How to Make Outdoor Pillows

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What makes a pillow an outdoor pillow? When you search for outdoor pillows, there are a variety of things you must look out for other than whether they match your outdoor furniture. First, that the fabric is a Sunbrella-type outdoor material, so that it's fade and mildew-resistant. Second, you want the inner pillow material to dry quickly and not hold water. If you are making your very own outdoor cushions and pillows, make sure you buy the right materials because the fabric might not be suitable for rain or shine. Follow these easy do-it-yourself steps to make a simple, inexpensive outdoor pillow.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric (vinyl, oilcloth, shower curtains or Sunbrella)
  • Thread and needle
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Batting or pillow insert
  • Find inexpensive fabrics. You could definitely spend hundreds of dollars on outdoor fabrics at a fabric store; however, if you want to find economical fabrics, my suggestion is to use vinyl tablecloths (picnic tablecloths), oil cloths or shower curtains. As wacky as these materials sound, they are great fabrics for outdoor pillows because they are waterproof and easy to clean. If you would like to use a Sunbrella-type material, search outdoorfabrics.com (see Resources below) for a great selection.

  • Cut and seam. After you choose your favorite pattern, cut two squares to your desired dimensions. Remember, you will have to spare ½ inch from all sides when stitching the pieces together. If you want a 20-inch pillow finished, then cut your square about 2 inches larger, as once stuffed, pillows shrink up about 2 inches. Place the two fabrics together with the inside facing out. Once you seam three sides, turn the cover right-side-out and stuff using batting or a pillow insert. Stitch the remaining side closed. If you are more advanced in sewing, you can use zippers or Velcro for a more finished look.

  • Put in new and creative ideas! Don't be afraid to mix and match fabric patterns. You can have a solid color on one side and a floral pattern on the other. I love to use a ½-inch flange in a contrasting color. Simply fold a 2-inch piece of fabric in half lengthwise, iron it flat and sew into the seam line of the pillow. This gives you a ½-inch flange when you are done.

  • Another cool idea is to combine two pillow covers together. Start by making a pillow by following the steps above. The second pillow cover will be slightly larger. Use a transparent material (shower curtains have a lot of variety). Stuff the first pillow into your translucent pillow cover...and Voila! You have yourself a one-of-a-kind outdoor pillow.

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