DIY Butterfly Chair


A butterfly chair -- produced in the 1940s and 50s -- adds a retro look to your home decor. It is made up of a thin black metal frame, almost like pretzels turned on their ends, fitted with a modified butterfly shaped canvas cover. When renovate an old butterfly chair yourself, you can choose the color, pattern and type of fabric that best fits your home decor. Choose canvas for a more casual look or for a child's room where durability is important. For a more formal look, try a printed upholstery fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Butterfly chair frame with an old cover
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Heavyweight fabric
  • Scissors
  • Cotton fabric
  • Piping trim
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Slide the old cover off a vintage butterfly chair. Trace around it with a pencil on paper to make a pattern for the new chair. Add 1 inch around the perimeter for the seam allowance. Be sure to include the pockets when creating your pattern.

  • Pin the seat cover pattern to the heavy weight fabric and cut it out. Use the pattern to cut pockets from the heavy fabric.

  • Pin the seat-cover pattern to the backing fabric. Cut it out.

  • Hem the bottom edges of the corner pieces using a needle and thread.

  • Baste the piping onto the heavy fabric. Baste the corners pieces to the bottom fabric

  • Pin the heavy fabric top piece to the cotton fabric bottom piece with the right sides together. Sew around the perimeter of the seat cover, leaving a 3-inch opening to turn the fabric.

  • Stitch around the corners a second time to reinforce the seams.

  • Turn the cover right sides out. Hand stitch the opening closed.

  • Place the seat cover onto the frame. Sit in it for a few minutes to stretch the fabric and test it for safety.

Tips & Warnings

  • Add an extra layer of flannel between the top and bottom layers of fabric for added cushioning.
  • Use a heavy fabric for the seat cover and always test it for safety.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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