Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-cover a Patio Cushion

So, I'm not going to lie. I've been dreading this post just as much as I was dreading actually making the darn things. First off, I had no idea what I was doing so I'm not really an expert on the matter anyway. But then I what? I did it, it turned out great...I may or may not be able to explain how I did it very well, but thats who I am and thats what this blog is all about :) We live, we learn, we tell....and then we just hope people understand it, right?

So, lets begin!
We got this patio set the summer after we moved into our house. So, we've had it about two years now. It may look good to you, but those cushions use to be green. Yep, deep forest green. And the wood on the table and chairs already need to be restained. Two years, folks. Two years.
For some reason when I bought these, I thought they would last a little bit longer than that. What was I thinking, silly ol' me. I even brought them inside for winter! And the worst part is, that the cushions looked like this last year. Thats only one year where they were actually green.

Well...I could have left them. But I didn't like the color. It was washed out, faded...and purple. Not my style at all. And I hated sitting on them cuz I had no CLUE what was in them....spiders, bugs, dirt, bugs, stickers, bugs. Who knows what the wind blows in or what climbs up those chairs. Anyway. I wouldn't sit on them. And I didn't know how to clean them unless I sprayed them down. Then they would be wet. And by the time they were dried, I would have forgotten that I was going to sit on them anyway and then by the next time I wanted to sit down, they were dirty again....its an on going circle....

I thought of just replacing all the cushions. The cheapest I found per chair was about $40. Plus I have a love seat bench type thing that is still in the basement that I would have to purchase new cushions for and that was ranging in the $100 range...And that still didn't solve my cleaning dilemma.

So, I decided to go the cheaper route and make covers on my own, ones that I could wash often and that would dry quickly. I thought about using outdoor fabric...then priced that out, and it would have been about $100 for all the cushions. Too much for me. I looked at my pillows that have been out there just as long as the current cushions, and they aren't outdoor fabric and seem to look great compared to the darn cushions! So I opted for the same kind of fabric the pillow covers are made out of, semi-outdoor is what I call it. Although its probably not at all. But it is for me! And then to go even cheaper...I didn't want to cover the back with the 'expensive' fabric when no one is going to see it. So I bought some cheap black dollar fabric for it. :) With price per chair went down to $8.

So, to start. I took a yard and a half of my nice fabric and turned it upside down on the cushion. The bottom piece of the cushion was thinker than the top so it sloped down a little, but I didn't worry about that part of it, it would just fold into the cushion crease anyway.
I then pinched the fabric, and pinned the pinch all the way around the whole cushion. 
Next, I took the fabric off the cushion carefully and stitched the pinch closed with my sewing machine.
I then laid the fabric back on the cushion and maneuvered it into place.
Flipped it upside down (you probably don't really have to for this part) and pinned down the four corners from top to bottom where I wanted to sew, then left over piece will resemble a triangle (if that makes sense). This creates the dimension for the seat. Take off the fabric. Sew where you pinned and put the fabric back on the cushion. 
Carefully flip over the cushion. Now first off, you will need to measure the size of the top back cushion, and the bottom back cushion.
Cut the black piece a couple inches longer on each side. Fold over and stitch the fabric where the 'open' part is going to be on the cushion.
Now place the black fabric upside down on the cushion and line up.
Pin the black fabric to the other fabric on all three sides (do the top or bottom first, but not both at the same time). Slide the cushion out carefully and sew along your pins.
Now do the other section the same way.

Once everything is sewn together, you may want to send another stitch around everything to make sure its secure.

For me, putting the cushions back on was the hardest part. It was a game of shimmying....pull down one side, pull down the other. And since the two sections are attached (top and bottom) it was easier to fold the cushion in half and put both pieces into the cover at the same time, and do the shimmy dance all at the same time with both top and bottom.

Once that hurdle was over, I was glad to see it turned out perfect! 
This took about an hour to an hour and a half for each chair.
I have yet to tackle the big bench.
That may be saved for next year :)

Next in line for a makeover??? That darn wood!
I see a lot of sanding in my future :)
I'm not sure if I should keep the wood blackish brown....or paint it all black or even white!
What do you think?? I'm leaning towards white, but I'm not so sure I want to attack those crazy angles on the chairs just yet. Maybe keep only the table white??