Transform a plain wooden, plastic or metal chair by covering it with some instant softness and warmth. Our faux fur and suede throw is cut to resemble the natural, hourglass shape of an animal pelt. The gentle curve gives it a lovely drape from back to seat. We show you how to use an ordinary bath towel to create a custom pattern for your chair. These beautiful fabrics are from the amazing selection at Fabric Depot. You'll find shopping details for our choices as well as several other equally gorgeous pairings.
Beginning sewers sometimes shy away from working with less-common substrates, such as faux fur and faux suede. But the truth is, they're just as easy, if not easier, than a standard cotton. Faux fur is particularly forgiving thanks to its deep pile that conceals any less-than-perfect stitching. For more tips and techniques, check out our tutorial on working with faux fur.
Faux suede has great stability, which makes it beautiful to sew on, and it doesn't ravel - so no seam finishing needed! We used Passion Suede from Fabric Depot, a 100% micro-denier polyester that is wear-resistant, colorfast, and very easy to spot clean. It comes in a rainbow of splendid colors.
This project is a good opportunity to try your hand at making a pattern. There's really no right or wrong outcome; the throw is meant to have a free-form feel so you can experiment with the sizing and curves. We all have a few old bath towels destined for the rag bin; put one to work as a prototype. A towel has a nice thickness that simulates the finished throw, but you could certainly use a sheet or a large piece of scrap fabric.
This throw works best for a smaller armchair, such as an office chair, dining room chair, or even a bedroom vanity style chair.
Our thanks to our friends at Fabric Depot for providing the faux fur and faux suede for this project. If you're lucky enough to live nearby or are planning a visit to the Portland, Oregon area, you'll definitely want to stop by the Fabric Depot retail location: it's an acre of fabric, notions, and more!
Or, stay warm and dry and shop on Fabric Depot.com. It's easy to browse by fabric type, collection, color, designer or dozens of other selects. And, they have some of the best sales in the industry. Sign up for the Fabric Depot eNewsletter from their home page to stay on top of the latest arrivals and promotions.
We love the rich grey and deep purple color combination of our throw, but there were so many others from which to choose. Below are three other options that might strike your fancy and fit your décor. Left to right: Long Pile Luxury Shag in Ivory with Passion Suede in Cream, Long Pile Luxury Shag in Black with Passion Suede in Black and Luxury Shag in Baby Pink with Passion Suede in White... wouldn't that be pretty in a nursery?!
Our throw finished at approximately 45" in length x 27" at the widest points of the upper and lower curves x 21" through the center.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot (we used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on the Janome Skyline S7)
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 1⅓ yards of 58"+ wide faux fur with a long pile (pile is the term for the hairs - you want long, luxurious hairs); we used Luxury Shag Faux Fur in Grey from Fabric Depot
- 1⅓ yard of 54" faux suede or similar; we used Passion Suede in Aubergine from Fabric Depot
- ONE old bath towel to use for pattern making; depending on your chair, we suggest a bath towel with a starting size of approximately 30" x 58". If your chair is larger, try a bath sheet, which is usually 35" x 60".
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Marker for sketching the chair shape onto the towel and tracing the pattern onto the back of the faux fur; we used a Sharpie®
- Straight pins or clips
- Hand sewing needle
- As mentioned above, this throw works best for a smaller armchair. Our sample used the Campaign Chair from World Market, which measures 20.9"W x 21.3"D x 32.3"H.
- An old bath towel works well as a pattern/prototype as it has a bit of heft to it and so can simulate the drape of the finished throw. However, you could also cut up a sheet or even just a scrap piece of muslin.
- Put the towel (or similar) on the chair, draping it over the back and seat as the throw itself will sit.
- Adjust it until you have a length you like, then trim off the excess inches. We ended up with of length of about 46".
- Fold the towel in half widthwise and lay it over the back of the chair. Use a market to sketch in a basic curving point at the top and also sketch in about how much to come in at the fold to clear the arms of the chair and create the smaller center of the pelt shape.
- Remove the towel, and while it's still folded, bring it to your work surface. Fully sketch in the top/bottom curves. One of the great things with this project is there's no such thing as perfect. You are going for a general kidney bean or hourglass shape, but - just like a real animal pelt - it doesn't have to be even or accurate all around.
- Remember, the towel is still folded in half widthwise. Trim through one layer at a time.
- Use the top trimmed layer as a cutting guide for the second layer.
- When the top and bottom are trimmed, re-fold vertically and extend your original center markings to create a gentle curve at the towel's center. Again, trim one layer at a time.
- Test your trimmed pattern on the chair, to see if any adjustments might be needed. Check it from the front...
- ... as well as from the side to insure you have a drape you like from all angles.
- When finished, our hourglass pattern was approximately 46" long x 28" at the widest points top and bottom x 22" through the center.
- Place the faux fur wrong side up on your work surface. Make sure the nap is running down. Place the towel pattern on the faux fur. This is a large piece, as we sometimes do with our quilt and blanket projects, working on the clean floor or a large kitchen counter island is a good option.
- Trace around the entire perimeter of the pattern with a marker.
- Before un-pinning completely, make sure you have a clear line all the way around. You want a definitive guideline to follow.
- Cut along the drawn line. When cutting, the idea is to cut only the backing and not the fur nap. Use just the tips of your scissors. With the wrong side facing up, slide the bottom blade of your scissors up next to the backing. Cut with short, deliberate snips, being careful to cut just the backing. If you feel a drag, you're starting to cut the nap. Back off and start again.
- Pull the cut shape away and you should have lovely long nap flowing from either side.
NOTE: As mentioned above, if you are new to working with faux fur, take a look at our handy tutorial.
- Use the pattern to cut a matching hourglass shape from the faux suede.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Place the faux fur and the faux suede right sides together, aligning the curving raw edges all around.
- Pin or clip in place along the raw edges at a right angle, this will allow you to sew right up to the pin before pulling it out. Also, when pinning faux fur, remember to tuck the fur to the inside as you go so you are less likely to catch up the hairs in the seam (check out that Sewing with Faux Fur tutorial for more details and photos).
- Leave a 7-8" opening along one side to turn the throw right side out.
- If possible, attach a Walking or Even Feed foot. We used the built-in AcuFeed™ Flex fabric feeding system on the Janome Skyline S7.
- Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter of the hourglass shape. Go slowly around the curves to maintain an even seam allowance and remember to lock your seam at either side of the 7-8" opening.
- Lightly clip into the curves.
- Turn the throw right side out through the opening in the side. Gently push out and smooth all the curves. A long, blunt end tool works well for this, like a knitting needle or chopstick. With something this large, you can even use your fingers.
- If you followed our 'tuck and pin' suggestion above, you should have a clean seam. However, working from the right side, you can also use a dull pencil or pointed chopstick to pull any stray fur hairs out of the seam.
- Fold in the edges of the side opening so they are flush with the sewn seam. Brush the nap out of the way and pin closed. Hand stitch to secure. Use small stitches; they will disappear nicely into the nap of the faux fur.
- A lint roller will nicely remove any stray fur hairs from the suede.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild