DIY chair back covers: a how-to tutorial

Today is a fun DIY chair back cover tutorial from Sarah of Sewing Parts Online. These are so great! I love the reverse appliqúe and the great nametag holder! What a fun idea for holiday parties. If you skip the tree they make great year round chair back covers. 

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah from Sewing Parts Online and I'm so happy to be sharing with The Train to Crazy! Make your holiday dinner even more festive with these christmas tree Chair Back Covers! These are much easier to make than full chair covers and much less expensive. If you have a big family dinner, you'll really enjoy the name card holders! Make your own name cards with decorative paper and rub-on calligraphy. I hope you enjoy making these as much as I did! 

Chair back cover


1 yard red fabric (for 4 chairs)

1 1/4 yard gold fabric

1/2 yard green sequin fabric


Piping cord

Thread (all purpose and decorative)


Basting Spray


Measuring tape


Lighter (to cauterize)

Welting Foot – To make piping (Optional. You can also use a zipper foot or buy premade piping)

Zipper Foot – To attach Piping

Flower Stitch Foot – Snowflake design (Optional. You can use a monogramming foot to overlap decorative stitches or make cut out snowflakes)

Universal and Topstitching Needle

Marking Tool (chalk)

Provided template

Open the Tree Template: Tree Template
Open the Nametag holder:  Nametag Holder

Step 1 – Measuring and Cutting

Measure your chair back dimensions and add an inch to the length and width (mine was 18×15). All seams are 1/2 inch unless otherwise noted. Cut 2 rectangles for each chair to your chair back measurements: 1 from red fabric and 1 from gold. Make sure to slightly round off the top 2 corners.

TIP: I really suggest making one muslin mock-up before cutting the good material.

Cut 1 rectangle from the green sequins fabric per chair that is larger than the actual tree shape.

Cut 2 inch wide stripes from the left over gold fabric. Later we will sew these pieces together to make the piping. If you bought premade piping, you can skip this step.

Step 2 – Trees

Using your marking tool, trace the tree shape on to the right side of the red rectangle. Use basting spray to attach the right side of the green sequins fabric to the wrong side of the red rectangle. Make sure the green sequins is completely under the tree tracing.

Use a top stitching needle and decorative thread to stitch along the tree tracing. I used red decorative thread and a 3.0 stitch length.

Cut out the red material inside the tree stitching to reveal the green sequins underneath.

Step 3 – Making Snowflakes

Make 4 marks on the red rectangle for snowflake designs. Then, using basting spray, attach stabilizer under each marking on the wrong side of the red rectangle.

Install your flower stitch foot and select the blind hem stitch. On the middle setting sew one circle. If you are not sure how to use a flower stitch foot, check out our how-to video. If you do not have a flower stitch foot, simply draw a circle and sew using a satin stitch.

Select 2 heirloom stitches to create the snowflake look. You want the first heirloom to make a T shape over each circle. Then, choose the other heirloom stitch to make a transposition T shape for a total of 8 outstretched snowflake stems. You want 4 of those stems to be slightly longer than the other 4.

Step 4 – Name Tag Holders

Use the left over sequins to make a name tag holder. Attach stabilizer to the back of a green sequins rectangle.

Trace the template provided on to the right side of the sequins. Use your topstitching needle and thread to sew over the tracing lines. Cut out the inside square of the name tag.

Sew the right, left, and bottom sides of the name tag directly above the tree design.

Step 5 – Making Piping

If you bought premade cording, you can skip this part. If not, grab the 2 inch gold strips and some piping. If you have any thin rope around, it works great! First, sew all the strips together by overlapping the corners like so. Make this strip as long as possible because you will need a LOT of it.

Cut off the excess.

Fold the strip in half around the rope/piping.

Use a welting foot to sew the strip closed. If you don't know how to use a welting foot, check out this video. If you don't have a welting foot, you can use a zipper foot, just make sure you don't accidently nip the rope.

Trim your piping to a 1/2 seam allowance. To do this, line up your presser foot against the cording and move needle until it is 1/2 inch from the cording. Sew a basting line, then cut along that line.

Step 6 – Attach the Piping

With at least a 2 inch tail, start to pin the cording to lower left hand side of the red rectangle. Use a zipper foot to attach the cording. Also, make sure to clip the corners.

Once you have gone all the way around, turn the cord end outward and sew as close as you can. This takes a bit of maneuvering on your machine. If you can't get as close as you would like, you can always go back and hand stitch.

Step 7 Attach the Backing

To attach the backing, simply place right sides together with the piping on the inside. Using your zipper foot, sew all the way around the sides and top of the chair back.

Turn your cover right sides out and do some topstitching along the bottom to secure the piping. One line of stitching about 1/4 inch from the edge does nicely.

Thank you so much for checking out my tutorial! I hope you and your family have a great holiday season!

Check out Sarah's blog at Sewing Parts Online!


  1. says

    What a cute idea! I wouldn’t ever brave a full slip over the chairs with the kids eating, but this would be a fun compromise.