.

That’s it! You now have 100% recycled chair covers!


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