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DIY Chair Arm Covers

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Cats happen. Yes, this IS another blog about the destructive powers of my cats. My mom hasn’t mentioned that they are destroying everything in her home so apparently the big house agrees with them more than the two bedroom condo did. Or maybe my aunt (who lives with my mom) just chases them away from naughty all day. She’s pretty on top of things like that.

At some point after Daddy B moved in I stole his computer chair. As my cats wanted to be glued to me 24/7 (this is a trend with my pets and now with Baby G- I’m not sure it’s healthy, but it’s sort of cute on the days when I don’t mind everyone following me into the bathroom at once), they liked to use the arms to the chair as scratching posts. Eventually the arms looked like the picture there on the left. Not cool.

Daddy B now has his chair back and I have the other chair. We don’t really want to buy a new chair because we’re cheap so he asked me to figure out something to cover this. I had leftover fabric from the couch covers so I decided to make matching chair arm covers. Very exciting! I also decided it’d be fun to make them so we could insert rice heating/cold pads instead of filling them with fluff. I’m not sure how practical this is, but it definitely does the trick (filling in the gap that you see in the picture) and I figure if you’ve got sore arms or a sore elbow, maybe the heat or cold will be helpful. Or not. Whatever.

Cut out a front and back piece for each arm. I just held it up to the
chair arm to eyeball how long it needed to be, adding a 1/2″ seam allowance.
I pinned the two fabrics right sides together and also created four straps (or however many you think you’ll need for the length of your chair arm). For the straps, you can sew right sides together then turn and topstitch, or be lazy like me and just try to fold everything neatly in so there are no raw edges and topstitch. Lazy. I did one long strap this way and cut it in half so I had two straps with one raw edge each.
I inserted the straps in between the two pieces of fabric (faced right sides together).
The raw edge is sticking out a little.
I stitched around the fabric with a straight stitch. Backstitch and stitch over the straps a couple times.
Before I turned this, I decided to zigzag the edges of the fabric, seeing I’m leaving an opening for the rice packs and the fabrics were fraying pretty badly.
Turn right sides out.
Top stitch, except around the opening. Leave the opening open.
For each fabric at the opening, fold over twice so no raw edge is showing. Pin.
Top stitch those areas. It kind of puckers for the finished product, but I didn’t mind. You could probably just finish the whole edge of the cover before you sew right sides together if you wanted it to look neater. But this worked for me.

Next- I forgot to add a picture of this, but you want to figure out where the rice pack will go. After I did this, I sewed a couple straight lines up the cover to make a tight pocket for the rice pack. I did it this way so that the rice pack won’t shift and because I want the cover to go over the edge of the chair… having it be perfectly flat there is more ideal. You could get away with not doing this step.

Cut out your material for your rice pack. I used muslin. I sewed the bottom and side closed, leaving one opening at the top for me to turn the pack right sides out.
Turned it. Added the rice for the first area. I wanted to separate the pack into three sections so I could more evenly distribute the rice. As such, I added some rice until I was happy with the amount and then sewed up that area (just sew a straight line down the fabric). Then I did the next area, etc.
I used a bright green chalk mark to show where I wanted to sew.  Then I shifted the rice to the end while I sewed along this line. You’ve gotta be pretty careful not to hit the rice or you’ll break a needle, sucks. Trust me.
Sewn up with three sections. If you wanted to be neat about it, you could measure this all out. Too lazy.
Inserted the rice pack into the cover, then I placed it on the chair arm to put on the snaps. I just do that by pulling the strap tight and using my awl to poke a hole through the fabric (try to avoid the muslin pack underneath) at the best location. They didn’t end up being even because the straps were all the same length, but there’s a further distance to cover in the middle where the rice pack is than there is on the outer edges, but that worked for me.

Once those snaps are on, you’re good to go!

Finished Product

Rice pack slips out easily when the straps aren’t snapped.

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