Director's chairs are multifunctional and timeless with their simplistic and clean design. They can serve both indoor and outdoor seating needs year-round. The chairs are easy to recover, so damaged ones can be repaired, or they can be updated with newer fabrics.
Choose your fabric and, if needed, paint for the chair. Because of the chair's classic design, it's easy to give it an up-to-date, fresh look simply by changing the fabric.
Choose a heavyweight fabric. Canvas or heavyweight twills are ideal. Remember, it will serve as the chair seat, so durability is a must.
Shop for outdoor fabric as an alternative. Outdoor fabric generally is weatherproof in addition to being durable. You'll definitely want to consider this alternative if the chair(s) will be used outdoors.
Buy 1 yard of 36-inch fabric. If the fabric you select comes in 60-inch width, you will only need one-half yard of fabric.
Clean the wood chair frame with an all-purpose household cleaner.
Inspect the surface to determine if the frame needs to be repainted. You'll be disappointed with your recovered chair if the frame is chipped or nicked. A fresh coat of paint will make your project look great.
Select a paint color to complement your fabric. Latex paints work well and are easier to clean up.
Sand the frame to smooth out any nicks and roughen the surface before painting. Be sure to wipe the entire frame so that it's free of dust before applying the paint.
Paint the frame and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Cut two pieces of fabric: one for the seat and one for the back. The fabric for the seat should be 24 inches by 17 inches. The piece for the back should be 28 by 8.5 inches. See diagram(s).
Cut 60-inch wide fabric as shown:
Create the finished edge for the front and back edges of the chair seat. To do this, turn under 3/8 inch of fabric along the 24-inch edge, and then roll it over another 3/8 inch. Be sure to roll toward the underside of the fabric so that your seam is on the bottom of the chair when finished. Pin in place as you go. When it is pinned in place, sew the entire length along the folded edge. Repeat this process for the opposite side. When finished, the width of your chair seat will measure 15.5 inches, and the overall dimension of your seat will be 24 inches by 15.5 inches.
Create the finished edge for the chair back in the same fashion. Fold over 3/8 inch along the 28-inch side, and then roll it over another 3/8 inch. Again, fold toward the underside of the fabric so that your seam will be toward the back of the chair when it's complete. Pin as you go and sew along the folded edge as you did in step 2. Repeat the process on the opposite side so that your chair back now measures 28 by 7 inches.
Finish the sides of your chair seat. To do this, finish the raw edge by turning under ½ inch and sewing near the fold. Your seam length will be 15.5 inches. Do this to avoid future fraying of your material. Next, turn under 1.5 inches and sew a straight seam 1 inch from the folded edge (Again, your seam length will be 15.5 inches.) Remember, turn toward the underside of your fabric so that you'll keep your seam on the bottom of the chair seat. Next sew another straight seam ½ inch from the fold. This will be centered between your first seam and the fold. This creates the pocket for the dowel. Repeat the process on the other side so that your chair seat measures 20 inches by 15.5 inches.
Slide the dowels into the pockets you created in step 4. If you need to replace the wooden dowels, ¼ inch diameter works best and they should be cut to 15 inches in length.
Finish the sides of your chair back. First, turn under ½ inch along the unfinished edge and pin that in place. Next, turn that section over an additional 2.5 inches. Sew a straight seam as close to the folded edge as possible. Your seam length will be 7 inches. To reinforce this, sew a second straight seam ½ inch from the first one. You have now created the pocket for your chair back upright. Repeat the process on the other side, so that your chair back now measures 22 inches by 7 inches.
Reassemble your chair. With the dowels in place on the chair seat, slide them into the grooves on the frame with your seams facing toward the floor. It's easiest to do this with the chair partially folded. Next, flip up the armrests and slide your chair back over the uprights. Again, be sure your seams are facing to the back of the chair. Unfold the chair. Voila! It's like new.