Flat-felled seams display a raised edge.

How to Make a Papasan Cover

by Linda Erlam

One indication of a classic piece of furniture is that we keep recovering it to fit our ever-changing lifestyles. Such is the papasan chair; it’s a comfortable place to curl up and fits almost any body. A new cover gives new life to the chair and brings it into your design plan. If you are lucky and find the child’s version of the papasan, have some fun and make a cover with fabric depicting your child’s favorite book characters.

Lay your cushion on a flat surface and measure the diameter. Use a fabric tape measure and lay the tape across the surface of the cushion. Don’t pull it tight; you want a loose measurement. Measure the thickness of the cushion. Add the diameter and thickness together, plus 3 inches for a large papasan or 2 inches for a child’s papasan, and cut two circles of fabric to this diameter.

Align the circles, right sides together. Choose one section of the perimeter 34 inches long and mark the start and end of this section with a fabric marking pencil. Mark the wrong side of the fabric on both circles. This will be the opening for inserting the cushion into the new cover.

Cut 10 strips, 2 inches long, of both sides of 1/2-inch-wide hook-and-loop tape.

Fold the edges on each 34-inch section of each fabric circle over with a 1/2-inch seam allowance and press. As these edges are curved, you must make small tucks in the hem allowance to make it lay flat.

Leave one seam allowance folded in place; open the other to lay flat and set that fabric piece aside.

Place sections of the loop side of the tape along the folded edge of the pressed seam. Place the wrong side of the tape against the right side of the fabric which is folded in as a seam allowance. Arrange them equally along the 30-inch section, starting 2 inches from one pressed end. There will be gaps of about 1 inch between each section.

Sew the tape sections in place: Sew around all four sides of each piece of tape.

Align the hook tape sections along the raw edge of the remaining circle, inside the 34-inch opening. The wrong side of the tape sits against the right side of the fabric; the seam allowance is open and flat. Arrange the sections with the same spacing as the loop tape sections. Sew the sections in place. Note that on this circle, you are sewing through one layer of fabric only, on the first circle you sewed through two layers.

Put the circles right sides together and pin the edges in place around the perimeter.

Lay the circles on the sewing machine bed so the hook side of the tape (the last section you sewed) is underneath; the folded seam with the loop side is on the top. The excess pressed fold lines extend past the tape along the seam line; use them as the seam allowance guide to start sewing around the perimeter.

Backstitch at the start and end of the sewing to strengthen the seam; there will be substantial stress on these two points when the cushion is being inserted.

Turn the cover right side out, insert the cushion and align the hook-and-loop tape to close the seam.

Items you will need

  • Fabric
  • Fabric tape measure
  • Fabric marking pencil
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Hook-and-loop tape, 1/2-inch wide
  • Sewing machine
  • Matching thread


  • Wash and dry the fabric before construction to prevent shrinkage later.

About the Author

Linda Erlam started writing educational manuals in 1979. She also writes a biweekly newspaper column, "Design Dilemmas," in the "Lakeshore News" and has been published in "Design and Drapery Pro" magazine. Erlam is a graduate of the Sheffield School of Interior Design and is a practicing interior decorator and drapery workroom operator.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images