Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

I’ve made some progress this weekend on the desk for our kitchen. This was the keystone in the decision making process for the color of our cabinets. I wanted to see what the color would look like in the kitchen, on a real piece of furniture before spending big bucks on cabinets. I’m happy to say that after trying a few different colors, I’m in love with Copen Blue by Sherwin Williams. I think the skies might have just cleared and I heard the distant chorus of angels singing “Hallelujah!” Yes, it was that big of a moment!

You can see this beautiful blue in The DIY Show Off’s Beach Eclectic Cottage Room that she designed for Shaw with Cassity from Remodelaholic.

This week will be a busy one, I have several projects to start; several to finish; need to pull a permit and I REALLY need to order a refrigerator. If you have one you absolutely love, I’m open to your suggestions. Currently we have a 18 year old side by side. I’m thinking a 25 cu ft or larger french door fridge might be better suited to a growing family of boys.

But, I’m sure you aren’t here to listen to me ramble. So, instead I have a tutorial for making a bench cushion with piping.

Before we get started I wanted to let you in on a little secret: The bench cushion and side table fabrics you see below are actually shower curtains!

You read that right. Shower curtains are not only inexpensive, but they are durable and can stand up to moisture. This makes them perfect for outdoor use. I bought both of these at Target for under $20 each!

 Materials:

  • 3″ foam cushion
  • Batting to cover foam
  • Thread to match cushion
  • Fabric to cover all six sides of your cushion (or inexpensive shower curtain)
  • Sew-in velcro strips
  • Sharpie marker
  • Pins
  • Piping trim (tutorial for making your own less expensive piping)
  • Sewing machine with zipper foot
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Electric carving knife (if you are cutting your own foam)

Okay, let’s get started!

Preparing the Foam Cushion -

Lay your foam on top of the bench. Mark a line where you need to trim.

Use an electric carving knife to cut through the foam.

Wrap batting around your foam. Then trim the edges down to size. I had enough to put two layers on top of the foam and one layer on the bottom. This will make for a cushier and less “squared” cushion.

Cutting out the pieces -

1. Lay out your fabric (err, I mean, shower curtain) folded in half. Place your cushion on top. Trace around the cushion about 3/4″ wider on all sides.

Cut through the two layers. This will give you the top and bottom panels for your cover.

2. Next cut out four strips of fabric for the sides. Cut your lengths 2″ longer than your cushion.

If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

  • Front: 4.25″ wide  by length + 2″
  • Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

*The back is wider and has two strips because we need to sew an overlapping flap and velcro to make the cover removable.

Assembling the sides -

1. Wrap the 4 strips around your cushion right sides facing in. (Reserve the back fold over piece for later.) Pin the edges where they meet at your cushion corners. The back strip should line up with the sides on the one edge. But, the other edge will extend 1.25″ taller than the rest.

2. Remove the sides and stitch where the pins are. When you get to the back strip, fold over the excess so it matches the same height as the rest of the strips.

Then stitch along the back strip’s folded over fabric to secure it.

Set your sides aside for now. It is time to pin the piping to your cushion top.

Adding the Piping – (Tutorial for Making Your Own Piping Here)

1. Lay the top panel right side up on top of the cushion. Pin the piping on top of the fabric. Line up the piping with the edges of the cushion. Be sure the raw edge of your piping is facing the raw edge of the fabric.

When you reach a corner, snip into the raw edge of the piping all the way (but not through) the rope piping. Then turn your piping at a clean 90 degree angle and continue pinning.

When you reach the beginning of your pinned piping, simply overlap the two about 2″ and cut off the excess.

Your top should look like this:

2. Set the top panel on your sewing machine and sew the piping into place. Your needle will be very close to the piping, but it shouldn’t stitch into the rope. This is where your zipper foot really helps!

Carefully sew and backstitch over the place where your piping overlaps.

Connecting the top and sides -

1. Lay your top panel onto the cushion. Pick up your sides and begin pinning them to the top of the cushion. The hem on the back side should be facing up and away from the piping. Position your pins close to the piping but not on top of it. Try to line up the corners of your sides with the 90 degree corners of your piping.

2. Stitch the sides onto the top piece. Again, your needle will be very close to the piping but not over it. This is a little trickier because you can’t see the piping, but you can feel it. Just use your fingers to guide you. (Piping shown by the red arrowed line below.)

Turn your top cover right sides out and test the fit on your cushion.

Repeat the steps above for “adding the piping” for your bottom cover.

Adding the back flap -

1. NOW, pick up that back fold over strip that has been sitting all by its lonesome. Fold the edges over twice on three sides (2 short and 1 long) to hem your flap. Press the hem with an iron.

Go ahead and stitch along the folded hem to secure it.

2. Center and pin the flap along the back edge of the bottom panel (right sides together) as shown. The raw edges should be facing out.

3. Stitch the back flap onto the bottom panel next to the piping. About an inch or so of the panel will extend on both ends. Leave it loose so it can tuck inside the cushion.

3. Turn your top panel and sides wrong sides out and put your cushion inside it. Then lay your bottom panel on top as shown.

Pin the bottom panel to the sides just like you did for the top panel. This time leave the back side unpinned (where your two flaps overlap.)

4. Now is a good time to trim any excess from your previously stitched seams. (There will be a lot of fabric on the sewing machine, and this is just one less piece that could get caught while stitching.)

Trim off the corners at an angle.

Ever so carefully, peel the pinned cover off the cushion.

5. Stitch along the two sides and front of your cover. Leave the back length of the cover open. Remember, use your fingers to feel for the piping.

6. Turn the cover right side out and slide the cushion into the cover.

Check the fit and make sure you don’t have any stray fabric that might have gotten caught while sewing.

You should have an opening in the back like this.

Adding the velcro closure -

1. Take out your coordinating velcro tape.

Pin the hook and loop velcro tape onto the back side and the back fold over flap. I used 4 strips of 3″ velcro evenly spaced along the length of the opening.

2. Stitch the velcro onto the cushion.You can use a zig zag stitch for extra strength (if you have destructive little boys like I do!)

Check the fit of the velcro.

3. If everything looks good, you can turn the cover inside out and trim off any excess raw edges. Then turn the cover right side out and insert your cushion.


And that’s it! You are done and you have a professional looking, washable, piped slipcovered cushion! Phew, say that 10 times fast.

Won’t you come have a seat with me on our trash to treasure screen porch! And, may I get offer you a tall glass of sweet tea?

Did I tell you that it has been in the high 60′s here? Yup, spring-like weather in winter here in Raleigh, NC. Our daffodils and flowering trees are sooooo confused.

 

Comments

  1. Excellent tutorial and you made it look so easy…and it’s beautiful! Have a great week!

    • Thanks Audrey. Hope you are having a great week as well!

      • Love your tutorial! Just a few questions to ask. First what type of stitch did you use to put this together? What kind of fabric was used? And lastly you said to cut 4 strips but I count 5…am I incorrect? I’m awful with math (thank goodness for my husband), I count two for the removable opening and one for the from and two for the sides? I’m confused? Love your fabric choices and colors! Thanks for your help!

  2. I love my samsung rfg 298 29cuft http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/refrigerators/RFG298AARS/XAA
    we got the stainless platinum. doesn’t show fingerprints but it dents easily.
    love the french door style….when you look at them, make sure you can pull out all the drawers on one side when one of the doors is closed. When we bought the samsung…this was the only brand that had that capability. This was a huge selling point for me and was based on a tip from a friend that learned the hard way. : -)

  3. I LOVE my french door fridge!! Mine is a white Maytag that we got 6 years ago. I love how handy it is to use and the sliding, adjustable shelves make it so easy to find what you’re looking for.

    Will be using your tutorial this spring when I make new cushion covers for all the chairs on our wrap around porch. I’ve made covers before, but yours is much easier! Thanks!

  4. Loved this Brittany, I may come back and refer to this another time. Thank you!

  5. Kimberly Bruhn says:

    Just a quick note about the refridgerators. We have the Samsung one, too. French doors, stainless, etc. Big drawback, in my opinion, is the waste of space in the doors. The area is sooo tiny for even a bottle of mustard on the side with the ice maker/water dispenser. I’d look at that area if I were you….maybe someone’s got a better design. Also, our water comes out super slowly. Just the way it is. We checked. We are big DIYers, too, and my husband re-plumbed with copper and still didn’t make a difference. Thought you might want to know.
    Kimberly

    • Kimberly, thanks for your comment on the refrigerator. Luckily we have a water cooler we use instead of the fridge (yucky well water.) I saw what you mean about the door storage, looks like they added an “L” shaped shelf around the ice maker.

  6. I’m pretty sure at one time you said you were better with power tools than a sewing machine. Of course I could be mistaking you for another DIY blogger, but this looks very professional to me. I, too, love the blue and white–they’re the colors of my den. The place where I don’t do all the creative work I need to. Anyway your cushions are beautiful. Definitely have to keep the shower curtains in mind. Thanks
    Janet

  7. Great tutorial, Brittany! And using pretty shower curtains is genius!
    Thanks for the shout out too {made my day}! Looking forward to seeing that color in your kitchen!

  8. I love this tutorial Brittany! It’s one of the easiest tutorials I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing, because I am going to use this one for sure. You rock!

    Hugs,

    Vanessa

  9. I need to learn how to sew. This makes it sound easy – great tutorial! Oh, and Target shower curtains are da bomb – love them!

  10. Yes! I did it!! Thank you so much for the detail step by step instruction. By reading your post, I made two bench cushion covers for our breakfast nook! I couldn’t have done it without you!! Thank you so much!!

  11. Brittany, I want to thank you so much for posting this! I recently found an artsy side to my personality & am having so much fun doing these things that I never thought I could. Today I did piping and sewed the top of the bench cover. Funny, I told my husband that one of my sides bunched a little & he kissed me and said, “Honey, if this were your 100th attempt at making this, I might tell you to redo, but it’s your FIRST!” So, the perfectionists in me needs to chill and just live & do what makes me happy. Thank you for blogging & making it so easy for a non-sewer w/ big dreams make it happen. Hopefully tomorrow I will be finished and will send you photos.

  12. I’m just a beginner sewer and I’m a little intimidated by this project but I’m going to give it a try. If I use a shower curtain, do you think I need a special kind of thread? Or, will regular thread work? It seems like a thick/unforgiving ‘fabric’ (and I know nothing, really about sewing), so I thought I should check.

    Thanks

    • Kelly, the shower curtain (fabric not vinyl kind) fabric is the same consistency as upholstery and home decor fabric. The main thing is to make sure you have a sharp sewing needle. The thread can be regular thread. Take it slow and allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s a given when you are first learning. Just have that seam ripper available and don’t give up.

  13. Beautiful job. I envy your ability to do this, especially considering the cost of cushions and pillows.

  14. That’s my weekend project sorted. LOVE it! Thank you Brittany. I was so uninspired by the choice of bench cushions in my local stores (I live in regional NSW, Australia). I’d resigned myself to paying a fortune for an imported cushion when I came across your tutorial. I normally make patchworks on my sewing machine, but this is a project I can manage with your help! :-)

  15. Excellent step by step instructions. Using a shower curtain was a great idea. It worked perfectly. The 3″ foam was pretty expensive, so if you’re going to make this cushion look for coupons before you go to the store. I made my cushion yesterday. It looks great!! Thank you.

  16. Loved the step-by-step instructions for the bench cushion. Mine turned out amazing!

  17. I’ve completely reorganized the original plan for a bench cover I had in mind to make yours, it looks so much better! I was just wondering if you attach the batting to the foam at any point. My cushion is actually on a large bookshelf laying down (around 73″ long) and I worry it will move around especially during removal of the cover for washing or with rambunctious little boys! Thank you!

    • Coleyole, I didn’t attach it, but I don’t need to wash the cover much. I did see at an upholstery place where they used Super 77 spray adhesive to attach the batting to the foam.

  18. Thank you for your excellent advise on creating a bench cover. I made one over the weekend and it turned out fantastic.

  19. Thanks for this beautiful step-by-step guide. I’ve made many pretty cushions for our home following it!

  20. Thank you Brittany for sharing the directions for the piped bench cushion. I’ve just finished a pair of striped bench cushions made of 4″thick foam and they’ve turned out fantastic thanks to these instructions. The pictures were clear and the order of construction was great. Fitting the side pieces around the foam really saved the day. If I make another set for outside, the shower curtains were a great idea. I will be returning to the website soon!

  21. MaryFrances says:

    My daughter-in-law asked me to make a bench cushion. The cushion should measure 40″ x 15.5″. I plan to use 2″ foam plus the batting. (Is the batting you use low loft or regular medium loft?). I’d appreciate any help on making sure I get sufficient fabric to make the cushion. Your directions are very clear.

  22. Best tutorial I’ve found for window bench cushions! Just wondering – where did you find your 3″ foam? I’m having trouble finding some.

Trackbacks

  1. Bench Press says:

    [...] image + instructions via pretty handy girl [...]

  2. [...] Now, head on over to my tutorial for sewing the bench cushion cover! [...]

  3. [...] under my belt, I was looking for the easiest tutorials to cover a bench cushion like the ones on Prettyhandygirl and [...]

  4. [...] followed this tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl for sewing the cover.  Her step-by-step instructions made everything a lot [...]

  5. […] av vaxduk. Om du är sugen att pröva, hör av dig hur det gick. Instruktion och bilder hittar du här. Fina vaxdukar med linnekänsla har […]

  6. […] could have just made these cushions on my own, so I gathered a couple resources to help me.  This tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl was amazingly helpful.  It gives step by step instructions for making these bad boys.  Like I […]

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