Straight-back chairs and benches are great options for creating small seating areas in rooms that ordinarily wouldn’t need a seating area. I am specifically talking about a bathroom. My bathroom has a small alcove as you enter it. Since first moving in, I have had a bench in this area. It is a convenient place to sit and remove shoes or to set a towel and clothes.
For quite some time I have noticed nobody feels comfortable sitting on this bench. The reason? Well, the woven straw seat seems to sag precariously and there is an alarming crackling sound when someone puts their weight on it. I finally recognized the time had come to retire the bench or to figure out a way to fix it. The sides and the back of the bench were in perfect shape, so the only repair needed was the seat.
Create a fabric woven seat for a chair or bench using recycled sheets or other thrifty fabrics. Just like the woven potholders you made as a child, this simple project is easy to do and can be completed in a few hours.
Things You Will Need:
Bench or chair with a straw seat in need of replacing
2-yards, 45-inch wide fabric-a chair will need half that amount.
Remove the woven straw seat if one if still intact. Scissors and a craft knife are most effective. I found this to be a dirty and dusty job. The bench appeared to be clean before I began, but once I started cutting and pulling on the straw, the dust flew and I had to wipe down the entire surface and vacuum the weave on the bench back and sides before continuing. I also needed a shower.
Rip or cut 2-inch wide strips from an old sheet. Ripping from top to bottom, I used about half a sheet to string the bench from right to left. A chair seat would, of course, need less.
Create the warp (foundation) of the woven seat. Leaving a tail 4-inches long, tie a sheet strip to the seat frame on the left-hand side at the back corner. Pull the strip to the right and around the right-hand side of the frame. Pull it back to the left and wrap around the side. Continue to string the sheet strip back and forth until the seat has been completely filled in from the back of the seat to the front. There is not a set number of strings or rows for the warp, as seat sizes on different chairs and benches will vary. Placing each row right beside the next will be sufficient. Tie the strips, end-to-end, as needed. End by tying the last row to the right-hand side at the front corner.
Rip 1-inch strips from selvage edge to selvage edge on 45-inch wide fabric. I ripped 2-yards for the bench.
Create the weft (weave) of the woven seat. These are the strips that are woven under and over the warp rows. Each row alternates the pattern of under and over with the one previously woven. Leaving a tail 4-inches long, tie one end to the front left-hand corner of the seat frame. Weave to the back of the seat and tie to the back of the seat frame. Use a new strip for each weft row. Continue to weave until the whole seat has been woven.
Trim all the tails 2-inches long.