How To Make Super Quick & Easy Drawstring Seat Covers to Update Outdoor Furniture

How To Make Super Quick & Easy Drawstring Seat Covers to Update Outdoor Furniture

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Ashley Poskin
Jun 15, 2015
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Are those chevron print seat cushions just not doing it for you anymore? Before purchasing a new set and forking over a large wad of cash (seriously, even cushions at the big box stores are pricey!), check out this handy DIY for drawstring seat covers. They're easy to remove and wash, and can be changed out as many times as you like throughout the seasons.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Now, there is a bit of sewing involved but it's nothing fancy so don't be intimidated. Just get yourself behind a machine and push that pedal! Still feeling uneasy? Let me try to calm you with this personal anecdote: growing up I heard the phrase "If I can't hot glue it, I don't do it" from my mother any time a craft project was underway. I've expanded my repertoire with a few other tools beyond the glue gun, but it's safe to say I've always had a healthy fear of sewing machines and still try to avoid them if I can help it. But since there's going to be a whole lot of yanking and pulling on the drawstring, we need a good, strong stitch, courtesy of Le Sewing Machine.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

The cushions I covered were of a pretty average size, but seemed a bit thicker than usual because they are old as dirt and still had springs inside. In any case, be sure to measure out your cushions before purchasing your fabric using the guidelines below. Outdoor fabric can be pricey, but craft stores regularly run half-off sales throughout the warmer seasons. Keep an eye out for deals- otherwise the DIY doesn't end up saving you $$$. The fabric pictured on my chairs was purchased from Jo-Ann Fabric and is called "SNS Charlotte".

What You Need

Materials

  • 1-1 1/2 yards of outdoor fabric per cushion (see below)
  • Drawstring cord
  • Outdoor thread

Tools

  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Medium to large safety pin
  • Pencil or fabric marker
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Instructions

1. Before purchasing your fabric, measure your cushions. First, measure the height of your cushion, then add four inches to account for the drawstring. Double the adjusted height measurements, and add the total on to the length and width measurements. For example: The height of my cushion was 5", add the 4" drawstring allowance for a total of 9", double this adjusted measurement for a total of 18" add to the length and width, making my new LxW measurements 35" x 37" instead of 17" x 19". The fabric I wanted was 52" wide, so I was good to go!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Since we are working with a drawstring, we have the freedom to not have to be super precise, which is often the most intimidating aspect of sewing. Lay your cushion out on the fabric (fabric should be print side down) as close to the center as you can get, and measure around each side before tracing or cutting. Be sure you have enough room to allow for your adjusted height measurement. In my case this was 9". If you have at least that much fabric surrounding your cushion on all sides, take a pencil and trace your cushion. From the traced line, measure out X" (adjusted height, not doubled. In my case this was 9") around the entire traced line and draw a new line. This line will be the same shape as your traced shape, just X" (adjusted height) larger. Cut out your fabric along the adjusted height line.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Measure in 2" from the adjusted height outer edge and mark with your pencil. Continue to measure and mark around the entire outer edge of the fabric.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Fold your fabric over on the new 2" line and press flat with a hot iron.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Using the outdoor thread, sew a stitch around the edge of your fabric. Try to keep the outer edge of your presser foot right on the raw edge of your fabric as you sew around.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Sewing around curves can be tricky, just be sure to leave enough of an allowance to pull your drawstring though.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

You should have approximately a 1 1/4" wide channel for your drawstring.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

6. With your fabric laying flat, print side down, place your drawstring around the outer edge. Add 12" additional inches and cut your drawstring.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

7. On what will be the back side of your cushion, cut a 1" slit through one side of the drawstring channel. Be sure not to cut through both sides of the fabric, or the edges.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

8. Tie each end of your drawstring in a double knot and run a medium to large size safety pin through one of the knots. Close the safety pin and begin to feed it through the slit and around the drawstring channel.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Work the safety pin around in 4"-5" lengths, pulling the fabric taut as you go.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

9. Pull the drawstring around so that your fabric lays flat again. Place it print side down and lay your old cushion on the original traced line.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

10. Pull on the drawstrings so the fabric comes up around the cushion and secure the cover by tying the strings in place. If you want a really tight fit, have someone help hold the cushion while you tug on the strings.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

11. Tuck the excess string under the fabric and place your cushions back on your furniture. Make any other adjustments to the areas where the fabric gathers, and enjoy!

Notes: I tried making one cushion a few inches larger (photo above on left) than my measurements, just to see if it would be worthwhile to cover more of the underside, or allow more fabric to gather around the edges and was not impressed with the results. Stick to your measurements, use just the adjusted height measurements and you'll be very happy with the outcome. Good luck!

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