As I’ve mentioned before, this summer I’ve been focusing on fixing up our outdoor living area (for example how I spray painted our patio table). We spend so much time outdoors (God bless that beautiful Southern California sunshine) that I want our outdoor space to feel like an extension of the house. And what better way to bring color and comfort to the outdoors than with a set of outdoor cushions?
Chris almost always rolls his eyes when I mention making new cushions (what is it with husbands and their universal disdain of accent pillows?). But even he was happy with how well these outdoor pillows turned out. Especially since I reused the old outdoor cushions for the stuffing — Chris is always happy with a recycle/reuse project.
Joann’s had a sale on outdoor fabrics (everything 50% off) so I picked up some beautiful fabrics in shades of blue, aqua, and green. The trellis and chevron patterns are by Waverly Sun ‘n’ Shade and the floral is PKL Outdoor “Rosette”. Our old outdoor cushions were about 18″ square, so I made the new covers to fit. I made these outdoor pillow covers the easiest way possible — using envelope closures.
You’ll need outdoor fabric, a sewing machine, an iron, scissors, a yardstick (or cutting mat) for measuring, and Outdoor Thread. This last one is very important! Outdoor thread is made of heavy-duty polyester and is designed to withstand rain and UV rays. Don’t use regular cotton thread unless you don’t mind your hard work falling apart after a season of use. (Read more about how to sew using outdoor thread at the Coats and Clark blog. I followed their instructions to a T except that I used a size 16 needle instead of 18 and it worked fine.)
One yard of fabric is just enough to make two 18-inch cushion covers because they usually cut it a little bigger than 36″, but make sure you measure out exactly how much you need…you don’t want to be short an inch or two. For one pillow, cut a 19″ x 46″ rectangle (this length gives you extra fabric for the overlap and hemming of the envelope closures as well as the top and bottom seam allowance).
Fold over each short end twice (right side out) and iron down flat. Outdoor fabric doesn’t iron down too easily, and you want to avoid using too much heat as it can melt the polyester. So after you’ve made a crease, pin the folds to hold them down. Hem them on your sewing machine, backstitching at each end. Sew slowly, as the thick outdoor thread isn’t as flexible as normal thread.
(The hardest part of this whole project might be threading your sewing machine with the outdoor thread…I always have to look at the manual to make sure I’m getting each step right! Be sure to increase the stitch length a little bit to allow for the thicker thread.)
With the wrong side out, fold the rectangle so that the hemmed ends overlap. Use a yardstick to measure 18″, and adjust the overlap so that you’ve got an 18″ x 19″ rectangle. Pin in place.
Sew the raw top and bottoms closed using a 1/3″ to 1/2″ seam allowance, making sure to catch the hemmed ends of the envelope. If you like, you can backstitch over the envelope opening to give it some extra strength.
Turn it right-side out and stuff your pillow form inside! I used an old outdoor pillow (that I washed and bleached to make sure any dirt/mold was gone), but you can also order a pillow form online, like this 18″ Polyester Pillow Form on Amazon.
You can use this super easy method to make any envelope pillow cover, not just for sewing outdoor cushions! Just use regular fabric and thread.
My total cost for this project was about $22. The chevron fabric was a half-yard remnant that I got for $2.22 and the other fabrics were 50% off. MUCH cheaper than buying new outdoor pillows (average $12 each for the cheapest ones).
I am really diggin’ my new outdoor cushions! They dress up the IKEA outdoor sectional soooo nicely and they give that free-by-the-side-of-the-road patio set a new lease on life! I’ll have to take better pics later when the sun isn’t as bright, but this gives you an idea. I love sitting out there with a cold drink!
Sharing at SavvySouthernStyle, TheShabbyCreekCottage, Remodelaholic, ShabbyNest, NotJustAHousewife, ThriftyDecorChick and IvyandElephants!
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