Eric: This video is brought to you by Sailrite. Visit Sailrite.com for all your project supplies,
tools, and instructions. After several years of heavy use, a quality
patio sling chair’s fabric may need to be replaced. In this video, we’ll show you the proper
steps to sew up perfectly fitting sling replacement panels, and how to properly install it in
the sling rail channels of your chair. Follow the steps of this video for a “Fit
like a Glove” sling chair. I’m Eric Grant, and my wife Billie will
be filming this project. Let’s get started. After cleaning dirt and mold off the chair,
it’s time to take a few measurements. These measurements will be used to determine
how much fabric is required, and also will be used in the fabrication process for the
chair. We will start with the length measurement. We want to start this measurement where we
want the fabric edge to sit. I like to keep mine about 1/8” or more from
the end of the sling rail. Use a fiberglass tape measure and carefully
follow the contour of the chair, as seen here. When the opposite end is reached, that is
your length measurement. I also like to end my panel about 1/8” or
less from the end of the sling rail. For the width from sling rail to sling rail
on our chair, we will measure from the outer edge of the channel, which accommodates our
sling spline cording to the opposite sides outside channel edge. For us, it’s 19 3/8”. Some sling chairs are not rectangular. Be sure to take a measurement at the front
edge as well as the back edge along the width. If it is the same or slightly off, it’s
meant to be a rectangular sling. Use the smallest measurement as your standard. This patio sling chair is slightly different. The seat portion of this chair is not a perfect
rectangle, but is actually smaller in the rear. Also take a look at the back rest panel. It does not have sling rails on the sides,
but on the bottom and the top edges. It is measured in the same manner from sling
rail channel to sling rail channel. But it is also important to measure and write
down the opposite ends size, as you’ll want to duplicate the shape when making the new
panel. Now let’s focus on the back rest. The sling rail channels are along the top
and bottom edge. We will measure vertically for our width measurement
and horizontally for the length measurement. That is only because the rail channels are
not on the sides for this back rest panel. Your chair’s configurations may be different,
but the principles are the same for all types of patio sling chairs. With those measurements in hand (yours will
likely be different) we can now figure how much fabric we need to order from Sailrite. It’s easy to calculate how much fabric is
required. Typically the mesh vinyl fabric is 54” wide. So panels can be orientated lengthwise along
the selvage edge of the fabric or along the width of the fabric. So let’s go over both approaches in detail
starting with #1- lengthwise along the selvage edge. Eric: This video is brought to you by Sailrite.
Visit Sailrite.com for all your project supplies, tools, and instructions. After several years of heavy use, a quality
patio sling chair’s fabric may need to be replaced. In this video, we’ll show you
the proper steps to sew up perfectly fitting sling replacement panels, and how to properly
install it in the sling rail channels of your chair. Follow the steps of this video for
a “Fit like a Glove” sling chair. I’m Eric Grant, and my wife Billie will be filming
this project. Let’s get started. After cleaning dirt and mold off the chair,
it’s time to take a few measurements. These measurements will be used to determine how
much fabric is required, and also will be used in the fabrication process for the chair.
We will start with the length measurement. We want to start this measurement where we
want the fabric edge to sit. I like to keep mine about 1/8” or more from the end of
the sling rail. Use a fiberglass tape measure and carefully follow the contour of the chair,
as seen here. When the opposite end is reached, that is your length measurement. I also like
to end my panel about 1/8” or less from the end of the sling rail. For the width from
sling rail to sling rail on our chair, we will measure from the outer edge of the channel,
which accommodates our sling spline cording to the opposite sides outside channel edge.
For us, it’s 19 3/8”. Some sling chairs are not rectangular. Be sure to take a measurement
at the front edge as well as the back edge along the width. If it is the same or slightly
off, it’s meant to be a rectangular sling. Use the smallest measurement as your standard.
This patio sling chair is slightly different. The seat portion of this chair is not a perfect
rectangle, but is actually smaller in the rear. Also take a look at the back rest panel.
It does not have sling rails on the sides, but on the bottom and the top edges. It is
measured in the same manner from sling rail channel to sling rail channel. But it is also
important to measure and write down the opposite ends size, as you’ll want to duplicate the
shape when making the new panel. Now let’s focus on the back rest. The sling rail channels
are along the top and bottom edge. We will measure vertically for our width measurement
and horizontally for the length measurement. That is only because the rail channels are
not on the sides for this back rest panel. Your chair’s configurations may be different,
but the principles are the same for all types of patio sling chairs. With those measurements
in hand (yours will likely be different) we can now figure how much fabric we need to
order from Sailrite. It’s easy to calculate how much fabric is
required. Typically the mesh vinyl fabric is 54” wide. So panels can be orientated
lengthwise along the selvage edge of the fabric or along the width of the fabric. So let’s
go over both approaches in detail starting with #1- lengthwise along the selvage edge.
If when you measured your chair’s width the measurement is 20 ½” or less from sling
rail channel to sling rail channel and you’re using a 54” wide fabric, then you can get
two up along the width of the fabric. To make required fabric calculations, plug your length
measurement and the number of chairs into this equation. Then pick and order your mesh
vinyl fabric from Sailrite. For this size chair, we can complete four chairs with only
three yards of fabric. Using the length measurement you made on the chair- this measurement is
taken along the sling rails- if the length measurement is 52” or less, you can orientate
panels lengthwise along the width of the fabric, as shown here. If your choice fabric has stripes,
orientating panels along the selvage or width will change the direction of the stripes or
pattern on the fabric. To calculate how much fabric is required, plug your figures into
this equation. The four chairs still only require three yards to complete them all.
Now feel free to use these equations for the required amount of fabric for your chairs.
Pause the video here if you like. What type of fabric should I use on my sling
chairs? The sling chair in this video is using a very tightly woven vinyl mesh fabric called
Phifertex Plus. It is a very dimensionally stable fabric and does hold its shape almost
perfectly. Why? Because it goes through a tentering process. Tentering sets the warp
and weft of the woven fabric at right angles to each other and then stretches it and sets
the fabric to its final dimensions. Some vinyl mesh fabrics have a blend of other yarns woven
in the batch. Often those blended yarns like acrylics and olefins cannot be easily bonded
to each other setting the weave firmly in place. A fabric which contains a blend of
PVC and other yarns does make a good sling chair. But as you can see here, using that
type of fabric may result in a slight sag of the fabric, especially after heavy use.
That may be desirable for some. If your goal is to keep the fabric nice and tight avoiding
much sag, pick a 100% woven vinyl coated polyester like our Phifertex Plus.
One more thing to consider when ordering your fabric from Sailrite is the weight of the
mesh fabric. Let’s just look at one brand when discussing the weight of the fabric:
Phifertex. Most of the solid colors and stripes of the Phifertex Plus brand fabric are between
15 oz.-16 oz. per square yard, and they are extremely easy to work with- both in creating
easy hems and sleeves and also in feeding the fabric into the channels, or grooves,
of the sling rails. However, if you get into some of the wicker weaves, or basket weave,
designs, those fabrics are much heavier- between 18 oz.-25 oz. in some cases. Those fabrics
look great, but do come with one disadvantage. They are more difficult to pull through the
channel, or groove, of the sling rail because they are thicker. With that said, we have
decided to use one of the heaviest- a 24.6 oz. fabric.- in this video to show that it
can be accomplished, especially if you follow the steps in the video. Visit the Sailrite
website and pick your fabric. You can use the link at the top left to help narrow your
search results. In preparation for the disassembly of the
chair, and also to determine the cut size of the new fabric, remove the end caps from
the end of the chair’s sling rails. Do this very carefully as they may be very fragile
depending on how old your chair is. We like to use a screwdriver and gently pry until
we can grab hold of it and pull it out completely. We need to know the size of the sleeve that
will accommodate the sling spline cording. Take a measurement from the sling’s rail
top edge to the lower edge of the sleeve, as seen here. In most situations, a chair
like this will measure 5/16”. However, not all sling chairs are the same. This sling
chair has a backrest where the rails are along the top and bottom edges, and the sling spline
cording sits very far back along the sling rails. Here you can see that the size of the
sleeve that accommodates the cording is 1 ¼”. However, turn our attention to the
seat panel and remove the end cap and take a measurement of the sleeve that accommodates
the cording and we get the standard 5/16” there. These measurements should be written
down as they will be used to calculate the cut size of the fabric. But first we will
disassemble the chair to remove the old fabric. Disassembly of the chair is typically rather
easy. Usually on the underside of the chair you will find bolts holding the sling rails
to the frame. Remove these bolts completely. Cheaply made chairs are sometimes welded in
place. Those welded together sling chairs are used for a season maybe two and discarded
when the cheap fabric or frame deteriorates. Once the bolts are removed, the sling rails
should separate from the frame. These bars on the backside are called spreader bars,
or tension bars. They, along with the bolts that you just removed, apply the tension to
the fabric holding it taut. We are working under our wire hung canopy that has been installed
on this pergola. Want to see how we build that? Check out the link at the top right
corner of this video. To remove the old mesh vinyl fabric from the
chair, simply use a razor blade and cut the fabric down the center. The old fabric will
be rather stiff from years of use. Wiggle it side to side a few times before you try
to remove it. This helps aid in the removal of the old fabric. Using vice grips or pliers,
grab the fabric close to the sling rail and pull on the fabric removing it from the groove
of the rail. Do this for both rails. Then grab the old sling spline cording and pull
it out from the old fabric. Our metal frame and spreader bars are still in great shape.
They are made from aluminum. But they need a fresh coat of paint. We will clean any dirt
still on the metal and then remove any loose paint. Then we will spray with our favorite
spray paint applying several coats as directed. Our new fabric and supplies have been ordered
and they’ve arrived from Sailrite. We’re ready to cut it to size using the measurements
we took earlier on in this video. That’s coming up next.
Using the measurements taken earlier and written down on paper- the length, the width, and
the slot measurements- those will be used to calculate the cut size of our panels. First
we will start with the cut width. Use this equation and plug the width and the slot size
into the figure shown here. We wrote these measurements down earlier here for our chair.
Yours may be different. After plugging them into our equations, you can see our example
here. We should cut our fabric to 24” in width and our finished size should be 20”
in width. Want to test your figures? Using the old fabric from the chair, push the sleeve’s
openings as flat as possible on the ends to be measured. Then lay the panels cut sides
on the floor side by side and lined up. Now take measurements from folded edge to folded
edge. Is it the same, or very close to your calculated finished size? Our calculated measurements
was 20” for our chair, and our old fabric measures that almost perfectly. So our calculations
are correct. If your chair is meant to be rectangular and
one measurement is slightly off, use the smaller measurement as the standard. To calculate
the cut length of our sling fabric, simply take the measurement you took along the sling
rail earlier and add 2” for a 1” hem at the top and bottom of the fabric. Now we’re
armed with a cut size width in length and a finished size width in length. Now we can
cut the fabric to size. First, we must be assured that the cut edges
are square. Here we’re using an L square to ensure that they are straight. Once we
determine that and make any trimming that’s necessary, we can use our width measurement
for the cut size and measure across the fabric. Here we’re marking the Phifertex Plus fabric
with a pen. Once it’s marked at several locations, we can use the yardstick and strike
a line through those marks. Once that line is struck down, we can measure for our cut
length. This is the actual length of the chair plus the 2”. Again we are marking the fabric
at a few locations so we can strike a line across at that location. The Phifertex Plus
fabric can be cut with scissors. Edges do not ravel much. No need to use a hotknife.
Next we’ll create the hems. Hems are placed along the edge that does not accommodate the
sling rail. For us that’s the short sides, and we need to just measure over 1” and
strike a line. No need for a double hem. A single hem will work perfectly here. We’ll
crease the fabric along that struck line and press it firmly creating a slight memory.
I’m going to flip it. Once it’s pre-creased, I can take a hard object like this here Canvas
Patterning Ruler and crease it down well. If you don’t have the Sailrite Canvas Patterning
Ruler, you can use something like the edge of your scissors to crease it really well.
Now we’ll take this, since this is folded this direction, we need to do the same thing
on the other short side. A 1” hem on the other short side can be done in the same manner.
Fold the fabric under since the hem on the other side is under. That hem is folded under
so it’s on the same side as the first one we created.
We’ll use the Deluxe 5 ½’ Magnetic Guide like a table saw’s fence. Because it’s
folded, it should stay right where we pressed the crease in place. First stitch then do
a little reversing. The reversing locks the stitch in place. We’ll sew a straight stitch,
about a 6mm long straight stitch, then when we reach the other side, we do some reversing
there as well. So far we have only one stitch in this 1” hem, and it’s about 1/8”
from the raw edge of the fabric. We will sew one more row of straight stitches about 1/8”
to the right of that first stitch we just created- reversing it at the beginning and
the end of our sewing to lock the stitch in place. Then we’ll repeat that procedure
for the opposite end following the same procedure. Our two hems are sewn in place. Up next, we’ll
concentrate on the sleeves. Flip your fabric so the hems are facing down.
We’ll be doing a ½” hem so we can mark it there down both sides at a ½”. This
is the outside surface. Hems are facing down. For us, this is our long sides. This is the
side that will slide into the sling rail’s channel. We’re marking a ½” and striking
a line there. We’ll do that on both long sides. Our ½” hem line is here. We want
to mark 2” over and strike another line here. So we’ll measure in a few spots at
2”. Strike a line through those spots. This will be our finished size when we’re done.
We’ll put the final fold here. That 2” measurement was from the edge of the fabric.
We have a ½”, and from this edge, we have 2” here. From this edge ½”; from this
edge 2”. So now our sides that slide into the channel have a ½” line struck down
and a 2” line struck down on both edges. Once that’s done, let’s confirm. Okay
if you’ve done it right, from the inside line, which we struck at 2”, to the next
inside line, which we struck at 2”, that should be your final measurement- from here
to here. Our final measurement was 20”. It’s perfect. That’s our finished size.
At the ½” mark, we’ll crease the fabric by hand, and then we’ll crease it with a
heavy object right along that line that we struck on the fabric. This is our ½” hem.
We’re folding the hem under so that it’s on the same side as the hem on the two short
edges. We’ve creased the ½”; now we’ll crease it at 2”. Once it’s creased, we’ll
flip it so that the hems are facing up. Then we’ll crease it with a solid object just
to be sure that it stays there when we sew it. Again, you can use some hard object like
scissors or you can use the Sailrite Canvas Patterning Ruler to crease it along that edge.
These folds will create the sleeve for the sling spline cording.
Okay, this is their 1/2” hem. We’ll fold it under. We’ll fold on that 2” hem here.
So we need to keep that hem under as we sew. So where do we want the first stitch? I’m
going to move Magnetic Guide so that we put the first stitch so that the outside of the
presser foot is right along this fold, which will put my stitch about a ¼” inside this
folded edge. That’s my first stitch; we’re going to have two rows of stitches here. So
I’m going to set the Magnetic Guide up right there. This part is chunky. This is a heavy
fabric here so we’re going to sew through it, do some reversing there, and then I’m
going to carefully make sure that my hem is in the right spot. So I’m going to hold
my hand back here and try to feed my fabric through flat, and keep my fabric up against
the fence as I sew. Sew a few inches, fold it flat. We’re working outside under our
pergola, which has a wire hung canopy installed on it. Want to build that? Check out the link
located at the upper right corner of this video. The Phifertex Plus fabric we’ve chosen
here is the heaviest we stock at 24.6 oz. per square yard. Most Phifertex Plus fabrics
are about 15 oz.-16 oz. and are much easier to sew. We’re sewing it with a heavy duty
sewing machine. However, if you’re using a home sewing machine, we recommend the 15
oz.-16 oz. Phifertex Plus fabric. A second row of straight stitches should be installed
right along that first one approximately a ¼”-1/8” away from the first. We’ll
do that at along both long sides. Since we’ve already sewn the fabric on both sides with
a single stitch, this time we can sew right along this rather quickly because we don’t
have to worry about folding the fabric. There we go!
We’re going to use McLube here. This is sailkote. It’s a lubricant. We’re going
to spray it on our rag. Then we’re going to clean the grooves of each one of these
channels. So we’re going to insert the rag inside there, stuff it in there where the
lube is, and then just run it in the groove. This cleans it and it lubes it for the insertion
of the sling fabric. Next we’ll insert our new sling chair spline cording into the sleeves
we created, leaving approximately 1” sticking out of the ends. It can easily be cut with
scissors. This track has two holes on this side and multiple holes on this side. The
multiple holes are for the bar stretchers. So we’re going to insert the fabric in so
that the multiple holes will be towards the inside. This is the outside surface of the
fabric so the fabric will go into the channel just like this. The hems are facing under.
It’s best to start with a long edge. So here’s how it goes: multiple holes, bottom
side of the fabric, top side of the fabric, we start it in like this. Because we’re
using the heaviest of Phifertex Plus fabrics, we’re going to pry the ends open slightly.
This will allow our heavier fabric to slide through here at the end where we will insert
it. This is not required for lighter Phifertex Plus fabrics. The end of the panel has a single
hem and also incorporates the sleeve. So it is the thickest part of the panel and will
be the most difficult to pull through the channel, especially because we’re using
the heaviest of Phifertex Plus fabrics. Having difficulty pulling your panel through
the channel? A trick is to cut some of the scrap fabric into a rectangle and fold it
over the end next to the sling rail. Then lock on a pair of vice grips and use that
to pull the fabric into the channel. Remember, what you’re seeing here is the most challenging
application ever. If you use a lighter Phifertex Plus, you will not have this much difficulty.
Because I can no longer reach the open end of the channel, I grabbed one of my sons,
Silas, to help guide the fabric into the end of the sling rail’s channel. He is ensuring
that the weave of the fabric is not getting caught on the end of the sling rail’s frame
as I pull the fabric using the vice grips. Eric to Silas: Almost there.
Twisting the fabric as I am here will sometimes make it go through the channel with a little
bit more ease. Eric to Silas: That’ll help. Do it again.
For some reason this always seems to loosen it up by pushing it over. Now how close are
you to the end? Okay, about the same. How close are you? Oh, not bad. Just wiggle the
fabric a little bit. Okay so, take a look over here. Because we
used the vice grips on a scrap piece of fabric, when I release them, any damage is usually
done to the scrap piece of fabric, and our fabric is still in great shape, as you can
see here. So we have one side done. Now we just need to do it to the other.
So you see the holes are on this one- the multiple holes. This side has only two. Your
chair may be different. Multiple holes go to the inside so it goes on like this. This
is the outside surface. Eric to Silas: Silas could you start guiding
this through there? I notice that I make some great facials when
I’m pulling this fabric through (laughs). Wow, we got a lot of distance with that one.
We’re going to move on ahead. Here’s what it looks like when the fabric is fed in both
sling rails. Up next, we’ll re-insert the spreader bars.
This is a bar clamp spreader, and the idea is that right now it’s set up to be configured
to be a spreader. But this end can come off and can be moved this direction on the other
side, and it’s a clamp. In our situation we want it to be spreader. So we’re going
to position it like this and secure it in place. So our first tension bar goes here.
As you can see, it is going to be under a great amount of tension so I need something
to spread it apart. We’ll use this bar clamp/spreader as a spreader, and apply tension very close
to the holes where the spreader bar needs to be inserted. You need to be sure that the
clamp jaws are very close to the fabric to avoid it from slipping out when the frame
is put under great tension. Each of our spreader bars have washers that go on prior to insertion
into the holes at each of the spreader bar openings. So we inserted those washers in
place. Yours may not have those. Once the bar is in place, you can release the tension
of the spreader. Billie to Eric: I jumped (laughs).
Eric to Billie: First one’s in place! Here you see two holes. Which one does the
tension bar go into? Well, it won’t fit into that one, for one. But this hole goes
all the way through; it’s for a bolt. So the tension bar goes through this hole. We’ll
follow that same procedure positioning the spreader very close to the holes where the
spreader bar, or tension bar, needs to be inserted into the holes. We’ll keep the
jaws very close to the fabric to helpfully avoid it from popping out when great tension
is applied. The bar does not yet fit. We need more tension. But we’re almost to the max.
Its close, but I can’t spread any more than that with this tension here. I am so close
to that, but I’m not close enough. So I’m going to bend this bar slightly. I’m going
to go in the middle position. That table is not going to do it so I’m going to do it
on my leg. That should shorten it up. Let’s check. Yep, shortened it up beautifully. In
fact probably too much, but we can pound that out. So I’m going to position it over the
hole here, and then I’m going to release my tension bar (bar spreader; not tension
bar) because it’s going to spring forward. Billie to Eric: (makes a scared noise)
Eric to Billie: There we go! Billie to Eric: Scary!
Eric to Billie: Beautiful. (My wife is filming. Every time I do that, she jumps. [Laughs]) Because this bar was bent, we can take a rubber
mallet and a rag to help prevent damage to the paint job. We can pound it down and it’ll
actually spread it out. There, that makes it nice and stiff. This is the spreader bar
for the bottom. You can see this one has a bend outward, and this one’s more of a straight.
This is for your butt so wherever the seat is, that’s supposed to accommodate for heavy
people (laughs). Okay, looks like we don’t have too far to go. Going to put a washer
on this. The other one has a washer. Need a little bit more tension. Now we can get
in there. If we use a rubber mallet, we can pound it into place. There we go. Now I can
release the tension. And our last one is here. Silas, being young, uses his hand. (Laughs)
I would use the rubber mallet here instead. Eric to Silas: Good job! Look at that. We
got it. Once the spreader bars are in place, all we
have to do is reassemble the chair. For us, it’s four bolts. I strongly recommend inserting
all of the bolts and twisting them a few rotations by hand so that several threads are locked
into position. Then after all of the bolts are inserted by hand, use a wrench or socket,
as shown here. Now the excess sling cord that’s stinking out- sling/awning cord- just take
a razor blade and cut kind of at a “V” angle. That should give you enough room to
put the end caps back on. Our end caps are fairly fragile since they’re old so be careful
with them. We’ll carefully pound the end caps into place on each of the ends of the
sling rails. That’s all there is to it. Coming up next is the materials list and tools
that we used. Eric to Billie: Another job done! (Laughs) You will find many gorgeous high quality outdoor
living sling fabrics at Sailrite. They will last for many years, even in the harshest
outdoor environments. As you can see by the list, only three materials are required for
a project like this: fabric, thread, and spline cording. Sure, you’ll need some tools and
a sewing machine, but hopefully you already have those at home. The bar clamp/spreader
may be the only tool you have to purchase, but they are not too expensive. For your convenience,
here are the calculations for ordering from Sailrite again. Our patio sling chair panels
were sewn with Sailrite’s Profilen PTFE Thread in a clear color. As you can see, that
thread blends with any color fabric beautifully. It’s a lifetime thread that will never rot.
However, it’s more expensive than polyester thread, which is UV resistant but not UV proof
like Profilen. The choice is yours. Sailrite carries both polyester thread and the PTFE
for your next outdoor sewing project. It’s your loyal patronage to Sailrite that makes
these free videos available. I’m Eric Grant, and from all of us here at Sailrite, thanks