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DIY Folding Chair Covers

One of the quirks of the barn is the man who oversees its rental. It’s owned by a larger group, but this guy has all the say, at least as far as I know. He’s made a couple of ridiculous rules (which seem to not always be enforced). The barn is rented with tables and chairs in it. The tables are rustic looking aged wood, while the chairs are metal and folding.

barn wedding
(Source: KristenHenschen on Flickr)

At first I thought that was no problem, we’d just rent different chairs. I mean, heck. Anything is better than a metal folding chair! But it turns out that they don’t allow that at all. You use the metal folding chairs… “Or nothing” isn’t even an option — we aren’t allowed to store them out of sight.

I hadn’t realized how strongly I felt about chairs until that discussion, during which I came almost completely unhinged. Sigh. When it became clear that it was folding chairs or find another place, I actually had to think about it. In the end, I loved the barn too much to give it up over chairs. At least they have padded seats.

But still, folding chairs. Banquet covers were a possibility. An overly formal possibility for the rustic homey thing the barn has going for it, but an option. The tables themselves are really cool, and I don’t want to cover them with linens. Without linens, the banquet covers are all wrong. So banquet covers for the chairs are right out. As usually happens with these things, I realized I could make what I wanted. What I wanted was something a little rustic, a little homey, that would camouflage the metal chair backs so I wouldn’t have to look at them all night.

diy folding chair covers

I will go to some lengths to get my way. I’m making 80 (plus a few extra) of these from muslin, with matching runners for rectangular tables. It seems like “how to make folding chair covers” is a popular question, so here’s what I did.

diy folding chair covers

Measure your chair. (Measure it again!) Mine was 18″ wide,17.5″ up the leg and 10.5″ from the seat to the back. From a 45” wide bolt of unbleached muslin, I cut 47” x 22” rectangles. (Tip: keep it folded and cut two at a time.)

cutting fabric

Then I pressed the corners in, and ¼” hems all around:

hemming fabric

Then turned under the hem again 1”, mitering the corners as I went. From the wrong side, I sewed a straight stitch 7/8” from the edge all the way around the rectangle.

hemming fabric

That 1” strip cut from the fold of the bolt? That I made into bound tape.

That tape is attached in four places on each cover to form flat loops 2.5” long. The cover is fastened to the chair by threading 1.5” ribbon through these loops and around the metal leg, then tied in a bow on each side.

diy folding chair covers

Okay, that’s my insane project. Do you have one of those? Come on, make me feel less crazy. Any thoughts on what to do with 80+ folding chair covers with matching runners, post-wedding?