home + garden

Totally Tubular Aluminum Chair

Go Gingham Reader Question

Here’s a question from a reader, Robin, who was forced to buy a chair while she was out shopping with her very resourceful friend – me!  Robin’s house is mid-century modern and she has fabulous taste.  This modern rocking chair, which does need fixing will look great in her house.  Robin writes:

“I bought an aluminum tubular folding chair at “The Bins” about 5 years ago after some prodding from a friend (you).  After a little digging, I found that it is called a NY Rocking Chair and made by the Japanese designer, Takeshi Nii.  I looked into getting a new cover made and it was too expensive. I am going to recover it myself with some old army blankets.  Do you have a suggestion to keep it from dripping when I put it on the frame?”

Fixing modern rocking chair

Fixing a Modern Rocking Chair

Yes, Robin, I do have advice but first thank you for following your friend’s advice and buying that chair because it’s a fabulous chair and it will look great in your home!  Second, well done on not hiring someone to make a new cover for it and tackling the project yourself.  And third, thank you for not bringing the chair to my house because I have enough chairs already.

I love the idea of using the old army blankets.  Clean the blankets, first, and then make a pattern out of some muslin or other scrap fabric.  Also, I’m glad you kept the old cover from the modern rocking chair.  Many times, because something is torn or the fabric is rotted, we want to get rid of the item immediately but if you want to make a pattern from the old seat, you must keep the old, torn cover until you can make a pattern.  Make sure your pattern fits the chair by using a practice fabric and not your finished fabric.

Fixing modern rocking chair

Next, sew the army blankets together so they’re a double thickness.  Pin them together first and then sew rows or channels, about 3” apart.  I’m picturing long rows of straight stitches which will  help strengthen the fabric.  If the blankets are stretchy (some old wool blankets are) you could even add a middle layer of canvas to your wool to keep your fabric strong and not stretchy.

Fixing modern rocking chair

This is a similar project I did to re-make our hammock.  The fabric is double layered and then I channel stitched it together at the top, near the grommets.  It could have used one more layer of fabric in the body of it but I learn as I sew (or is it go?).

how to make a hammock

Good luck, Robin, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Do you have a question you’d like me to answer?  I’d be happy to.  Please submit one here.  You can also share a stylishly frugal re-do project here as well.  Let’s Go Gingham!

Go Gingham related links:

How to clean wool blankets
The Goodwill Bins” are here
Yes, it’s true, I love chairs, too.
What other questions have been asked and answered?  Find out here.
How to fix outdoor chairs is here with a little TV appearance, too.

4 thoughts on “Totally Tubular Aluminum Chair

  1. I love these chairs, my dad had one that I inherited during my college years. The fabric on mine tore in just the same way. I saved it all for years, but somehow I think the fabric has all been lost. Does your friend still have the pattern?


    1. Hamlin,
      If my friend has a pattern (or made one) I will let you know. I’m hopefully seeing her soon (it’s her turn to host our dinner group soon!) and if she made one, I’ll contact you. They’re wonderful chairs!
      Thanks for leaving a comment…


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