Instructions for a Braided Chair Seat

Braided rugs are common in many households and they are notable for their charm and durability. You can use the same technique to create durable braids and weave them over a chair frame similar to chair tape techniques. This will produce a comfortable and inexpensive braided chair seat that will hold up well and hide stains too. Keep in mind that you will need a lot of fabric strips to make enough braids for your chair.

Cut fabric 3 inches wide in long strips. Join strips together by placing a strip face side up. Place a second strip face side down along the bottom of the first strip forming an L. Sew a double-stitch diagonal seam from the top left to bottom right. Trim your seams. A double stitch is a seam sewn twice.

Place the strip face side down. Fold 3/4 inches of the left long side toward the middle. Fold 3/4 inches of the right long side toward the middle and touching the left side. Fold the left side over the right side and iron. Sew two seams 1/4-inch from each side along the length.

Tie three strips together over a table leg or other solid place. Braid right over left and left over right. Keep your braids flat and as close to a uniform size as possible. Use a tacking stitch at the end of long braids to keep the ends together. Cut off your beginning knots and tack stitch the ends together.

Tack the end of a braid to the inside left side rail using a tack and hammer. Bring the braid along the underside to the back rail so that the first braid starts by wrapping from the underside to the topside against the back left leg and seat back post. Bring the braid to the front rail, over and under, to the back rail, under and over. Continue this and finish by tacking the braid to the inside of the right side rail. Hand sew a strong tack seam across the braid end to make it very strong.

Measure and cut a 1-inch foam pad somewhat smaller than the chair seat. Insert the pad between the top and bottom layers of braid. This will add extra support.

Nail a tack into the sewn end of a new braid. The nail should go into the inside of the back rail a few inches from the right back leg of the chair. Take the braid under the chair seat and bring the first row up over the right side rail with the braid against the right seat back and leg post. Weave the braid over and under from the right to left side. Tip the chair up and weave the braid across the underside. Note that the underside weave is slanted -- this is normal. Bring your braid up against your first row braid on the right side. Keep your braids flat and tight to each other.

Weave the second row the same as the first except you will go under instead of over, and over instead of under. This will form a cross-hatch pattern. Continue weaving both the upper and lower sides all the way to the front left. Hand sew a seam across the end of your braid and tack the braid to the front inside rail. You may need to move a braid to the side to hammer the nail. Slide the braid back in place once the nailing is secure.


Some chairs are wider at the front. To fix this, nail small strips of braid from the inside of a side rail going over the front rail. Sew a seam across the end of the braid and tack the end to the inside side rail. Continue to fill in the triangular space. Do your horizontal weave as normal.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-inch fabric strips
  • Scissors
  • Cutting wheel
  • Cutting mat
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and board
  • Tack
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch foam
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About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.