Today I’d like to share with you how to make DIY custom shaped chair cushions, including cutting the foam, fabric and putting it together.
Late last summer, I picked up a really cute wicker settee and 2 chairs. (I swear I took pictures of them before and during the refinish process but for the life of me, I cannot find them! Don’t you hate that!??) My nieces and nephews are all young professionals, some with young families, trying to make ends meet. So when I scored these three pieces at a bargain price, I offered them to my nephew and his wife Laura. Laura has a great sense of style and really spruced up the curb appeal of their semi detached home located in an area of Toronto, referred to as “the Danforth”. The Danforth is also home to Greek town, lots of great shops and restaurants and it is right on the main subway line. All those amenities make prices high and the older homes small. Regardless, they have a cute covered front porch and they were thrilled to have some free furniture to put out there.
She wanted a dark brown finish. I planned on staining them as I had with my chairs here but when I set to work on them, I found the chairs were not wicker or rattan but PLASTIC! Sure fooled me! What a good fake! So I ended up spray painting them with Rustoleum’s Ultra Cover in Espresso because it adheres to plastic. The rich colour will look great on their porch.
She found cushions for the settee and I volunteered to make some cushions for the chairs since they were rounded and all she could find was square one. She picked up fabulous outdoor fabric for only $5 a meter because it was nearing the end of summer. I LOVE this fabric! I have been crushing on Apple Green for months!
Cutting the Foam
I had some 2″ foam from a big boo-boo I made a few months back when I ordered foam that was too small for the project but it was perfect for this. Using newspaper, I created a pattern from the chair seat then I traced it on to the foam.
I had purchased this electric knife specifically for cutting foam. It works so well.
Note: When cutting foam, you need to pay attention that the blade is at right angles to the face of the foam. Otherwise you will need to trim it more to make it flat versus angled.
Once I cut the foam, I used the same newspaper pattern to cut out the fabric,
I added another 1/5 inch all the way around for the seam allowance. Then I cut long 3″ wide strips for the sides of the cushion.
Pinning and sewing
So many bloggers show every minute detail but since I have been sewing for decades, I just cut to the chase!
I found the centre back and with right sides together, I started to pin the long side piece all the way around. Rather than sew together the two ends where they meet, I decided to overlap them. I think this helped to keep the pieces taut.
Sewing and Finishing
I machine stitched the above pieces together, trimmed the seam and zigzagged the edges because this fabric was really ravelling.
I then pinned the bottom piece on to the other edge of the side piece. I machine stitched it and finished it in the same manner but I did not stitch it all they around. I needed the opening to insert the foam. I did however iron the piece where the seam should be so it would be easier to hand stitch closed. Before I inserted the foam, I also added little ties at the back to keep it from moving off the chair.
After inserting the foam, I used a simple slip stitch to close it up!
The entire process took me a few of hours and all the while I was listening to a recorded book, The Nightengale, by Kristin Hanna. Fabulour book and a great way to pass the time while sewing, painting, cooking or commuting!
I sure wish I had the before pictures! Basically they were that yucky yellowish rattan colour. I think this brown is really rich and will tie into their house colour and the cushions will add that great pop of colour!
So what do you think? Nicer Than New?
Have you have made shaped, custom cushions?
I’d love to hear from you! It makes my day!