Bold, bright fabric and paint to match can spruce up a dowdy old chair and turn it into an eye-catching piece. New fabric can work wonders for an old drop-in chair seat, and a colorful cushion will make a simple wooden chair both decorative and more comfortable. Step one
Trace the seat of each chair onto the paper. Add a 1/2-inch seam allowance all around. Using this pattern, cut two cushion pieces (per chair), centering a motif, if any. Step two
Trim the seam allowance from the pattern; pin the pattern to the foam. Using a kitchen knife, cut a foam piece to match each chair.
From the lengthwise grain of the fabric, cut two strips for the cushion boxing. Each piece should be 2-3/4 inches wide and as long as half the circumference of the cushion plus 1/2 inch at each end for a seam allowance. Step four
With right sides facing, stitch together the ends of the boxing pieces to form a circle; press seams open before proceeding. Step five
Square off crosswise edges of remaining fabric. To make bias strips, fold one selvage to form a 45-degree angle with the crosswise edge; cut along fold. Parallel to the cut edges, mark several strips, 1-5/8 inches wide. You should have enough to equal twice the circumference of the cushion plus 12 inches. Step six
Cut strips and join them to form one continuous strip. Press seams open. Step seven
To make piping, fold bias strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and lay the cord in the fold. Using a zipper foot, stitch next to the cord. Step eight
Baste piping to cover top, starting at center back and aligning cut edges. Clip piping at each corner to ease the fit. Using the zipper foot and starting 1 inch from end of piping, stitch piping to cover, placing stitches just left of previous row of stitching. When you have come nearly full circle, cut the piping so it overlaps the starting end by 1 inch. Remove stitches from the 1-inch overlap and turn under 1/2 inch of fabric. Trim cord to butt the ends; wrap the folded end of the piping around the cut end. Finish stitching joined piping. Repeat process for cover bottom. Step nine
Baste boxing to cover top, clipping at the corners. With cover facing you, stitch just to the left of the previous two rows of stitching. Stitch bottom cover to boxing in the same way, leaving an opening of 7-1/2 inches at the back. Turn cover right side out and insert the foam through the opening. Slip stitch closed. And keep in mind
Make sure to prepare your chairs before you replace the fabric. Assess the chairs for repairs to joints and woodwork, and glue as necessary. Use a putty knife to fill any gaps with wood putty. When the putty is dry, sand smooth any rough areas. If the wood is unfinished, apply the primer. If previously painted, sand the finish smooth. Paint each chair a different color-to match the fabric you have chosen-and allow to dry.