How to Repair a Canvas Beach Chair

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Canvas beach chairs are as comfortable as a hammock.
Canvas beach chairs are as comfortable as a hammock. (Image: Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Canvas chairs with a folding wooden frame are a beach classic. They are easy to carry and allow you to recline in comfort. Cotton canvas is a cool alternative to plastic or nylon, but it deteriorates when exposed to the weather. Extend the life of your chair by sewing an open seam closed or mending a rip in the seat. If the seat is worn beyond repair, you can replace it with new canvas.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery needle
  • Upholstery thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

Mending an Open Seam

Thread an upholstery needle with 30 inches of upholstery thread and knot the ends of the thread together. Upholstery needles are available in packages of household repair needles in the notions section of fabric and discount stores.

Begin sewing 1 inch before the opening in the seam. Sew through the original holes in the canvas, going up through one hole and down through the next. Pull the thread tight as you sew, pulling the sides of the open seam together.

Sew 1 inch beyond the end of the opening, then sew back the other way to the point where you began. This time, sew up through the holes you went down through the first time and down through the holes you went up through. The thread will fill in the spaces between the first set of stitches.

Knot the thread close to the fabric and cut off the excess.

Fix a Rip in the Canvas

Remove the seams that hold the canvas to the chair with a seam ripper. There will be a seam near the dowel at the top of the back of the chair frame and one near the dowel at the front of the chair seat.

Thread a sewing machine with upholstery thread and set it to sew a wide zigzag stitch with a short stitch length. Hold the torn edges of the fabric together and zigzag stitch over the rip. Begin and end the seam 1/2 inch beyond the beginning and end of the rip.

Replace the canvas on the chair and sew the seams together again as described in the first section.

Replace the Canvas Seat

Remove the old seat with a seam ripper. Measure the fold at the top and bottom of the seat where the fabric was seamed. Unfold the folded fabric at the top and bottom edges. Measure the width of the fold.

Cut a new piece of canvas the same length as the old seat and 1 inch wider.

Thread a sewing machine with upholstery thread and set it to sew a wide zigzag stitch with a standard stitch length. Sew down both side edges of the new chair seat.

Iron a 1/2-inch hem on both sides and sew it in place by stitching a straight seam 1/4 inch from the fold.

Iron a fold at the top and bottom of the new seat the same width as the fold on the original seat. Sew the canvas to the chair as described in the first section.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the damage is near the top or bottom of the seat, you may be able to remove only the seam closest to the damage to make the repair.

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