Monday, April 15, 2013

I Am A Soccer Mom : Soccer/Camping Chair Cover Tutorial

Hi friends!  I'm back today with another sewing tutorial for the Soccer Mom Series.  I have to admit, the driving force behind this series is the fact that I need a bit of external motivation to get things done.   I have been dreaming up these projects in my head for a while but I just never make  time to make them.  This one is no exception.  Everyone uses camping chairs to sit on the sidelines at soccer.  They are convenient and inexpensive, but there is one problem with them.  The chair covers are poor quality and always rip out before the chair dies, leaving you with a perfectly good chair but no easy way to carry it.  This is not helpful when you are herding a pack of kids across vast soccer fields.  So I sewed up a new cover to make my life easier and I wrote up a tutorial for you to use if you find yourself in a similar predicament.

The chair I have is the cheap kind from Walmart.  I made the cover just a little bigger than the first one so the chair is easier to get in and out of.  The finished cover dimensions are 41 inches long and 21 inches around.

Let's get started!  
First you'll need fabric.  I used on-hand outdoor decorator fabric for the Chevron and $2/yd utility type fabric of "unknown fiber content".  Just make sure your fabric is a little heavier than quilters cotton. For the upper body and strap a 1/2 yard will be more than enough.  For the lower body and bottom you'll need 2/3 yard if you are making one cover and just 1 yard if you are making 2. You'll also need about 24" of cording and a cord lock.  Seriously you can just use them from your old ripped out cover, unfortunately I threw mine away a year ago so I had to start fresh so I used a shoelace and a cord lock from the store.

Here are the dimensions of what you'll need to cut.   For the circle find a small plate that is close to 7 inches to use.

Start by making the handle: Crease to find the middle, fold the sides almost to the center, fold in half and top-stitch down the sides. Set it aside.

Next take your upper body fabric and hem the short sides by folding them over 1/2 inch TWO times and top-stitching.

Next, with right sides together, center the long side of the Upper Body along the short side of the Lower Body and pin

Stitch this with a 1/2 inch seam allowance making sure to backstitch well on each end.  Zig zag or serge the raw edges to prevent fraying.

Press the seam toward the Upper Body and topstitch about 1/8th inch from the seam.

Create a casing in the top of the Upper body by pressing the raw edge in 1/2 inch and then 1 inch.

Topstitch 1/8 inch from inner fold.

Now sew on your handle:  Position the top handle 5 inches away from the body side edge and 1 inch down from Upper/Lower body seam.  Fold raw edge of handle under 1/2 inch and sew a "box" with an  an "X" inside to secure it.  Position the bottom of the handle 10 inches up from the bottom of the lower body and 5 inches away from the side edge.  The handle will not lay flat, which will make it much easier to carry.

Sew the Body side seam:  Fold the body in half matching the long raw edges and Upper/Lower body seam.  Pin and stitch the Lower Body only with about a 1/2 inch seam (mine ended up being a 3/8 in seam)

Use a wide zig zag stitch or serge again to finish the raw edge.

Sew on the bottom:  Carefully pin the Bottom to the Body.  Chances are they won't line up perfectly.  If you find that your circle is too big, cut it a little smaller.  If your circle needs to be bigger, here's how you fix it.  Pinch the side seam until it just meets the circle.

Sew additional stitches at your "pinched" point and angle your stitching to meet the existing side seam.

Now you can stitch the Bottom onto the Body with a presser foot width seam.  Go slow!  Smooth out the body fabric underneath as you go, and don't forget to take out the pins before you sew over them :)  If this doesn't come out perfectly don't sweat it.  You'll never notice!

Oh and the side seam just gets sewn to one side.  You can also zig zag around your raw edges here too (even though I didn't).

Turn your cover right side out and add one set of reinforcement stitches at the bottom of the Upper Body opening. Ooh clearly I didn't match everything up that great, oh well it's just a chair cover.

 Now thread your cording through the casing and add your cord lock.

You are done!  Now your old chair has a new cover and your life just got a little easier!  If you make one of these, please feel free to post a photo in the my new Flickr pool and share some inspiration.

Want to see more tips and tutorials in my Soccer Mom Series? Here are the links

Happy Sewing!


  1. Hi! I just made the camp chair bag. And it came out AWESOME!!! Your directions wee the best & easiest that I've seen on line! You ROCK!!! Thanks so much!!!

    Dawn B.

  2. Just buy a new one at

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