Sep 23

Homespun and Burlap Woven Chair Seat

 

Saturday was a beautiful, glorious autumn day in the Ozarks!  The sky was blue and the temperature was in the 70′s.   Our little town has a great farmer’s market located in the downtown park so after shopping for veggies we went browsing through our local downtown area which has several antique store and flea markets.  I found a primitive style woven cane bottom chair for $20.  The great price tempted me to try something that I’d seen once with woven fabric.  I was SO pleased with the results that the chair is now featured on my front entry with a few seasonal decorations.  The fabric woven seat is very sturdy and I believe this would hold up to regular use.  The fabrics used are actually the same fabrics that I have on a quilt in our guest bedroom so I may be moving it in there eventually.

Materials needed for one average size chair are 3 yds homespun fabric, 4-6 yds 1″ burlap ribbon and a glue gun.  This total project took me less than two hours and it really satisfied my “creative urge” on a beautiful Saturday!

I’ve included some basic instructions and pics below.  I really encourage anyone to try this and be creative with your colors and fabrics.

 

  • This is how the chair looked when I brought it home.  The woven cane bottom was cracked and breaking.  It was very easy to take a razor knife and remove it entirely.  Then just a quick wipe down and the chair was ready for crafting.
  • You’ll need approximately 3 yards of homespun fabric.  It’s important to use homespun because homespun is the same on both sides.  That way if your fabric gets turned while weaving, it doesn’t look bad.If you purchase burlap ribbon, make sure it is not wired ribbon and make sure the edges are stitched so it won’t fray while you work with it.
  • For this project I used three different homespun fabrics and 2 rolls of 1″ burlap frayed edge ribbon.  These particular homespun fabrics are called Ginger Blue and are in the Route 66 Collection at JubileeFabric.com.
  • Tear or cut your fabric into 2.5″ x 44″ strips.If you tear it, pull out all the long loose strings that tend to cling to the torn edges.  If you cut it, be sure to cut as close to the grain of the fabric as possible to reduce possible “shedding” of little threads.  In this chair demonstrated here, I tore the strips.   The actual number of strips you will use will vary according to the size of your chair and how tightly you weave.  For this average size chair, I used 10 strips of each color fabric.
  • Begin tying your fabric and burlap (if you choose to use burlap) onto the chair from side to side in whatever color sequence you wish to use.  Start at the back which is usually a bit more narrow.  After tying, roll the knot to the under side and pull the strips forward to the front of the chair
  • Fill the seat with fabric strips going side to side.
  • This is what the bottom of the chair looks like with all the crosswise strips in place and the knots rolled to the bottom.  Trim off any long fabric tails to about 1-2 inches.
  • Tip:  If you have a burlap strip that is just a little bit too short, you can stitch some homespun fabric onto the ends of it to lengthen it.  The knots will all be on the back side so this will never be visible and it will help you use all your burlap efficiently.  You may not need to do this, it would just depend on the size of your chair.
  • This is a great little sewing notion called a “bodkin”.  It will clamp onto the end of fabric or elastic or whatever and give you something to grasp when pulling through.  We bought this bodkin at our local craft store but if you don’t have a bodkin, you can use a really large safety pin instead.
  • The bodkin will clamp onto the end of the fabric strip to help weave it through the crosswise strips.

  • Now using the bodkin to pull with, weave the remaining strips of fabric from back to front and then to the back again using basic weaving (over/under) techniques.  Leave about 5-6 inches loose at the back so that you can tie a knot when you weave back to the beginning again.  Tie those knots as much to the under side as you can so that the knot and the tail will not be visible.
  • Weave in as many strips as you wish but try to make it fairly dense so it will be a sturdy seat.
  • Now flip the chair over and trim off the tails of the knots at the back to about 2″.  Use a hot glue gun to glue those tails down flat where they are not visible from the top.  Also glue flat any tails that are remaining on the under side of the seat.  Many of those will have been pulled into the weaving and may not be visible anymore.
  • Isn’t this just a sweet, cottage style accent for my front entry?  I love the Ginger Blue mixed with the autumn color mums.

Does this inspire you to try a little fabric weaving? I have to say that I have never, ever done ANY weaving at all so please don’t analyze my technique.  I am definitely amateur but the results were good and the fun factor was over the top!  I would love to hear about and see pictures of your fabric weaving projects.

 

2 comments

2 comments!!!

  1. kristin says:

    Great job! It turned out fabulous! I may just have to try this myself one day. I love the homespun/burlap combo.

  2. Jenny D says:

    Love this! I have 6 of these chairs and they are all broken in the seat. Now I know how to repair them inexpensively and make them pretty! Thanks for sharing!