Before & After: A Decked Out Vintage Deck Chair

Before & After: A Decked Out Vintage Deck Chair

Kimber Watson
Jul 21, 2011

I scored a vintage deck chair last year at my favorite local antique shop. While I didn't really buy it with the intention of revamping it, I had no choice once my S.O. sat down and fell right through the disintegrating fabric! It did take me quite a bit of time to get around to yet another project, but it was worth the wait.

My first task at hand was picking out the fabric. I really wanted to splurge on some fancy Trina Turk outdoor fabric, but I also didn't want to spend more than necessary. After an exhausting online search, I found this fabric, which was on sale, and snatched it up. After careful measuring, I went to work sewing the sling. While the sewing itself was super easy, just straight lines, I did decide to double-up the fabric for extra support. Doing this also means the front and backside of the sling will show the fabric pattern. Next up, with the new fabric ready, it was clear the chair frame was in great need of staining and sealing. First, lots of sanding was necessary to remove the worn and flaking varnish. Then many painstaking hours of staining — the wood was so thirsty it took about 4 coats! After the stain had dried, I applied a matte exterior sealant to help protect the wood as well as all my hard work.

I also had planned on making a removable pillow with ties, but just after I finished my last stitch for the sling — my sewing machine broke! Fortunately, I was able to finish the main part, but once I get my machine repaired I intend to make the pillow, which I think will make it even snazzier. I also bought enough fabric and stain so I can repeat the same process on a worn out directors chair.

If you're interested in learning about the history of deck chairs, check out this post: Revisiting the Deck Chair

Images: Kimberly Watson

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