Monday, April 16, 2012

Outdoor Pillows

I spent this past weekend making some pillows for the furniture on our new outdoor patio. I've made so many home decor items, and find this kind of sewing very satisfying. I have made so many window treatments that I have saved my family thousands of dollars. I'm not kidding. Have you ever gotten a quote for drapes?

If you are a beginning sewist, and need some practice on your straight seams, you've got it made! Window treatments are easy. The hardest part, seriously, is the math. Not ready for interlined and lined, pinch pleated floor to ceiling drapes? How about pillow covers?

Once you make pillow covers, you will never want to pay those expensive prices that you see. I haven't looked, but I suspect there are some pillow cover hacks for all those super cute pillows from the popular home decor stores.

I made 2 18" square pillows with an envelope opening on the back for the adirondack chairs which look great but can get kind of uncomfortable. The fabric is all specifically for outdoors, purchased from I made the cording from bias strips from the striped fabric and it's a super fat cording. I've had this stuff in my stash for a couple years, and I'm afraid I don't actually know the diameter.

A close up of how the opening looks in the back (and the cording):
But the bench...   I love how the bench cover turned out! The kidney shape had its challenges. I started with a piece of 2" thick foam from Jo-Anns that is the length of the bench, but was not quite the width. I made a pattern from newspaper taped together by tracing around the edge of the bench.
Have you ever worked with this kind of foam? It's grabby. I knew that it would be darn near impossible to just slide the cover over, so I first made a foam cover out of muslin. Oh, I cut the foam with a big knife. Kinda made a mess. From the scraps, I cut the end bits to made it wide enough and just glued them on with a craft glue.
Bench cushion, covered with foam scraps
I don't plan to ever remove this muslin cover, so I just slip-stitched the opening closed, but I'm using a zipper for the outside cover. The edge strip is 2" wide, and I inserted the zipper in the middle of the strip.

Yes, the zipper is brown, but you can't see it. Sewing it in the middle of the strip made it easier to sew the bottom piece on. If you use a similar technique, just remember to unzip the zipper, or you'll be stuck with it inside out! It turned out to be a perfect fit!


  1. Looks like you're ready to enjoy the summer on your patio. Love the stripes!

  2. Your bench cushion looks superb, as do your piped cushions (I herald from the UK - I know you call cushions, pillows across the pond!)
    I'm liking all your sewing bits and pieces - a woman after my own heart - just wish there were more hours in the day to do what I want!
    You talked about making curtains - it's what I do for a living and what I teach people to do. If you are struggling with working out the calculations I have a free download on my Sew-Good blog - I use these with my students. They are in metric I'm afraid but could be converted to inches.
    Happy making!

  3. Your outdoor space looks very chic!
    You are right about saving a fortune by doing your own home dec sewing. I find it a little dull, but I love to save literally hundreds of pounds. The hardest part for me is keeping straight lines straight. It's easy to get off an inch once your have cut about 10 feet of fabric!

  4. Lovely bench seat cushion!! I am so impressed.



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