If you can't do it the right way, you might as well really do it the wrong way....
Buzzings of a Queen bee, who has a really cute site, was looking for some upholstery help for this great chair from her grandmother...
I am not a real upholsterer, but I do do some faux-pholstering. Real upholstering, even though it's really about cutting pieces,requires removing fabric, making a template and all of that sewing. But I can show her the faux-pholstery way, with either fabric glue ( I like Fabri-tac you could probably hot glue it too, I'm just not sure of how well it will hold .) or actual sewing. This does not involve any piping . The glueing is done all right side out, the slip cover version is all reversed. This is really in a sense, like a tailored slipcover and is a great way to do it if you want to limp something along a for a few years so you don't hate it any more until you can afford a real upholstery job, especially if you aren't into sewing an entire slip cover. I am actually not recovering my chairs( as they are being replaced soon) right now and I didn't have enough fabric to do an entire chair,so I had to use 2 different fabrics to demonstrate! but I thought I could atleast give you an idea of what I have done on other chairs. A chair normally takes between 4 and six yards of fabric . Buy extra if there is any doubt, you can always make pillows. I do have to warn you though, this post is word-y....
The first thing to do is to look at your chair and see where the original upholstery lines are and that will give you an idea of where to cut and piece the fabric. You can use this technique to make fitted slipcovers, but you need cut the fabric more generously and pin as you go so you can sew the edges together... oh and do it in reverse. You can pin as you go with this technique, but don't glue anything until you are all finished cutting your pieces.
Think of straight upholstery as 3 pieces. The front, the cushion and the back. Make the front, put it on and attach, make the back, put it on on, cover the cushion.
First remove the cushion, that will have to be sewn slip-covered, or if that really is intimidating, wrap it in fabric and glue the fabric together underneath. It won't be as neat, but it will still be okay.
I draped the front bottom and a seat piece that goes under the cushions. Then, cut your side fabrics along the upholstery lines, giving it about two inches over all around, make sure that you overlap the back by at least 2 inches. You can always trim it back later. When Buzzing's does her bottom, she's actually going to piece the whole front, fit it, attach it and then turn the edge under and staple gun it to underneath.
The side piece I draped over the edge. If you are sewing, check your pattern do it in reverse. If all of this stresses you out,you can buy some cheap $1.00 a yard fabric at Walmart and make a template for your pieces first or use old sheets.
See how I cut the edge out to fit the arm of the chair?
Then you fold under the rough edges and glue together. For Buzzing's chair, she would actually glue the edges wrong sides together instead of on top of one another, and then once the glue is dry, tuck them into the cracks where the cushions meet to hide them.
This is the front piece for the arm. If it looks too piecey when you are done, you can trim it our with some really cute trim.
Once your front is completely cut out for both sides, you can glue/sew the whole thing together.I glue it on the chair to keep it's shape, pining the front top section to the chair for stability, but I don't glue to the chair. Make sure you glue so your glue doesn't show, otherwise it gets crunchy. This is where sewing skills come on handy, because you could sew the whole front piece together (in reverse). Once the glue dry then you can attach it to the back.
Either glue, or staple gun(which I recommend) all of the edges to the back, making sure there is an overlap of at least 2 inches ( if you've glued your cover, don't to it too tight otherwise it ill stress the glue spots and pull apart.). Cut a piece to fit with about an inch over all around. Fold over and glue on the back to hide your rough edges and the back...When upholsterer's attach a back, they use tacks between fold and tack it on that way.
Here's a rough of what the finished would look like to give you an idea of the potential..Sorry about the two fabrics.. see how everything is put together? I actually just wrapped the seat to give you an idea. While it's not custom tailored, you can really get it lose, especially if the front is sewn. Add fringe and trim and viola, a whole new piece. Your cost would really depend on the fabric.
I hope this helps! If there are any question, don't hesitate to ask! And if any one out there is an experienced upholsterer or slip cover maker and has any other advice.. please feel free to help out and leave a comment!