Monday, July 27, 2009

A guest blogging I will go (with my finished chair project)

I have a friend who is a BIG TIME crafter.  A while ago she put out a request for guest bloggers and I was selected as one of the bloggers.  Check out her website , she's awesome!

A month or so ago I found a chair
 for sale.  It was a beautiful wooden number with a rattan seat.  The seat needed reworking (which I had never done) but the chair itself was sturdy and had such beautiful lines, I couldn’t pass it up.

I knew I had to repair the seat, but wasn’t sure how.  After walking through my favorite fabric store ever, The Cosmic Cow
, and drooling on a new fabric I was considering eloping with, the idea came to me.  I’d incorporate the print into the seat.

Here’s what you need:

• 100 feet cotton clothesline cording (must be cotton)
• 2 yards of fabric (pre-cut jelly rolls purchased from quilting stores will work if you’re not interested in taking the time to cut the strips)
• matching cotton thread
• sewing maching
• ironing board & iron
• chair

After cutting the fabric into 2 ½ inch strips, iron them as if they were bias tape.  Folding the cut strip in half the long way and ironing.  Open the strip, fold each half in half again and iron. (you will have four equal sections after final ironing) This will hide the long side raw edges.

Next, you will wrap each ironed strip around the clothesline cord like a burrito.  I found it easiest to position the cording in the center of the strip, folding the right half over first, followed by the left.  Make sure to fold the beginning of each strip over to hide the short side raw edges and sew down the center of the wrapped cording using a straight stitch.  

For my chair, I used the entire 100 foot strand of cording.

Below are pictures of the ‘naked’ chair and the different stages of weaving. 

Here is the chair sans webbing.  It received a good scrubbing then I stained the dowels in case any of them showed through after installing the new seat.

Prior to securing cording to the chair, I found the half-way point on the cording and marked it.  I wanted to make sure I had enough for both sides of the chair.

I stapled the cording to the bottom of the dowel using a staple gun.  

I wrapped the cording around the chair tightly.  You can see the rope I used to mark the ½ way point.  I decided that if I ran out of cording before finishing wrapping in one direction, I would space it out evenly.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

I stapled the cording to the chair and cut.  Using the same wrapping method, wrap the chair in the opposite direction but weave as you go.  I made sure to weave the upper and lower part of the seat.  Pull tightly as you go.  I figured the fibers would loosen the more the chair was used.

This part is not for weak fingers.  My fingers began to get sore trying to squeeze as many weaves as I could into the seat.  I would up getting a knitting needle and using it to help me pull the cording.  The end of the needle (not the point) was great for hooking the cord when the space got too small for my fingers.

When I couldn’t weave another row, I spaced the cording out evenly in both directions.

This is my favorite craft project of the summer.  It was lots of fun to do.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via my blog and I’ll do my best to answer them.  Have fun!


julie k said...

This turned out great! I might have to try it.

sb said...

Help - how long did this take? And what did you mean about weaving both sides of the chair? Maybe it's intuitive when you start?? Covering the cord seemed like the most labor intensive part, no? Thanks. Sandra

Lisa said...


The fourth picture shows what I meant about 'wrapping both sides' the best. That just means I had the weave pattern on the top part of the seat AND the underside. More structure and security that way.

I broke the job up into parts. One day I cut and ironed the fabric strips (it would go faster if you used pre-cut jelly roll strips, but, my favorite fabric wasn't offered that way).

Then next day I sewed the fabric around the cotton clothesline cord.

The final day I wrapped the chair.

I will admit, I was cleaning the chair the first day and re-cleaning the second (to catch what I missed). I didn't refinish the chair because I liked the aged/worn spots. It gave it more character.

Have fun. Send me a link if you make one! I'm always in the market for another frame like this. It was one of my all time favorite projects to make. Thanks for commenting!

sb said...

Thanks -- I've looked really carefully, and it looks like you wove the top then flipped the chair over and wove back on the underside, right? Sorry to be so dense about this. I saw a gorgeous rush pattern caned chair this summer (the four triangles) with cloth strips . . . and between your experience and the instructions for weaving with rush, I think I may have it. I don't think the rush pattern has this same issue of weaving top and bottom, and you insert cardboard at some point for stability. I hadn't thought about using clothes line.... perfect. Thanks again, if I get anywhere with this, I've got you bookmarked for pictures. Inspiration, and now time!

Lisa said...


You are right, I flipped the chair over and wove the underside as well for stability.