Friday, December 31, 2010

Repair work

A few years ago I salvaged some deck chairs from various roadside pickup piles.  Some were perfectly OK and some needed a bit of repair.  I fixed and stained them, then made new matching covers, using the cover of one that was OK as a pattern (some had the more traditional two-piece seat and back, but I prefer this design, which came from a Freedom deck chair).  It's really simple if you have some chairs and want to revamp them rather than replace them, and I think it looks better than slip covers over the whole lot.

Well, all was fine until one of my larger nieces visited last summer and decided that using one of the chairs as a trampoline for her bottom would be fun.  Mysteriously she went through!  Luckily I have spare fabric, so today's repair day before the big NYE party tonight!

The fabric:

Each deck chair takes 90cm of fabric (you'll need a piece around 70cm across, so you should get two from a 90cm long section of canvas).

I use the following seam/hem allowances:

  • 3cm at the top
  • 1cm at the side of the backrest
  • 1.5cm to the side cutouts and the bottom
The steps:

  1. Using your existing fabric as a pattern, cut out a new seat & back, remembering to allow for hem allowances and pockets for the dowel at the side on the seat and uprights on the back.
  2. Zig-zag or overlock the side edges of the seat section.
  3. Hem the sides of the backrest and the top and bottom of the cover.
  4. Fold the top in and to make the pockets for the uprights, and stitch across the top plus a double row of vertical stitching.
  5. Fold the seat to create pockets for the dowel to go through, and stitch.

For best results:

  • Wash your fabric beforehand (just in case it shrinks)
  • Check the tension on your machine - I've found that I need to adjust mine otherwise the top is too loose / bottom too tight when hemming the canvas.
  • Use stronger cotton (eg. upholstery thread).
  • Stretch the fabric when you're hemming the curved sections, rather than clipping the corners, as this will help to prevent creating weak points in the seat.

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