Make a slip cover for a stool

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DIY slip cover

A slip-over cover for an old rectangular or square stool will completely transform its appearance from care-worn to cutting edge. Follow Cheryl Owen’s (The Little Book of Home Sewing Techniques) step-by-step instructions to make your own.

It’s easy to achieve a custom fit and only a small amount of stitching is required. A band of ribbon stitched along the lower edge, picking up on one of the colours of the fabric, adds the perfect finishing touch. The cover can be removed for laundering.


  • 137 cm (54 in) wide pink and pale green on cream striped soft furnishing fabric (quantity depends on size of stool)
  • 2.5 cm (1 in) wide pink grosgrain ribbon (quantity depends on size of stool)


Measure the length and width of the top of the stool. Measure the drop of the cover required, that is how far down the legs you would like the cover to hang, which should be 2.5 cm (1 in) below the base of the seat.

From pink and pale green on cream striped soft furnishing fabric, cut:

  • One rectangle or square that is the length plus twice the drop plus 6 cm (2 ½ in) x the width plus twice the drop plus 6 cm (2 ½ in) for the cover


Step 1. Click to enlarge.

Step 1. Click to enlarge.


Place the fabric wrong side up centrally on top of the stool.

Smooth the fabric outwards from the centre and down the sides of the stool.

Pin the excess fabric at each corner. Adjust the pins to create a neat edge – the fabric shouldn’t be so loose that it is shapeless or so tight that the fabric pulls at the pins. The pins will be the seam line.

If the corners are rounded, pin the top of the seams, following the curves.

Step 2. Click to enlarge.

Step 2. Click to enlarge.


When you are happy with the fit, make sure that there are no loose pins and remove the cover.

Cut away the excess fabric beyond the pins, leaving a 1.5 cm (5/8 in) seam allowance.


Stitch the seams as pinned. Neaten the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch. Press the seams open.

Step 3. Click to enlarge.

Step 3. Click to enlarge.

Slip the cover over the stool and pin up the hem, then remove the cover.

Cut the lower edge, leaving a 2.7 cm (1 1/8 in) allowance below the desired drop of the cover.

Follow the Making a Plain Hem technique, below, to make a 2 cm (¾ in) deep hem.


On the right side, pin the grosgrain ribbon to the lower edge of the cover with the lower edge of the ribbon extending 3 mm (1/8 in) below the hem.

Step 4. Click to enlarge.

Step 4. Click to enlarge.

Cut off the excess ribbon 3 cm (1 ¼ in) beyond the start of the ribbon.

Turn the end under for 1 cm (3/8 in) and pin to the cover, overlapping the start of the ribbon.

Stitch close to the upper edge of the ribbon.

Slipstitch the overlapped ends of the ribbon together.


There are many occasions when you will need to hem fabric, either by hand or machine, to stop the raw edge fraying and to ensure a neat appearance, and it pays off to do the job properly.

Making A Plain Hem


1. First press under 1 cm (3/8 in) of the raw fabric edge, and then press under the depth of the hem.


2. If you need to turn a corner, open out the fabric at the corner and cut diagonally across the allowance 6 mm (¼ in) from the corner.


3. Turn the diagonal edge under, then refold the hem – the diagonal folded edges should meet edge to edge. Slipstitch the mitred edges together.


4. Stitch close to the inner pressed edges of the entire hem with your sewing machine. Alternatively, slipstitch the hem in place by hand.

Extracted with permission from The Little Book of Home Sewing Techniques: Essential sewing skills to make inspirational soft furnishings, by Cheryl Owen with photography by Mark Winwood, published by New Holland, $24.99.


Home-Sewing-techniques-coverLittle Book of Sewing Techniques
by Cheryl Owen
Published by New Holland

This beautifully styled book will give you all the skills you need to make individual furnishings for your own home. Each technique is clearly explained in step-by-step fashion then applied to a range of contemporary projects.

The book starts with techniques aimed at complete beginners and teaches simple skills such as pinning, cutting and making seams. It then slowly introduces slightly more complex skills, including curved seams, casings, borders, linings and decorative touches such as edging, frills, ruching and tassels.

The book provides everything the home sewer needs to make beautiful, stylish and individual projects to enhance every room of the house.

Available from bookstores.

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