If you own a sling chair, you know how comfortable and stylish it can be. However, over time the fabric may begin to wear out, fade, or even tear. Don’t fret – replacing the sling chair fabric is easier than you may think, and can be a fun DIY project that will give your chair new life!
Not only is replacing the fabric a cost-effective way to extend the life of your chair, but it also allows you to customize the look and feel of your furniture. You can choose from a wide variety of fabrics, patterns, and colors to create a chair that truly reflects your personal style.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of replacing your sling chair fabric step by step. We’ll provide you with all the necessary tools and materials, as well as tips and tricks to make the process as smooth as possible. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!
What is a sling chair and its history?
A sling chair is also known as a deck chair or a folding chair. It is a type of chair that features a simple frame with a fabric seat and backrest that hangs from the frame like a sling. The design is often lightweight and portable. It makes it ideal for outdoor use on patios, decks, beaches, etc.
The history of sling chairs dates back to ancient times when they were commonly used by the Greeks and Romans for relaxation and leisure. In the 19th century, they became popular in Europe and America as outdoor furniture. They are often made with canvas and wood frames.
During World War II, sling chairs were produced on a mass scale for use by soldiers. They were lightweight, easy to transport, and provided a comfortable place to rest in the field. After the war, sling chairs became more widely available to the public and evolved in design to incorporate new materials such as aluminum, plastic, and mesh fabrics.
Today, sling chairs remain a popular choice for outdoor furniture, thanks to their portability, durability, and comfort. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials to suit every taste and budget.
What materials and tools you’ll need to replace the sling chair fabric?
Replacing the fabric on your sling chair requires a few essential tools and materials. Here is a list of what you’ll need:
New sling chair fabric (make sure it’s the right size and shape for your chair frame)
Thread (choose a strong, weather-resistant thread)
Seam ripper (or small scissors)
Sewing machine (or you can hand-sew the fabric if you prefer)
Needle-nose pliers (or a flathead screwdriver)
Clamps or vice grips
Safety glasses (optional)
It’s important to choose the right fabric for your sling chair. Look for a material that is durable, weather-resistant, and UV resistant. Outdoor fabrics like polyester, acrylic, and vinyl mesh are good choices.
When it comes to thread, make sure you choose a strong, weather-resistant thread. Nylon or polyester thread in a color that matches your fabric is a good option.
Before you start the replacement process, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. This will make the process much smoother and more efficient.
How to remove the old fabric?
The first step in replacing the fabric on your sling chair is to remove the old fabric. Here’s how to do it:
Lay your sling chair on its side on a flat surface. Make sure it’s stable and won’t tip over.
Locate the bolts or screws that hold the fabric in place. These are usually located on the side or back of the chair frame.
Use a wrench or screwdriver to remove the bolts or screws from the chair frame. Be sure to keep these in a safe place so you don’t lose them.
Once the bolts or screws are removed, you can start to remove the old fabric. Carefully cut the stitching that holds the fabric to the chair frame using a seam ripper or small scissors. Be careful not to cut the fabric itself or any cords or straps that hold the fabric in place.
Once you’ve cut all the stitching, gently pull the old fabric off the chair frame. If the fabric is still attached to the chair frame at any point, use needle-nose pliers or a flathead screwdriver to carefully loosen it.
Once the old fabric is completely removed, inspect the chair frame for any damage or wear. This is a good time to replace any damaged or worn parts before you attach the new fabric.
Removing the old fabric can be a bit tricky, but take your time and be patient. It’s important to be gentle to avoid damaging the chair frame or the new fabric. Once the old fabric is removed, you’re ready to measure and cut the new fabric.
Measure for the new fabric:
After removing the old fabric from your sling chair, the next step is to measure and cut the new fabric. Here’s how to do it:
Lay the old fabric flat on a table or other flat surface. Smooth it out and make sure it’s completely flat.
Use a measuring tape to measure the length and width of the old fabric. Make sure you measure from the edges of the fabric, not the seams.
Once you have your measurements, add an extra inch to each measurement. This will allow for seam allowances and a little extra fabric for a snug fit.
Cut the new fabric to the measurements you just took. Use sharp scissors to ensure a clean, even cut.
Once the fabric is cut, use clamps or vice grips to secure the fabric to the chair frame. Make sure the fabric is stretched taut and centered on the frame.
Double-check your measurements and make any necessary adjustments before securing the new fabric to the frame.
Measuring the new fabric is crucial to ensure a proper fit and a comfortable seat. It’s important to take accurate measurements and cut the fabric carefully to avoid any mistakes. Remember to add an extra inch to each measurement to allow for seam allowances and a snug fit. With the new fabric cut and ready to go, you’re now ready to sew it onto the chair frame.
Choose the right fabric for your chair
Choosing the right fabric for your sling chair is an important step in the replacement process. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the fabric:
Outdoor furniture is exposed to the elements, so it’s important to choose a fabric that can withstand the sun, wind, rain, and other weather conditions. Look for fabrics that are UV-resistant, mildew-resistant, and water-repellent.
You want your sling chair to be comfortable, so choose a fabric that is soft to the touch and won’t irritate your skin. Breathable fabrics like mesh or cotton are good options.
Your sling chair is an extension of your outdoor living space, so choose a fabric that reflects your personal style. Consider the color, pattern, and texture of the fabric to ensure it matches your aesthetic.
Look for fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain. Fabrics that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sprayed down with a hose are ideal.
Sling chair fabrics come in a range of prices, so consider your budget when choosing a fabric. Keep in mind that a higher price doesn’t always guarantee better quality.
Cutting the new fabric to size
Once you’ve measured the dimensions of the old fabric on your sling chair and chosen the right fabric for your replacement, it’s time to cut the new fabric to size. Here are the steps to follow:
Lay out your new fabric on a flat surface, making sure it is free of any wrinkles or creases.
Use the dimensions you measured earlier to mark out the new fabric with a fabric pen or chalk. Make sure to leave an extra inch or two on all sides for seam allowances.
Use a straight edge or ruler to create straight lines for cutting. Double-check your measurements and markings to make sure they are accurate.
Use sharp fabric scissors to carefully cut along the marked lines. Take care not to cut off too much or too little fabric, as this can affect the fit of the new fabric on your chair.
Once you have cut out the new fabric, hold it up to the chair frame to check the fit. It should be taut and centered on the frame, with no sagging or puckering.
Sewing the edges of the new fabric
After cutting the new fabric to the correct size, the next step is to sew the edges to prevent fraying and to create a clean, finished look. Here’s how to do it:
Fold over the edges of the fabric by about half an inch and pin them in place.
Using a sewing machine, sew a straight stitch along the folded edge, making sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. You can also sew by hand if you don’t have a sewing machine.
Once you’ve sewn all four edges, trim any excess fabric close to the seam.
If you’re using a mesh fabric, you can also use a serger or overlock machine to sew a zigzag stitch along the edge of the fabric. This will prevent the mesh from unraveling.
Sewing the edges of the new fabric will help it last longer and look neater. Make sure to use a straight stitch, and backstitch at the beginning and end of each seam to secure the thread. If you’re using a mesh fabric, consider using a serger or overlock machine to create a zigzag stitch for added durability. With the edges sewn, you’re now ready to attach the new fabric to the chair frame.
Attaching the new fabric to the chair frame
Attaching the new fabric to the chair frame is the final step in replacing the sling chair fabric. Here’s how to do it:
Lay the new fabric on a flat surface, with the right side facing down.
Place the chair frame on top of the fabric, making sure it is centered.
Fold the top edge of the fabric over the top of the chair frame and clip it in place with clothespins or spring clamps.
Stretch the fabric tightly over the frame, folding the excess fabric over the bottom of the frame and clipping it in place.
Repeat the process with the two side edges, pulling the fabric taut and clipping it in place.
Once the fabric is secured with clips or clamps, use a rubber mallet or a hammer with a cloth covering to pound in the spline. The spline is a long, thin strip of rubber or vinyl that fits into a groove on the frame to hold the fabric in place.
Starting at one end of the frame, use a spline roller tool to press the spline into the groove. Make sure to keep the fabric taut as you go. Be sure to press the spline in firmly, but not too hard, to avoid damaging the fabric.
Once the spline is in place, use a utility knife or scissors to trim off any excess spline and fabric.
Finally, remove the clothespins or spring clamps and enjoy your newly reupholstered sling chair!
Adjusting the tension of the sling fabric
Adjusting the tension of the sling fabric is an important step in ensuring that your chair is comfortable and supportive. Here’s how to do it:
Sit in the chair and adjust the position of the fabric to your liking.
Take note of any areas where the fabric feels too loose or too tight.
To tighten the fabric, use a spline removal tool to remove the spline from the groove on the frame.
Adjust the tension of the fabric by pulling it tighter or loosening it as needed.
Once you’ve adjusted the tension, use a spline roller tool to press the spline back into the groove, making sure that the fabric remains taut.
Repeat this process for any other areas where the tension needs to be adjusted.
It’s important to note that adjusting the tension of the sling fabric may take a bit of trial and error. So be patient and don’t be afraid to make small adjustments until you find the perfect level of tension for your chair. Keep in mind that the fabric should be taut and supportive without feeling too tight or uncomfortable. With the tension adjusted, you’ll be able to enjoy your newly reupholstered sling chair with confidence and comfort.
Finishing touches and tips for maintenance
Once you’ve replaced the sling chair fabric and adjusted the tension, there are a few finishing touches and tips for maintenance that can help keep your chair looking great for years to come:
Trim any loose threads or excess fabric using a pair of scissors.
Clean the chair regularly with a mild soap and water solution to remove any dirt or debris that can accumulate over time.
Avoid leaving the chair in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, as this can cause the fabric to fade and become brittle.
Store the chair in a dry, cool place during the off-season to prevent damage from moisture or extreme temperatures.
Consider applying a fabric protector spray to help repel water and stains and prolong the life of the fabric.
If you notice any tears or damage to the fabric, repair them promptly to prevent further damage.
Finally, enjoy your newly reupholstered sling chair! It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve given new life to an old piece of furniture and that you can continue to enjoy it for many years to come.
With a little care and attention, your newly reupholstered sling chair can become a cherished part of your outdoor space, providing comfort and style for years to come
What is the best fabric for outdoor sling chairs?
When choosing a fabric for outdoor sling chairs, it’s important to select a material that is durable, weather-resistant, and able to withstand exposure to sunlight, moisture, and other outdoor elements. Here are some of the best fabric options for outdoor sling chairs:
This is a popular brand of outdoor fabric known for its durability and fades resistance. Sunbrella fabrics are made from acrylic fibers that are designed to withstand exposure to sunlight, moisture, and mildew.
This is a PVC-coated polyester fabric that is designed specifically for outdoor use. It is resistant to fading, mildew, and rot, and is also easy to clean and maintain.
This is another PVC-coated polyester fabric that is ideal for outdoor sling chairs. It is lightweight, breathable, and offers excellent durability and resistance to UV rays, moisture, and mildew.
This is a synthetic fabric that is resistant to water, stains, and UV rays. It is also lightweight and easy to clean, making it a good choice for outdoor sling chairs.
Replacing the fabric on your sling chair can be a cost-effective and easy way to breathe new life into your outdoor furniture. By following the steps outlined in this guide and selecting the right fabric for your chair, you can create a comfortable and stylish seating option that will last for many seasons to come. Remember to measure carefully, choose a fabric that is weather-resistant and durable, and follow best practices for cutting, sewing, and attaching the new fabric to the chair frame. With a little effort and some basic materials, you can transform your worn-out sling chair into a beautiful and functional addition to your outdoor living space.
Is it difficult to replace the fabric on a sling chair?
It depends on your skill level and experience with sewing and DIY projects. While replacing the fabric on a sling chair does require some basic sewing skills and tools. It can be done with a little patience and attention to detail. Following a step-by-step guide and taking your time with each stage of the process can help ensure a successful outcome.
How much fabric do I need to replace the sling on my chair?
The amount of fabric you will need depends on the size and style of your chair, as well as the width of the fabric you are using. As a general rule, you will need enough fabric to cover the length and width of the chair seat and backrest, with some extra for hemming and seam allowances. A typical sling chair may require 1.5 to 2 yards of fabric, but it’s best to measure your chair and consult a fabric calculator or pattern guide to determine the exact amount of fabric needed.
Can I clean my sling chair fabric?
Yes, most sling chair fabrics can be cleaned with mild soap and water or a specialized fabric cleaner. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and care, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools that could damage the fabric. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help extend the life of your sling chair fabric and keep it looking fresh and new for years to come.