Outdoor Cushions • Patio Furniture Cushions • Outdoor Chair Cushions
SIMPLY PILLOWS by Sunset
About Outdoor Cushions
Sewing cushions for furniture is really no different from sewing any other sort of pillow: the pieces are just likely to be larger. While square-edge styles are the most common choice for furniture, knife-edge pillow make good chair pads.
Cover outdoor cushions in a fabric that will hold up the stress of being outside and being sat upon. Decorator fabrics are a good choice, but be sure to ask about the fabric and make sure it is appropriate for your use - do you need materials that will be left out continually regardless of the weather or will you take them in after each use? Nylon and silk are subject to sun rot, and awning canvas is better than traditional cotton canvas as it is made to be outside. Also ask about batting for outdoor use as there are certain kinds that are mildew-retardant meant for use in outdoor cushions.
Below are two examples: a set of outdoor cushions for chairs and an outdoor furniture cushion for a bench.
Hinged Cushions for Chairs
To find the length to make the corner darts, measure the thickness of your pillow forms: divide this dimension in half. For example, if your pillow form is 4" thick, the corner dart will be 2" long.
- Place each of the pillow cover pieces (A and B) wrong side up. At each corner, mark the seam allowance along the edges. From each marked corner, measure and mark the length of the dart on each seamline.
- At each corner fold the fabric diagonally, wrong side out, aligning the adjacent cut edges (fold along the dash line in the drawing below). Perpendicular to the cut edge, place a pin through the mark made in the last step.
- Keeping the fabric wrong side out, slide your fingers between the layers to center the dart over the pinned corner; pin as shown, keeping the pin heads below the cut side edges. Repeat at each corner.
- Remove the pins inserted in step 3. From the right side, trim the points of fabric extending above the cut side edges. Baste across the end of each dart to secure it.
- With tight sides together and cut edges aligned, sew the hinge pieces (D) together at both ends.
- Turn the hinge right side out. With the right sides together, center one long hinge edge on the bottom edge of one piece of the back cushion. Center the other long hinge edge on the back edge of one piece of the seat cushion. Pin and sew together.
- With right sides together, sew the back cushion pieces together, leaving an opening along the hinge. Sew the seat cushion pieces together in the same way. Press the seams open and turn the covers right side out. Insert the forms and slipstitch the openings closed.
- Put the cushions on the chair and mark the button placements. Thread a long sturdy needle with heavy thread. At each mark, insert the needle all the way through the cushion, pull it through, leaving a long tail of thread on both sides, and remove the needle. Repeat about 1/4" away. On one side of the cushion, tie a square knot; leave the thread tails hangling. Repeat on the other side, pulling the thread tight to indent the cushion.
- At each indent, pass one thread end through a button shank and tie securely to the other thread end. Cut off the excess threads.
- Buttons with shank backs; a pair for each position
- Thread to match
- Foam or other materials for cushion forms - use half the desired thickness and use batting to soften the foam and make up the other thickness desired.
To calculate the size to cut the bench cushion top pieces, first determine the depth of the perimeter band (H). To find the finished size of the center panel (I), double the band depth and subtract this dimension from the length and width of the cushion form. Cut the center to this size, adding seam allowance all around.
- With the right sides together and cut edges aligned, center, pin, and sew a long band to each long edge of the center panel. Begin stitching 1/2" from the end of the panel and stop 1/2" from the other end; backstitch both ends to reinforce them. Press the bands away from the center.
- In the same manner, sew a short band to each end of the center panel; stitch only between the long bands.
- Turn the piece wrong side up and lap the bands as shown. Using a 45-degree right-angle triangle, mark a diagonal line from the corner of the panel seamline to the edge of the upper band.
- Reverse the lap and mark the other band in the same way. Repeat to mark the bands at each corner.
- At one corner, fold the panel diagonally, wrong side out; fold the seam allowance toward the panel and align the seams and the marked lines. Pin and sew the bands together on the marked lines.
- Repeat at each remaining corner. Trim the seam allowance; press the mitered seams open, then press the panel seams toward the bands.
- Layer the batting over the muslin, and top with the cushion top, right side up. Pin and baste together around the perimeter.
- Using chalk, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner of the center panel. To quilt the top, sew through all layers, stitching in the ditch of each mitered seam and along marked lines.
- Make the welting from the bias strips (C). With right sides together and cut edges aligned, sew welting around the perimeter of the cushion front and back; join and finish the welting ends neatly.
- With right sides together and cut edges aligned, pin and sew the boxing (J) to the cushion front; clip and pivot the boxing at each corner. Leaving an opening on one side, pin and sew the boxing to the cushion back. Trim the corners, turn the cover right side out, insert the pillow form, and slipstitch the opening closed. Use piece K for the cushion bottom.
- Cable cord for welting
- Batting and muslin for quilted tops
- Thread to match
- Foam for cushion forms