How to Make a Slip Cover for a Swivel Rocker

swivel rocker chair image by James Phelps from

Things You'll Need

  • Brown butcher paper
  • Tape
  • Straight pins
  • Black marker
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread

Slip covers offer a way to change the look of a chair without purchasing a brand-new piece. A new cover helps update out-of-style chairs and fixes stained or damaged chair cushions. The same techniques work for both rocking chairs and swivel rocking chairs. Some sewing experience is necessary to successfully make a slip cover, but once someone has learned the steps, it does not take much time at all to complete this type of project.

Cover the entire chair with brown butcher paper by pinning the pieces around the cushion, front, back and sides. Trace the outline of the chair carefully on the paper with a black marker. Include all of the sides and any architectural elements in the chair the slip cover will go over. Do not forget about the skirt that runs along the bottom of the chair. Attach brown butcher paper to this area as well to get proper measurements.

Place the pattern pieces on the table and measure each one. Add the measurements together to determine how much fabric you will need to complete the slip cover. Add two to three inches to the skirt measurement to allow a hem.

Put the fabric on the table or floor. Place each pattern piece on top of the fabric and cut each out separately. Pin a small piece of paper on each fabric piece to indicate where each one goes, such as “cushion top,” “back” and “left side.”

Pin the back fabric piece to fabric that goes on the left side of the chair. The front of each piece of fabric should face each other. Place the pins one-half from the edge to allow for a seam.

Sew the two pieces together using a straight stitch on the sewing machine. Repeat the same steps to attach the right side, front and seat of the slip cover, leaving the bottom open.

Turn the slipcover inside out, and slip it over the swivel rocking chair. Fold the bottom edge of the cover up to create a hem. Make the hem long enough to hide the swivel mechanism underneath the rocker. Pin the bottom edge so it is even.

Remove the slip cover, and sew the hem. Turn the cover so the hems are inside the cover. Slip it carefully over the chair and smooth out the fabric.


  • Select fabric such as heavy-duty cotton that are durable and will hold up to washing. Put the fabric in the washer and dryer before cutting the pattern to eliminate any problems with shrinking.