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Need advice--recovering patio chair

June 20, 2005

I'm not a beginning seamstress, probably more like intermediate--or maybe not. LOTS of stuff I have no idea how to do. So I need some advice.

I received a patio set through freecyclers recently. It's in good condition except: one of the chairs is missing the seat. All of the chairs will soon be missing seats and/or backs as well. It's plastic weaving that's breaking apart in the elements.

I have on hand a few yards of cream-colored bull denim. When I bought it (for ~$1/yd) to make curtains with, I hadn't realized quite how heavy it was until I started actually working with it... It's way too heavy for curtains, IMO. Might be just right for this purpose?

Although, cream-colored on outdoor furniture... hm. I think I'd either want to dye it a darker color OR make it removable so I can wash it.

Which do you think would be better?

If it's a good idea to make it removable, what method would you choose? and where would you put the "connectors"?

Any comments would be much appreciated!

Here is a link that might be useful:

Comments (16)

  • msmeow

    You could try dyeing a small amount of the fabric to see how well it takes dye. If you want removable cushions, you could make ones by covering a foam pad with the fabric and having tie strings attached at the corners. Tie them on the chairs when you are going to use them, then untie them and bring them indoors for storage.

  • Rene54

    Looking at your patio set, I think you will need more then just a cushion, you need some strapping, to hold the cushions, I have sent a web site that has a lot of info on working with patio furniture, I have restrung chairs in the past, not real hard, as far as the fabric you mentioned, it should be easy to dye, but it is not treated for out doors, it will mildew very fast, study up on what it will take to bring this furniture back to a good finish, you got a pretty good deal

    Here is a link that might be useful: chaircare

  • kathi_mdgd

    Looking at your furniture,i don't think i'd bother with the denim you have.# 1 it's not outdoor fabric,weather proof,or sunproof.I think i'd go with the vinyl strapping that the other poster gave you a link to.
    Remember when you dye fabric it tend to fade very quickly,and especially if it's outside.
    You could also go to Joann's or some other fabric store and see if you can find some sunbrella remnants,cut them into strips and weave them.The only thing is doing it that way,you probably won't find enough to do all the chairs the same.
    You could also go to the thrift stores and buy a bunch of neckties or belts and weave them.It would be very colorful and probably not cost very much.
    You're really only limited by your imagination!!!
    Good Luck,and let us know what you decide.

  • budster

    OK for me....well I'd use what I had on hand..meaning your fabric you mentioned. I looked at your picture and decided this is what I personally would do. Make yourself a pattern on newspaper or whatever with the outline of your chair bottoms and back, add enough fabric at the lower back so you can have extra fabric where the two would join. OK...cut l long piece of fabric for a back and front. sew like a pillowcase with some foam or something inside for comfort. Allow extra fabric at the top and the part where the top and bottom join and also the lower edge. Then I'd sew the form so that when bent it would L shaped, with the extra fabric allowance at those 3 "stress" points. Then I'd get myself some grommets (OK you'd have to buy a kit but they are so useful on doing all kinds of jobs it wouldn't be long before it was paid for - I use mine all the time) and put them at the top, at the bottom and also at the L join....where I'd have run a few seams to make a spot where the top and bottom joined and there was a flap of material towards the lower back brace of the chair. How to describe it better, I don't know...Then I'd get myself some strong cord and lace my covers into the frame...That is what I'd do. I don't know if this is clear to you or not...but I can picture it. Would it hold up long? Well, I've done the lacing for other lawn chair frames and it worked. It isn't fancy but it worked. Sorry for being so long winded and vague.

  • thorspippi

    wow, great advice all around!

    If the denim won't work, then I'd probably have to do the macrame thing (Lawn chair), cuz I don't think I have the tools to drill holes into metal. The chairs don't lend themselves well to webbing that has to be screwed in. I found some pretty cool patterns for the macrame thing, but I was hoping for a less pricey option.

    As for dying it and it fading in the sun.... good point. I'll skip that step for sure.

    Mildew? Last year, I'd have laughed at that cuz Sacramento is not known for humidity. But this year's a whole different thing. I think I read that we've had 150% of average rainfall this year. I feel like we've been moved to the South.

    Budster, your post makes perfect sense. And even better, the sewing box I inherited from grandma has a grommet punch in it! I think I'll try it this way and if our finances improve by the time it wears out, then I'll do the macrame thing.

  • thorspippi

    Update: the denim did not work. Waaay too stretchy. hehe. No way was I gonna let my DH take a picture of me with my butt hanging halfway to the floor! :-D

    Went for macrame instead:

    Boy are my arms sore today!

  • rhonda_8

    Wow, that looks professionally done. What a great way to revive old chairs. My husband has been known to "dumpster dive" and brought home 2 great old wrought iron patio chairs that he found out by a dumpster at a college apt building. I just spray painted them white, recovered the cushions with a staple gun and fabric and have 2 very nice chairs in the sunroom now. What could be better than free??

  • Marg411

    That's a fabulous job. Looks superb, and wow, all in one day!

  • hoerlel

    That looks super! Now, you have given me another project to do in the near future. I have the same problem with the same type of lawn furniture. The rest of the set looks like brand new but the chairs were starting to break in parts and I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that. Thanks for this thread. I love this idea!

  • xstpenguin

    That looks so professional! Well done you.


  • budster

    wow this looks fabulous.....just think of the muscles you'll have once the set is completed. Great job!

  • hoerlel

    I am only at step 1 and I am already confused! What is the reason for the tape? I have not started my project as yet since I have not be able to find the macrame colors that I want, but this will be in the very near future. The rest of the steps seem simple enough, but the starting of it doesn't.


  • thorspippi

    Lucy, thanks for writing me off-group and giving me the heads up! (hope my reply was helpful)

    goodness, all these replies. Don't know why I wasn't getting them in my inbox. hm. Maybe my email program sees it as spam or something.... *off to check the manual*

    Thanks all for the kind words! I've had to stop awhile cuz the cord wore the skin off the *back* of my fingers. OWWWW! And bandaids seem to get stuck, so I'm just going to wait a week, then finish the next chair. My fingertips are just fine though (probably because I check my blood sugar about 10 times a day--super-thick calluses).

    Good thing I was using smooth nylon cord instead of that prickly hemp. shudder

    So I've decided to make cushions for the seat part too (as I get older, my butt gets sore faster! :-D). Out of the denim I'd tried using originally. Already has ties on it. Just needs backing and stuffing. I've been hanging out at the nearest Goodwill to get pillows I can use as stuffing.

    And Rhonda, yes, free is GREAT!!! penny saved and all that...

  • gardnpondr

    WOW VERY NICE JOB!!!! Awesome! love it and thanx for the link!!!!

  • RW8633


    I'm not sure if anyone is still checking out this string, but I would like some help and advice. I found what looks like a wicker patio set that has fallen apart due to weather, but the frames are in really good shape. I'm not the home-repair type of person, but I do see potential in these chairs. Could someone help me with ideas and information on how to reweave them. Doesn't have to be wicker, could be the macrame pictured above. I just don't know where to go to find it, or how much it should cost.

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