How to re-cover a director’s chair

How to re-cover a director's chair

Re-covering a director’s chair

Canvas directorschairs are an inexpensive, versatile form of seating suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. However, over time the canvas can begin to look a little worse for wear and will need to be replaced.

It is relatively a simple task to accomplish. All you need to do is measure up the old canvas which was removed from the seat and the back of the chair and fix the new seat in place with a heavy-duty staple gun. Sew up casings on the back piece ready to slide over the back battens.

Although director chairs are generally used outside, the frames can be polished or painted and covered with more decadent furnishing fabrics to complement your room colors when used indoors.


To make the seat cover

Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to make the director’s chair seat cover.

Step 1

Remove the seat cover and measure

Using a staple lifter and pointy-nose pliers, remove the staples from the old seat cover so the fabric comes away in one piece. It can then be used as a measuring guide.

With a tape measure, measure the old piece of canvas that was removed, but check that it hasn’t stretched. Alternatively, measure the seat from side to side and front to back, not including hems and casings.

Step 2

Cut the fabric and neaten the edges

Cut one piece of new canvas or heavy-weight cotton to the required size, adding on 3 inches (8cm) to allow for hems along the front and back edge and 1 1/2 inches (4cm) for the side turnings.

Neaten the edges, both front and back, with overlocking or zigzag stitching, then turn those edges under 1 1/2 inches (4cm) and straight stitch. To make the edges firm and extra secure stitch them again.

Step 3

Attach the seat cover and check the results

Close up the chair. Turn under 3/4 inch (2cm) along each side of the seat fabric and staple it on to the outside of the frame at close even intervals.

Open up the chair and make sure the canvas or fabric is taut. If not, remove one side of staples, turn under a wider hem and then re-staple the seat in place.

Making the back of the chair

These simple steps will help you make the back of your chair.

Step 4

Measure and cut

Open up the chair and measure across the back, side to side, and top to bottom. Do not include the hems and casings.

Cut one piece of selected material to the necessary size adding on 3 inches (8cm) for the hems along the top and the bottom edge and 9 1/2 inches (24cm) for the side casings.

Step 5

Neaten the edges

Neaten the top and bottom edges with overlocking or zigzag stitching and turn each edge under 1 1/2 inches (4cm) and sew with straight stitch to form hems. Double stitch to make them firmer.

Step 6

Make the side casings

Turn the raw edge under along each side 3/4 inch (2cm), then turn under again 4 inches (10cm). Using straight stitch sew along, close to the raw edge foldline to form a casing. Sew it again 1/4 inch (6mm) above the first row to add extra strength.

Step 7

Attaching the back rest

Depending on the style of director’s chair, you can usually just slip the casings straight over the rear battens and the chair is ready for use. If the battens and backrest are fixed to the framework you will have to unscrew the battens first, then slide the backrest battens into the casings and mark the positions of the screw holes on the fabric. Remove the battens and either use a leather punch to make a hole at each mark of insert a large eyelet which will strengthen the edges of the holes. Slide the battens back into the casings and re-fix to the framework matching the screw holes.

Things Needed
• Canvas/heavy-duty cotton/furnishing fabrics
• Trims (optional)
• Matching thread
• Tape measure
• Strong scissors
• Sewing machine
• Heavy-duty sewing machine needle
• Overlocker (optional)
• Staple lifter
• Pointy nose pliers
• Heavy duty staple gun and staples
• Leather hole punch or eyelets
• Marker pen
• Manual or electric screw driver

Tips & Warnings
• Check that your sewing machine is equipped with a heavy-duty needle or if you have access to an industrial sewing machine all the better.
• Always make sure electrical equipment is swtched off when not in use.
• Don’t leave tools lying around in reach of children.
• Choose coordinating or contrasting colors that complement your decor.
• Remember that director’s chairs are an excellent solution for extra seating.


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