Recently I posted about the process of making a bench seat and you can check that out here. A lot of you guys have asked for a more detailed tutorial for how I made the cushions for this bench seat, so I thought I would share it here.
This spot on our deck needed something for a while, because as soon as we have a few friends or family over, we quickly run out of room on the deck to sit. That’s what I love about a bench seat – you can squash as many people on there as you like., which is exactly why I wanted to make one. Bonus: it was pretty simple to make. Andddd I used Sunbrella‘s amazing performance fabric to make them, which is mould, stain and weather resistant!
- Outdoor Upholstery Fabric (Mine is from Sunbrella)
- Foam (This is from Clark Rubber)
- Bolster cushions (Inserts or some old ones that need a new life)
- Sewing Machine
- Thread, scissors, thread
MAKING THE BENCH SEAT CUSHION COVER
I wanted one long bench seat cushion with clean lines to really show off the beautiful fabric and keep things nice and simple. Begin by having a piece of foam cut to the size of your bench seat. I got mine from Clark Rubber and my dimensions were 39cm x 222cm which fit the top of my bench seat perfectly. I chose a nice firm foam that would be comfy to sit on a wear well. It was 8cm thick. I also made sure It was one that could be used outdoors.
Once you have your foam you can work out your measurements for fabric. I always find drawing out the dimensions on a piece of paper is really helpful and you can see my little plan here. I started with the size of the foam and then added the width for each side and the foam size again. I also added a seam allowance of 1cm to the long ends as this is where I will sew the cushion shut. More on that later!
It's then time to cut. I found it easiest to cut one large piece using the total measurements of the fabric. After that I then cut the corners out to create the shape on my drawing.
From there, I sewed the little corners up in the middle of the fabric piece (this will form the front corner of the cushion cover). I placed the foam back over the fabric to make it a little easier to show you where things sit but you won't need to do that when making yours.
Then sew the longer edge at each end, always remembering to sew right sides together. You can start to see it come together now in the right shape.
To close up the last corner I first sewed the seam allowance closed on one long side - this will mean I have a nice edge to finish the back of the cushion. Pin all 3 pieces together to close the corner. This will mean two pieces are overlapping and create a nicer finish at the back. Remember to keep the sewn seam allowance on the outside once its flipped back to the right side. I find it good to pin this together, then flip it the right way out to check its correct before sewing shut!
Now all that's left is to handsew it closed! If you prefer, you can use velcro or a zipper to finish the back.
MAKING THE BOLSTER CUSHION COVERS
Once I saw the bench seat cushion all done I knew I wanted to add bolster cushions along the whole bench. I love how they look and find them so comfortable. They’re also easy to keep tidy without having to ‘arrange’ them in a certain way. Here’s how I made mine.
Begin by measuring the diameter of your cushion insert and work out your measurements from there. You will end up with two circle pieces and one rectangle that should make the length and width of your cushion.
Sew together the ends of the rectangle just a few cm's from either end, then iron the seam allowance flat so you have a nice edge to hand sew shut. If you would prefer to add a zip here you will need to adjust this step to suit that.
Then pin your circle into the ends of the rectangle and sew together, keeping right sides together.
Once that's done you can squash your cushion inside the cover and hand-sew it closed. Give it a good bash and wiggle to make sure the cushion really fills out the whole cover nicely.
Oh and a little tip when sewing – things always look more professional if you iron as you go! Every time you sew a seam, press it open for a nice crisp finish. And when you’re finished, give the whole piece a good press. It makes a world of difference.