Do you have old outdoor patio furniture that needs a refresh?   In my case, I had a pair of chairs that were missing cushions (and seats) all together.  What a perfect excuse to teach you how to make outdoor chair cushions in this tutorial.

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Jeweled Interiors Fall 2018 One Room Challenge, before pics, colonial, piano, living room, dining room, entertaining space, miles redd, Jonathan Adler, ideas, before shots, Metrie, spoonflower, build.com, architectural depot, art, Milton and King, Viva Tropicana. Kelly Wearstler
Jeweled Interiors Fall 2018 One Room Challenge, before pics, colonial, piano, living room, dining room, entertaining space, miles redd, Jonathan Adler, ideas, before shots, Metrie, spoonflower, build.com, architectural depot, art, Milton and King, Viva Tropicana. Kelly Wearstler
Jeweled Interiors Fall 2018 One Room Challenge, before pics, colonial, piano, living room, dining room, entertaining space, miles redd, Jonathan Adler, ideas, before shots, Metrie, spoonflower, build.com, architectural depot, art, Milton and King, Viva Tropicana. Kelly Wearstler

The awesome fabric was sponsored by Spoonflower, but the opinions are 100% my own

These first two cushions are just the first of many that I am about to make for our upcoming patio makeover, but I thought a tutorial explaining the process would be helpful. 

BEFORE

I bought a pair of wicker chairs off of Facebook Market place because I like the scale and shape.  The only hang-up was the fact that there were no seats…as in big holes where one would sit down.  First, I cut some pressure treated plywood and screwed them into place. Then it was on to the upholstery portion…What a perfect project to explain how to make outdoor chair cushions.

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how to upholster outdoor patio furniture, patio cushions, DIY, Outdoor cushions, spoon flower, wicker chair, recycled canvas

 AFTER Outdoor Chair Cushions

SPOONFLOWER FABRIC

I am loving how this turned out and my very favorite part is this gorgeous Spoonflower Recycled Cotton Canvas fabric. The Shagreen design was made by Danika Herrick, and I’d say she knocked it out of the ball park. Danika has a huge collection of prints on Spoonflower, many of which are classic chinoiserie.

Keep in mind, many Spoonflower designers will be willing to change the scale or color of their designs.  It doesn’t hurt to ask, and a tip is always a nice gesture for this service.

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Recycled Canvas Fabric

What really get’s me excited is that Spoonflower now offers their designs on Recycled Canvas Fabric. This is a 50% polyester fabric offering a smooth drape, soft hand and radiant color saturation with a subtle luster. The interesting part is that it is made from 50% REPREVE®​, which is a ​high-quality recycled fiber that helps conserve energy and natural resources. Each yard of this performance fabric is ​made from 10 recycled bottles!  Cute designs plus good for the environment?  Sounds like a winning combo to me.

 
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How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: Supplies

TIME:

This isn’t a hard project but it does require a bit of time.  I’d guess it took me about 5 hours total, but now that I’m back in practice, the next cushions will go much more quickly.

Supplies:

OUTDOOR (not Indoor) upholstery foam.  I bought mine (3 inch variety) at Fabric Place Basement, but if you aren’t local to DC or Boston you can try Sailrite or any other foam distributor

 Newspaper or wrapping paper

Fabric- I used Spoonflower Recycled Canvas in Shagreen by Danika Herrick

Optional: Additional Fabric to make welting

Sewing Maching

Needle and thread or (Zipper and zipper foot, but the zipper is not addressed in this tutorial)

Fabric cutting mat and rotary blade (nice but not required)

Straight pins

Pencil

Exacto knife, sharp scissors, turkey cutter, or jig saw

Piping solid filler cord (Optional)

Optional, piping sewing machine presser foot for welting.  If you have a low shank machine this foot may fit.

How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 1

Make a Pattern

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Since I was working from scratch, I needed to develop a pattern for the seat.  Do this by inserting a piece of newspaper or wrapping paper into the space and use a pencil or an exacto knife to mark the exact dimensions.

How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

 Step 2

After I finished tweeking the paper, I used this as pattern for the chair cushion. You can cut 3 inch outdoor foam with a turkey carving knife, jig saw, exacto knife, or sharp scissors. It is a slightly different texture than indoor foam and I find it a little easier to cut.

Once cut, double check that the foam fits in nicely before moving on.

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This cushion in this image is plenty tight. If you prefer a tad more breathing room between the chair and cushion that is ok too, especially if you are planning on making welting (piping). Just make sure to adjust your paper pattern to match. Keep in mind, however that your cushion will likely be a tad tight, squishing your foam into place.

How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 3

On the reverse side of your fabric you can pin and trace out the shape of your pattern. Then add  a second concentric circle half an inch all of the way around the first.  This allows for seam allowance. You cut on the outside circle, not the inside where you traced the pattern.

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NOTE:  This is very important!  If you are working with a fabric with a design on the front, you need to consider how it will look once cut and flipped over.  For my design, it was important to line-up the center repeat (the largest shagreen circles in the center of my chairs). I did this by folding my paper pattern in half and making a crease. Then I marked the center point of the fabric pattern with straight pins.  When it came time to pin and cut, I was all lined up where I wanted be side to side and front to back.

On the next cushion I ensured that the pattern looked as close to identical to the first one as I could manage.

How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 4

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Optional:  If you are feeling up to adding welting, it does make a very polished finished product.  If you are new to sewing there is no shame in skipping this part.

Using a fabric cutting mat and rotary blade, cut a 2 inch strip on a diagonal, similar to what we did last week for the bias tape.

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This pressure foot (or something similar that fits your machine) is a game changer.  I’ve used a zipper foot before but the Piping foot keeps everything in line and is definitely worth the $7 investment. Then, use your piping pressure foot to sew your solid core filler cord right down the center.

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How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 5

After cutting the top and bottom pieces of fabric with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, and sewed your welting, it is time to move on to the front face of the cushion.

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Using your fabric cutting mat and rotary tool (or measuring tape and scissors if you are in a pinch) measure out four a four inch (assuming you are using 3 inch foam) or three inch (for 2 inch foam) strip of fabric that is slightly longer than the circumference of your seat.

NOTE: make sure the direction of your fabric is the same as the top of your seat cushion. For example (see above the 9 and 10 in the image above), the large shagreen circles ran down the middle of my seat top and matched up with the large circles in the four inch strip.

If your seat is large, you may need to sew together several pieces of 4 inch strip to make it around your piece, that is ok.  However, if  this seam will be visible, try to match up the patterns as much as possible.

 

Once all of the pieces are cut, then line them up with the center front of the top piece of fabric (for me that was the large circles) , insert piping in between the two like sides, and begin pinning and sewing. I like to start from this center mark and sew out from there in each direction so that the seams stay matched.

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How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 6

After sewing the top all of the way around and the bottom just over 3/4 of the way around (leaving an open seam in the back) stuff the outdoor cushion into the seat cover.  Once you have lined-up the corners and centered the pattern then hand-stitch the back seam closed.

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how to upholster outdoor patio furniture, patio cushions, DIY, Outdoor cushions, spoon flower, wicker chair, recycled canvas

How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushions: 

Step 7

Enjoy!

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Stay tuned as I makeover a settee and four more chairs over the next two months as part of our backyard makeover.

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