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My desk chair has started peeling. I think the cat scratched it, and now more comes off after every seating.

Here's what the seat shape looks like:

enter image description here

After looking into this a bit more, I realized that only the top & front of the seat have this material (the four sections easily seen in the picture). The sides and back of the seat are vinyl. I don't know if this changes much.

I'd like to do something such as a fitted sheet, but I don't know how to go about measuring a pattern, especially if I plan on elastic edges. I'm also concerned about it sliding or becoming loose. The seat is concave. I don't want to sit on wrinkles.

Is there a better solution than a fitted sheet? I don't want something I need to adjust all the time.

I'm not asking for detailed instructions or total walk-throughs. I'm just not sure on what type of solution to use. Once I pick a solution, I'll ask specific questions if I get stuck.

  • Are you willing to take the seat apart in order to make the new cover? (Not just put it on, but also take measurements, possibly cut those pleather shapes out and trace onto fabric, etc...) – Erica Oct 6 '16 at 19:03
  • @Erica Sorry, I never saw this. I don't think I could take it apart well enough. The bottom mechanisms on the seat can't be totally removed. So I'm thinking I may need some type of adhesive instead. – user24 Oct 13 '16 at 17:57
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You should be able to turn the chair over and unscrew the seat part. If the cover doesn't come off (probable), you'll need to trim the loose pieces and make patterns for each section. If you don't want wrinkles, you need to cut fabric out in the pattern of the original seat. You need to allow for seams and fold over the edge (measure the edge into the plate that screws the seat to the chair. An easier option without the pieces is to use a stretchy woven or a firm knit, but in time they will sag. You can probably just use duct tape to attach the fabric under the seat plate.

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Duct tape is your answer.

Weave duct tape over the surface of the cushion as a new covering. Different colours are available which would allow you to create the colour and pattern of your choosing.

enter image description here

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  • 1
    Haha, that's two answers that mention duct tape, but without this picture I would've just been thinking of the ugly, original color. – user24 Oct 15 '16 at 22:06
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I don't know what the underneath material of the chair bottom is, wood? metal? fiber board? The idea of using a stretchy knit and pulling it tightly over the chair bottom either with elastic or a drawstring in a casing, is good because you will have the best chance of a smooth surface. But for longevity, you might conside buying a piece of faux leather (easily obtained in any fabric store or online), and smoothing it over the top of the chair bottom, turning the chair over and pulling the fabric as tightly and as smoothly as possible to the underside of the chair and either tacking it or stapling it if the chair bottom is not metal. Duct tape is an option if the bottom is metal, and it wouldn't be a big deal to retape as needed.

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  • Real leather would work as well and might be available free or cheap where sofas are re-upholstered or plain dumped. – Willeke Mar 19 '17 at 9:45
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My process would be to make a drawstring pouch for each part (back, seat) of the chair - but then I'm very comfortable with a sewing machine and with odd patterns.

Here's my basic approach - assuming you are comfortable or have help with sewing machines:

  1. pick a fabric - You want something heavy duty, but also something that will drape OK. Upholstery fabric would be the classic choice, but make sure it isn't so thick that it's hard to bend or drape over the chair. You could go as light weight as a thick cotton, or a stretchy knit fabric, but it may stand up less to wear and tear. I suspect you want 3 yards, just to be safe.

    While you're at the store, also grab either a thick strong cord, or a thick strong elastic cord.

  2. Measure the fabric by draping it over each cushion. Fold it around the cushion like you're wrapping present, leaving 2-3" where it overlaps with any base (probably made of plastic). Make sure that the fabric is nice and smooth and well positioned from top to bottom and side to side -- if the fabric has a pattern, make sure it's aligned.

  3. Mark the width and height of the fabric with a chalk pen or a pin. It also helps to mark the corners. Make sure you have left 2-3" of overlap, even at the corners, so you can gather it all together.

  4. Cut where you've marked. You may want to round corners a bit.

  5. double check it again on the cushion.

  6. serge or zigzag stitch the edges of the fabric

  7. fold down the 2-3" extra to make a casing. Sew it down, leaving a 2-3" unsewn gap somewhere in the fabric.

  8. thread the cord through the gap and into the casing, I generally use a safety pin attached to the end of the cord to assist me in threading.

  9. fit the pouch over the cushion, draw the cord tight.

  10. tie or sew the cord ends together

Repeat 2-10 for both the seat and back cushions.

Depending on your skill with draping and sewing this could create some weird puckers on the corners or hard to drape bits - especially if you have very stiff fabric. Stretch fabric can be eased and stretched quite a bit, but I'm not sure how it will wear on something as hard working as the seat of a chair.

The solution would be redraping the fabric and re-sewing the casing until it looks the way you want it do, and possibly adding darts to the fabric to reduce the bunching up of odd areas. How much fussing like this you do is linked to your standards for perfection vs. time expenditure.

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