Deck and patio furniture as well as outdoor benches can be easily decorated by making your own custom cushions. Sewing patio cushions instead of purchasing pre-made cushions ensures a perfect match to your decor. Custom-made patio cushions fit furniture perfectly, even furniture in difficult sizes. Using the proper materials protects your cushions from environmental damage and wear.
Patio Cushion Materials
When sewing patio cushions, use materials suitable for outdoor use to avoid fading and wear. Fabric stores now sell fabrics made specifically for outdoor use. Outdoor fabrics use special fibers, dyes and coatings to prevent UV damage. You may notice outdoor fabrics weigh a bit more and feel a bit stiffer than traditional home decor fabrics.
To stand up to the heavier weight and stiffer texture of outdoor fabric, the thread you use to sew the patio cushions must also have a little heavier texture than all-purpose or apparel thread. Use a thread specifically made for outdoor use, if you can find it. Brands of thread manufactured specifically for outdoor use not only stand up to the heavier weight of outdoor fabrics, but also protect against UV damage. Thread with UV protection resists fading like the fabric, so the thread color won't wash out before the fabric does.
If you can't locate outdoor sewing thread, use upholstery thread to sew the patio cushions. Upholstery thread holds its shape and provides strength when sewing heavier fabrics.
Protect against fading when using interior upholstery or outdoor-use thread on patio cushions by hiding the seams internally whenever possible. Sew the cushions inside out and then turn them right-side out and stuff using the pillowcase method. Avoid top-stitching or decorative stitching when using interior upholstery thread on outdoor cushions.
Because outdoor thread and upholstery thread are a bit thicker and heavier than all-purpose or apparel thread, use a 90- or 100-gauge needle in the sewing machine. Replace your needle before sewing patio cushions so that the needle is very sharp. Buy a multipack of needles in the desired gauge so that you can replace the needle often for optimal sharpness when sewing a large number of cushions.
- "Sewing for Dummies", Janice Saunders Maresh, 1999