In this simple sewing tutorial, I'm going to show you how to make new covers for faded, worn out outdoor patio cushion covers and make them brand new again in the most efficient, simple, and cheapest way possible!
Making a replacement cover for your outdoor cushions for your patio set doesn't have to be hard or expensive. I'm going to share with you my quick tutorial on how to create a boxed cushion cover with a zipper that allows you to also remove and replace the covers easily.
This tutorial uses a single cut of fabric, which reduces the number of times you need to cut the fabric and the number of seams you'll need to create.
If you have outdoor patio seating, these cushions can be enjoyed whenever the season is right with the perfect patterns that you've chosen. You can also check out my latest covered outdoor living space.
Before Photo of Patio Furniture with Outdoor Seating
We got our teak furniture second hand for only $150 on Craiglist a few years back. Since then, it's been sitting under our covered patio pretty much still as ugly as we got it. We started refinishing the teak patio set last year, but never got around to finishing it.
Finally, with the kids now aged, we've been able to make time for a little home remodeling and making over. The first place we wanted to start this year was with our patio deck by refreshening the cushions.
After shopping at multiple places from Walmart, Target, At Home Stores (which generally carries a large variety), Home Depot, and Ballard Designs, I couldn't find replacement covers or even entire cushions for either the pattern I wanted or the price I wanted. At the low end, replacement covers with the cushions cost $25 at Walmart. At the high end, they were asking $100 per cushion. Taking them to a local upholstery shop was an estimate of $350 for 6 cushions without the fabric.
I knew I could come up with a better way to get the look I wanted four our outdoor patio cushions without paying such a steep price.
Buying versus Making Your Own Replacement Outdoor Cushion Covers
Often, you can get cushion covers for less than $10 (like these awesome stretchy ones) and they might just save you all the hassle of sewing.
Personally, I don't think they give the refined look of having zippers, but that's just my opinion. Also, I couldn't find any other stretch covers that did not have weave, it appeared as though all the cushions had a weave or made out of velvet.
About This Simple and Easy DIY Outdoor Cushion Cover with Zipper
My tutorial is for any novice sewer. If you know how to ONLY sew a straight stitch, this tutorial is for you. If you don't want to have to stitch together a bunch of fabric pieces to make something, this simple outdoor cushion sewing project is for you.
Below, I share instructions on how to create a cushion cover from a single panel of fabric. The hardest part is getting the measurements right, which I'll explain below.
Choosing Fabric for Making Outdoor Cushions
For reupholstering outdoor cushions, you will need to decide whether or not you want weatherproof fabric or if you want to use a fabric protector (this is the one I use) to protect it from the elements.
Choosing Waterproof Fabric for Cushions
You can use Sunbrella fabric (which is super expensive) or find laminated fabric linen like these. These are generally pretreated and will be sure to be waterproof so you don't have to worry.
Choosing Regular Fabric
While I did use regular fabric, I would highly advise against it. However, with that said, my fabric was so inexpensive and because it was a great first big sewing project for me, I wouldn't mind doing this project again in the future, so I'm totally okay taking that risk. I am using a fabric protector to
I used this exact fabric for our cushions.
Fabrics for Making Your Own Cushion Covers
You guys know how much I love neutral colors, so if you are into that kind of thing, here are some of my favorite fabrics to choose from:
Zippers for Outdoor Cushions
I recommend choosing zippers that are longer than the width of your cushion. The reason is because this will allow your cushions to go on a lot easier instead of having to fight the padding, cushion, and the cover.
I would also choose a zipper that is NOT a sport zipper (like ones that you would find on your coat where they come apart. Choose a non-separating zipper that is also waterproof.
Tip on using zippers for your outdoor cushions: Take the zippers off of your old cushions and reuse them for your new ones that you'll be making. Take a seam ripper, go to town in getting the zipper out, and reuse and upcycle them!
Measuring Your Cushion and Fabric
I'm going to make this as painless as possible for you to get the dimensions of your fabric for your cushions.
- Measure the width of your cushion. This will be referred to as A.
- Measure the length of your cushion. This will be referred to as B.
- Measure the depth of your cushion. This will be referred to as C.
This tutorial allows you to create a cushion from a single panel of fabric. So what you'll want to do to get the length and width of the cushion by doing these calculations. All of this will allow you to create a 1/2" inseam all the way around:
- For the width of the panel: A + C + 1"
- For the length of the panel: B + B + C + C + 1"
Here are some example dimensions to help you:[table “1” not found /]
Easy DIY Outdoor Cushion Covers with Zipper Tutorial
Materials for Outdoor Box Cushion Covers
- Outdoor Cushion Fabric
- Zipper (longer than width of cushion)
Tools for Making DIY Outdoor Cushions for Furniture
- Sewing Machine
- Regular Sewing Machine Foot
- Zipper Foot
- Fabric Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Drywall Square (optional)
Instructions and Directions for Making Your Own Cushion Covers for Your Patio
Measure the length, width, and depth of your cushion. Use the calculations to determine your panel size.
Cutting the fabric will be easier if you use a drywall square. For longer pieces, this thing comes in so freaking handy!
Squaring fabric can be tricky, but you want to make sure your pieces are square.
In each corner of the panel, cut a square out half the size of the depth of the cushion. For example, if your cushion has a 4" depth, cut out a 2" x 2" square on each corner.
Sew the squared sides together.
It should end up looking like this. They should be puckering towards each other:
Sew on the zipper to one side. To do this, take the face the right side of the zipper to the right side of the fabric. Using a zipper foot, sew on the zipper as close to the teeth as you can get. This tutorial will not require you to stitch the top because we're assuming you are not removing your cushions very often.
Open the zipper halfway, and sew on the other side. Make sure you take care to not sew the other side of the fabric. Stitch the bottom and top part of the zipper to secure it.
Straight stitch other sides. Ensure that you open the zipper before doing this. Make sure you straight stitch the other side of the fabric.
Create the other box corner pairs.
To do this, take the folded side and place it on the right of you. Take half of the depth of your cushion covers and remove a 1/2". This is how long of a rectangle you'll want to cut. Now, talk half of the depth of your cushion covers. That will be the width of the rectangle you want to cut.
This is what it will look like when you are done:
Sew the box corners together. You'll want to open the area you just cut, and flatten it out. Sew to secure both pieces of fabric. Do it again on the other corner.
Add in your cushion padding.
Spray it with fabric protectant spray:
Add a few pillows:
I just loved how this turned out. I may not be the greatest at the details of sewing, but this project was super simple:
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you waterproof outdoor cushions?
To waterproof outdoor cushions, you can use a fabric protectant like Scotchguard. To use it, clean the fabric as much as you can initially. Then, you'll want to go into a well ventilated (preferably outdoors) where you can spray the fabric protectant. Spray with slow even strokes 6" away from the fabric. Add about 3 coats to ensure you throughly cover the fabric.
How do you make box cushion covers with piping and a zipper?
Box cushions with piping provide a more sophisticated look. You'll need to purchase cotton piping cord that comes in 1/4" or 3/8" widths. In addition, you'll need to cut more panels for your cushion in order to add the piping in to achieve that look.
Creating box cushions with piping and zipper often takes 4 times the duration as doing it with the tutorial I just showed you.
Summary of DIY Outdoor Cushion Covers with Zipper
If you need some new outdoor cushion covers for your patio furniture, but can't find it for a price you'll go for, I hope that this simple outdoor cushion covers with zipper tutorial helps you make one inexpensively and quickly.
I hope that I've shown you an easy way to replace your outdoor patio cushion covers inexpensively and rather painlessly by pulling out your sewing machine.
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