Sewing Projects: How To Make An Outdoor Bench Cushion

This article discusses how to make a basic cushion for an outdoor bench.

One of the advantages to having even simple sewing skills is that a person can make things that might be fairly expensive to buy outright, and be able to have these things in the desired colors or styles. Many people have benches in their yards, or on their decks or patios. If a person doesn't care to go out and buy a cushion for a bench, can this person make one at home? The answer is yes. Keep it simple and the process is much like making a regular pillow or other cushion.

Measure the length and width of the bench seat, first, and write down the numbers. When buying fabric for the bench, buy enough to make a 2-inch hem around the sides. The person who is cutting the fabric can help figure out how much yardage to buy. Fabric should be of a tough, outdoor type, and someone in the fabric store should be able to help in this choice, as well. It should be an upholstery-grade type fabric and be weather-resistant, if not outright waterproof. Part of the choice will depend on where the bench will sit--outside in the weather, or under a covered patio or deck.

Standard polyester fiberfill should be sufficient to stuff the cushion, and the buyer should get far more than it looks like it will take to stuff the cushion. Fiberfill tends to compress, and it is difficult to get "too much."



The sewer should decide if the cushion should be washable, and if it can be re-stuffed during use. If the answer is yes, the sewer should get a plastic zipper with large teeth, suitable for use on an outside cushion.

With a square or rectangle bench bottom, the construction process is not difficult. The sewer should first double the fabric and measure it for length and width, with the aforementioned 2-inch hem all around. Cut the fabric to match the dimensions.

If no zipper is desired on the cushion, the sewer should then set up the sewing machine and load a heavy-duty needle and thread--plastic filament thread, if the machine will take it--and get the fabric ready to go.

There are two ways to proceed from here. The sewer can turn the fabric so the right sides are together, and sew about two inches from the edge on the two long sides. One short side should be where the fabric is folded, so a seam will not be necessary. Sew on the other short side about three-fourths of the way across. Turn the cushion cover right side out. Poke the corners out with a crochet needle or butter knife. Stuff the cushion full of fiberfill and, turning the raw edges of the fabric to the inside of the cushion, blind-stitch the hole shut. The cushion is done.

The other way to finish a zipperless cushion is to fold the fabric as for the above style, but, making sure the ends are even all around, cut the fabric at the fold. With wrong sides together, fold in the raw edges on each side and sew them into the fabric on three sides, about one inch from the edge, creating a sort of flange all the way around the cushion. Then, stuff the cushion full and give the open end the same treatment on the machine. Sewing the stuffed cushion will be slightly awkward, but the effect will be good.

For a zippered cushion, cut the fabric as above, and, with right sides together, the zipper pull facing downard, sew the zipper in along one of the short edges. Sew the 2-inch hem again and turn the cushion cover right side out through the zippered opening. Poke the corners and stuff the cushion, then zip shut.

These instructions are for a very basic type of cushion. A sewer can add buttons to the top for a decorative look, if desired. However, these instructions are good for almost any size or shape of outdoor cushion.

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