Part 2: DIY Patio Chair Makeover- Sewing the Cushion Covers

Are your patio lounge chairs looking a little worse for wear? Maybe the fabric is worn, torn, or faded, or the paint is chipping and peeling. Maybe the metal is rusted through and they look ready for the trash bin! Don’t throw them out just yet! With a little bit of creativity and some DIY know-how, you can breathe new life into your old patio chairs. In Part 1 of this blog post, I outline the steps involved in rehabbing the metal lounge chair frames, and re-painting them. In this second part of the post, we’ll make some custom cushion covers with piping trim, zipper openings and a coordinating throw pillow! Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or a beginner, these simple and affordable techniques will help you transform your tired-looking chairs into stylish and comfortable pieces that you’ll be proud to show off in your outdoor space. So let’s get started and give those old patio chairs a much-needed makeover!

Step five – Make a pattern for the cushion covers

To ensure you order the right amount of fabric for your project, you need to create a pattern first. The initial step is to visualize how you want the final product to look like, considering factors such as cushion thickness, piping, seam placement, and attachment options. Personally, I find that sketching is a helpful tool to explore different design options and develop the desired look. It’s okay if your sketches aren’t perfect – they just need to convey the overall feel you’re going for and keep you inspired as you work on your project. By taking the time to plan and sketch, you’ll be more prepared and confident in selecting the right fabric and creating the perfect cushions for your space.

Step six – Choose and order the fabric and piping

I had a really hard time making this choice. I love fabric! If I could make a bunch of different covers for my chair cushions, I would – but large home decor sewing projects can be very time consuming compared to apparel sewing, so once is enough for me. I actually liked the original royal/navy blue of the chair cushions, but once again, I knew the sun would fade a dark color much faster, so I went with a beautiful pale blue color of outdoor fabric, that had a nice textured weave to it and matched the sky. The fabric also complemented the pale driftwood shade of the metal paint I had chosen. I picked a peacock blue shade to make some contrasting throw pillows.

Step seven – Cutting the fabric and installing the zippers

Once the pattern is drafted, I can take the pieces and make a pattern layout. This organizes the pattern pieces in the correct orientation (with the grain, against the grain, etc) onto the fabric. It’s kind of like playing fabric Tetris – the tighter you lay out the pieces, the less fabric you need to buy. I drew them to scale on graph paper, and that allowed me to easily measure the yardage I needed. One pro tip: if you are on a budget, or would just like to keep things simpler, choose a solid color or small print fabric for your design. Fabrics with symmetrical patterns (like stripes) or large scale repeated prints will take extra fabric and extra patience to match up the print across seams!

After my plan was drawn up, I started measuring and marking my pattern pieces onto the fabric, then I cut them out. Be sure to give yourself lots of space when dealing with yards and yards of fabric – my kitchen island was just the right size to spread out and do the job right. When in doubt, the floor always works too! I had to be very careful when handling the fabric, because it frayed like crazy at the cut edges. I ended up finishing all the cut edges with the serger before sewing.

Once all the fabric was cut out and neatly organized in stacks, I was ready to start sewing. I chose to sew the zippers into the four zipper panels.

Step eight – Sewing the piping trim and cushion covers

The next step was one of the most time-consuming – sewing the piping. I love the definition and crispness that piping gives the cushion edges, but it really is a labor of love. First you measure the circumference of each cushion face (8 total), then you cut the piping fill into those lengths. I used outdoor foam welt cord to fill the piping. It was trickier to work with than indoor/cotton piping fill but it was worth the effort for it to withstand the elements outside!

After cutting all the piping it was time to cover all 8 pieces in fabric. I used a zipper foot to sew the piping fabric cover. Once all my piping was sewn, I could construct the cushion covers. I inserted the piping into the seams of the cushions and used my zipper foot to sew them together.

Step nine – Recycling the old throw pillows

To make the new cushions, I decided on a rounded square shape with a button tufted center. I pulled out the old stuffing, measured it, and clipped the corners to match the new shape. Then I sewed the new fabric into 2 rounded-corner square pillowcases, leaving 6″ open to insert the stuffing. Next, I stuffed the new pillowcases and sewed them shut. I decided I wanted them to have a tufted look, so I covered a button with the coordinating fabric I used for the lounge chairs, and sewed them to both sides of the throw pillows! Leave me a comment if you would like a whole post outlining how I did this in greater detail!

Step ten – Relax and enjoy 😀 !

I hope you’ve enjoyed this two-part blog post on refurbishing your patio lounge chairs with sewing and painting. With just a little bit of time and effort, you can transform your old and tired-looking chairs into stylish and comfortable pieces that you’ll love to use and show off. By following the simple steps I’ve outlined, you’ll have a set of chairs that look like new and are ready for a summer full of relaxation and fun.

Remember, don’t be afraid to get creative and add your own personal touches to your patio chairs. Whether it’s using a bold and colorful fabric or trying out a new paint color, the possibilities are endless. So get out there and start refurbishing those chairs – you won’t be disappointed with the results! Happy painting and sewing!

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