Home Dec- Outdoor Cushions
April 15, 2011
Our closets are not the only areas we get a craving to update; our outdoor spaces may be blooming but could also use a little fabric help. Whether it is vintage chairs that need some paint and new cushion or a chaise that needs a floral box pillow or (like me) you need to bring some color to an outdoor patio; outdoor fabric is a spring necessity. The colors are bright and bold; the prints are big and make a statement. This is all exactly what you need to contend with the show put on by your lawn, garden and competitive neighbors. I think decorating the outdoors is my favorite home dec project because I can use the bright colors and big patterns my brain tries to talk me into everyday of the year and in an afternoon you can make the outdoors inviting to friends and family. Fabric.com's selection of outdoor fabric gets better every year!
My patio area is a covered walkway from my back door to my garage and is a jungle of browns and bland greens. Brown walkway (colored from the red clay), brown fence, brown patio set and green house. It needs something and fast. We have plans for planters but since it is all shade under there I am having trouble deciding on shape plants that can handle the abuse a 2 yr old might decide upon and the sweltering heat of the Georgia summers. Until the happy day where I find my dream plant, I am planting with an outdoor fabric instead. It will bring in all the color I want without needing any water or constant vigilance over little hands and plotting minds.
It takes about 1 yd for every 2 chair cushions so I am working with 3 yds to make 6 cushions. To start you want to measure the area for your cushion. Mine measured 16 x 17 in. I cut my foam to match this size using an electric knife. If you don't have foam left over from another project like I did, you can always score some from at a thrift store by finding outdoor cushion that may be hideous but still in good shape and recover them (or use a pillow form for an extra cozy cushion). I next cut 2 pieces from my fabric 1 in. bigger on each side (this will account for the 1 in. depth of my foam plus a ½ in. seam allowance. So my cutting measurements were 18 x 19 in. With right sides together, I stitched around the sides and front of my cushion, leaving a 6-7 in gap the back open to fit the cushion. After clipping the corners and pressing open the seam allowance on the gap (this makes it easier to hand sew later) I turned my cover right side out. Next, fold you foam in half and slide it into your cover and carefully unfold it until it is snug inside the cover (since my measurements were so close I drew an arrow to make sure I inserted my foam correctly). Hand sew your gap closed.
Now you can add your embellishments. I opted for a nice little bow at a back corner (though I have it in front in the pictures, that was just me a little over excited about how great the cushion turned out). It adds a little whimsy but I don't have to really worry about backsides rubbing it off because it is tucked safely in a back corner. To make the bow cut a length of ribbon 2 the size of your desired finished bow. Fold it in half and stitch the 2 ends together. Place the seam in the back middle of the loop and press it in half. Next, wrap another small length of ribbon around your flattened loop and stitch the 2 ends together in the back and sew to the flattened loop. Once your bow is finished you can hand sew it to your cushion for a pretty flare. You can also add buttons to tuft your cushions (this is a good idea if you go with the pillow forms) or tassels at the corners. To keep your cushions in place you can add ties to the back (about 6 to 8 in. for each) or add some non-slip backing to the bottom of your cushion.
Most of our outdoor fabric blends with many collections so it will be easy to add tablecloths, coordinating pillows and grill covers.Check out our whole Outdoor Fabric Section which includes fabric by motif, patterns and notions. Have fun!
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