My sister-in-law Melinda asked me to make her pads for her dining room chairs for Christmas this year. I think they turned out pretty well! :)
To make the pattern pieces for the cushion part of the pad I just took a piece of tissue paper and traced the chair seat, making sure to mark where the openings in the chair backs are so I knew where to put the ties. I also made sure I made separate patterns for the chairs with arms and the ones without arms, since I would have to allow space for the indent in the pad where the arms are.
When cutting out the pieces for the cushions, I simply taped a permanent marker to a pencil, placed the cut-out pattern piece on the fabric, and then traced around the edge of the pattern piece with the pencil. Since the marker was attached to the pencil, it automatically marked the cutting line with seam allowances onto the fabric. Then on the cushion foam I just traced exactly on the pattern piece without a seam allowance. That way I could cut out the pieces without having to make separate pattern pieces for the fabric and the foam.
When I made the chair pads for my parents I used a store-bought pattern and the ties were a major pain in the butt, so I improvised when I made the ones for my sister-in-law. For the ties for this project I used my quilting ruler so I could get a nice straight edge for the pieces. I measured 18 inches long by 2 inches wide on the fabric. To sew each tie I folded under 1/4 inch to the wrong side on one short end and on each long side. Then I folded the tie in half lengthwise and topstitched all the way around. (One short end can be left unfinished because it will get sewn into the seam allowance of the pad.)
Once the ties were finished, I placed two seat fabric sections together with right sides together, being careful to pin two ties on each side where I had marked. (Ties will be on the inside of the pad at this point, so when the pad is turned right side out the ties will be on the correct side, not insde the cushion.) The I sewed all the way around the pad with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving about a 6-inch opening to turn the pad right side out after sewing and making sure to reinforce the stitching on the ties so they don’t rip out with use.
After sewing around the pad, I then turned it right side out and inserted the foam cushion. Then I hand-sewed the opening with invisible thread so it didn’t show. If you were making these with foam that isn’t machine-washable you could put snaps or velcro on the back opening instead of stitching it closed.
If you’re making chair pads and have any questions about the construction, please contact me. I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.