Another Burlap Chair

          This is a story about a chair. An unwanted ratty old sewing chair. It was a throw in when we bought the Juki industrial sewing machine from a sweet little old lady who had a quilting obsession.

          Old sewing chair

          The hubs saw junk….I saw potential.

          This chair is probably from around the late 60’s, so at least 40 to 50 years old. And it appears to be hand crafted judging by the large old nuts and bolts used to attach the corners on the inside of the seat’s storage.

          The above photo is just after I sanded off the flaking dark brown stain. The vinyl covering on the removable storage seat was tattered at the corners and the chair pad was showing through.

          On one of my excursions to a garden nursery ( I stalk them every weekend… it’s an addiction ), I saw some huge coffee bean sack’s for $1.50. A sucker for burlap, I grabbed one to hold on to for that perfect thingy thing some day.

          Well that thingy is this chair!


           I removed the old vinyl covering and used a Jiffy marker to put a little arrow on the disassembled pieces to mark the correct way up so when I stapled my fabric on, I was keeping my lettering going the right way.

          I used the wood seat and back rest forms to trace out the pieces of fabric and backing I would need leaving a generous seam allowance to get it over the edge. The fusible backing will give the burlap sacking a strong firmness so when I’m pulling on it to get it over the edge, it doesn’t stretch out. A necessary step not to be skipped.

          I tossed the old cushions and used the wood seat form to outline my new foam for cutting. Then I stretched the fabric over and stapled to the back. The back rest came in two pieces so the raw edges got sandwiched together. But for the seat, I recycled the original seam covering and reattached it.



          I gave the wood a distressed look in the usual manner, hitting it with some chain, painting on a loose layer of paint, sanding again after dry and then using an antiquing medium to add some ‘grittiness’.





          I love this chair. It’s perfect….

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          31 Responses to Another Burlap Chair

          1. This is actually an old sewing chair. The seat comes off to store sewing supplies underneath. I have one just like it that I picked up at an antique store forever ago and have been racking my brain as to what kind of cool fabric I wanted to re-cover it with. Now I know. I LOVE the burlap! Great job!

            • Yes this is a real sewing chair… the old lady who sold us the Juki threw it in. It had a whole bunch of old patterns inside and some cool wooden spools 🙂

          2. Your chair looks amazing! I just bought a dinette set to refurb and told my daughter i wanted to cover the chairs in burlap! I found you on her site, Trendy Treehouse…i would love to have you stop by my blog for a visit. Just joined your site, NeeCee at

            • Hi Julia….if you read through the tutorial you will see that I ironed the burlap pieces to a fusible stabilizer. It gave the burlap a stiffness desirable and more durable for the use of refurbishing the chair. I would recommend this step…otherwise your chair may begin to unravel over time 🙂

          3. Thanks Shelley, but I am referring more to the burlap you get all over you just from handling it. I want to cover an ottoman in burlap; but, don’t want to wear the burlap… make sense? I’ve heard some wash it and I’ve also heard nightmare stories about washing it.

            • Oh! Sorry Julia, I mis-understood. I don’t think washing it is a good idea, I suppose it depends on the quality and the weave of the material your using but I just think it would get mangled in the wash. I did my project outside in the summer but the fused backing does stop the fraying. I would suggest going to cutting table immediately to iron board to keep the mess in check. Now….does anyone have a suggestion of how to control the mess from faux garlands and trees? I have fake pine needles everywhere!

          4. Hi, Shelly.

            Love this chair and idea! Brilliant! I’m getting ready to recover some dining chairs with some sacks I bought, but I’m concerned about shedding on my guests’ bums. Does the fusible stabilizer help with that? I’m reluctant to wash and dry it as I’m sure you know the issues associated with that!


            • Hi Jennifer, I found that fusing it to the fabric really does prevent shedding. I don’t have any of those issue with the sacking I used…have fun!

          5. Hi Shelley,
            I am wanting to cover some dining room chairs in burlap, but the are used daily so they receive lots of wear and tear. Do you think burlap can withstand that type of usage if i use the stabilizer on the back? I appreciate any info you can provide

            • Hi Shanna, I use my chair daily… it seems to have held up nicely, but the burlap I used is from a coffee bean sack so I don’t know if it’s a bit more durable. Good Luck!

          6. Hi Shelley,

            I am working on a similar project – but I noticed the print on the coffee bean bag runs when it gets wet…. does your ink do that? If so, what did you do to protect it?

            I wonder if spraying it with waterproofing spray would seal it up and protect clothing from ink stains?

            • Hi Marjorie,

              I don’t know if the ink runs as it has never gotten wet! It’s my craft room chair so it doesn’t leave that area… so far so good 😉

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