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Yes, you can sew your custom bench cushions and add cute piping trim to it. It’s not hard and I’ll show you how easy it can be to Sew a Bench Cushion with Piping.Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Before you run screaming, “I can’t sew to save my life!”, let me tell you I thought sewing a bench cushion was going to be difficult. But, I thought sewing a bench cushion with piping would be next to impossible. Little did I know, once I figured out an easy way to create the box, it was actually very easy!

My Secret Fabric Source:

Before we get started I wanted to let you in on a little secret: The bench cushion and side table fabrics you see below are shower curtains!

Sewing a Bench Cushion

You read that right. Shower curtains are not only inexpensive, but they are durable and can stand up to moisture. This makes them perfect for outdoor use. I bought both of these at fabric shower curtains at Target for under $20 each!

Sewing a Bench Cushion Fabric Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion Supplies

Okay, let’s get started!

Preparing the Foam Cushion

Lay your foam on top of the bench. Mark a line where you need to trim.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Prep Cushion

Use an electric carving knife to cut through the foam.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Cut Foam

Wrap batting around your foam. Then trim the edges down to size. I had enough to put two layers on top of the foam and one layer on the bottom. This will make for a cushier and less “squared” cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion Wrap Foam

Cutting out the pieces

1. Lay out your fabric (err, I mean, shower curtain) folded in half. Place your cushion on top. Trace around the cushion about 3/4″ wider on all sides.

Sewing a Bench Cushion cut pieces

Cut through the two layers. This will give you the top and bottom panels for your cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion bottom panels

2. Next cut out four strips of fabric for the sides. Cut your lengths 2″ longer than your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric strips

If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

  • Front: 4.25″ wide  by length + 2″
  • Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
  • *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

*The back is wider and has two strips because we need to sew an overlapping flap and velcro to make the cover removable.

Sewing a Bench Cushion fabric measure

Assembling the sides

1. Wrap the 4 strips around your cushion right sides facing in. (Reserve the back fold over piece for later.) Pin the edges where they meet at your cushion corners. The back strip should line up with the sides on the one edge. But, the other edge will extend 1.25″ taller than the rest.

Sewing a Bench Cushion assemble sides

2. Remove the sides and stitch where the pins are. When you get to the back strip, fold over the excess so it matches the same height as the rest of the strips.

Sewing Bench

Then stitch along the back strip’s folded over fabric to secure it.

sew fabric for cushion

Set your sides aside for now. It is time to pin the piping to your cushion top.

Adding the Piping

(Tutorial for Making Your Own Piping Here)

1. Lay the top panel right side up on top of the cushion. Pin the piping on top of the fabric. Line up the piping with the edges of the cushion. Be sure the raw edge of your piping is facing the raw edge of the fabric.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

When you reach a corner, snip into the raw edge of the piping all the way (but not through) the rope piping. Then turn your piping at a clean 90 degree angle and continue pinning.

bench cushion piping

When you reach the beginning of your pinned piping, simply overlap the two about 2″ and cut off the excess.

sewing bench cushion corners

Your top should look like this:

bench cushion top diy

2. Set the top panel on your sewing machine and sew the piping into place. Your needle will be very close to the piping, but it shouldn’t stitch into the rope. This is where your zipper foot really helps!

sew cushion piping

Carefully sew and backstitch over the place where your piping overlaps.

sew backstitch cushion

Connecting the top and sides

1. Lay your top panel onto the cushion. Pick up your sides and begin pinning them to the top of the cushion. The hem on the back side should be facing up and away from the piping. Position your pins close to the piping but not on top of it. Try to line up the corners of your sides with the 90 degree corners of your piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

2. Stitch the sides onto the top piece. Again, your needle will be very close to the piping but not over it. This is a little trickier because you can’t see the piping, but you can feel it. Just use your fingers to guide you. (Piping shown by the red arrowed line below.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion

Turn your top cover right sides out and test the fit on your cushion.

DIY Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Repeat the steps above for “adding the piping” for your bottom cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping bottom cover

Adding the back flap

1. NOW, pick up that back fold over strip that has been sitting all by its lonesome. Fold the edges over twice on three sides (2 short and 1 long) to hem your flap. Press the hem with an iron.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap

Go ahead and stitch along the folded hem to secure it.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping back flap sew

2. Center and pin the flap along the back edge of the bottom panel (right sides together) as shown. The raw edges should be facing out.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sewing corners

3. Stitch the back flap onto the bottom panel next to the piping. About an inch or so of the panel will extend on both ends. Leave it loose so it can tuck inside the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping stitch edges

3. Turn your top panel and sides wrong sides out and put your cushion inside it. Then lay your bottom panel on top as shown.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top panel

Pin the bottom panel to the sides just like you did for the top panel. This time leave the back side unpinned (where your two flaps overlap.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

4. Now is a good time to trim any excess from your previously stitched seams. (There will be a lot of fabric on the sewing machine, and this is just one less piece that could get caught while stitching.)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping cut excess

Trim off the corners at an angle.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim edges

Ever so carefully, peel the pinned cover off the cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping top cushion

5. Stitch along the two sides and front of your cover. Leave the back length of the cover open. Remember, use your fingers to feel for the piping.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew piping

6. Turn the cover right side out and slide the cushion into the cover.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Check the fit and make sure you don’t have any stray fabric that might have gotten caught while sewing.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

You should have an opening in the back like this.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Adding the velcro closure

1. Take out your coordinating velcro tape.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping adding velcro

Pin the hook and loop velcro tape onto the backside and the back fold over flap. I used 4 strips of 3″ velcro evenly spaced along the length of the opening.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping velcro

2. Stitch the velcro onto the cushion. You can use a zig-zag stitch for extra strength (if you have destructive little boys like I do!)

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping sew velcro

Check the fit of the velcro.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping fit velcro

3. If everything looks good, you can turn the cover inside out and trim off any excess raw edges. Then turn the cover right side out and insert your cushion.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping trim raw edges
And that’s it! You are done and you have a professional-looking, washable, piped slipcovered cushion! Phew, say that 10 times fast.

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping finished

 

Sewing a Bench Cushion with Piping

Want to see the rest of my screen porch makeover? I spent less than $125, that’s what I call an extreme budget!

Ladder Shelves

I’d also love to have you join me for some more easy sewing tutorials!

Sewing Tutorials

On a personal note: This week will be a busy one, I have several projects to start; several to finish; I need to pull a permit and I REALLY need to order a refrigerator. If you have one you absolutely love, I’m open to your suggestions. Currently, we have an 18 year old side by side. I’m thinking a 25 cu ft or larger french door fridge might be better suited to a growing family of boys.

do it yourself crafts tutorials ideas

111 replies
      • Toni
        Toni says:

        Love your tutorial! Just a few questions to ask. First what type of stitch did you use to put this together? What kind of fabric was used? And lastly you said to cut 4 strips but I count 5…am I incorrect? I’m awful with math (thank goodness for my husband), I count two for the removable opening and one for the from and two for the sides? I’m confused? Love your fabric choices and colors! Thanks for your help!

        Reply
  1. Kathi
    Kathi says:

    I love my samsung rfg 298 29cuft http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/refrigerators/RFG298AARS/XAA
    we got the stainless platinum. doesn’t show fingerprints but it dents easily.
    love the french door style….when you look at them, make sure you can pull out all the drawers on one side when one of the doors is closed. When we bought the samsung…this was the only brand that had that capability. This was a huge selling point for me and was based on a tip from a friend that learned the hard way. : -)

    Reply
  2. seansmom
    seansmom says:

    I LOVE my french door fridge!! Mine is a white Maytag that we got 6 years ago. I love how handy it is to use and the sliding, adjustable shelves make it so easy to find what you’re looking for.

    Will be using your tutorial this spring when I make new cushion covers for all the chairs on our wrap around porch. I’ve made covers before, but yours is much easier! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Kimberly Bruhn
    Kimberly Bruhn says:

    Just a quick note about the refridgerators. We have the Samsung one, too. French doors, stainless, etc. Big drawback, in my opinion, is the waste of space in the doors. The area is sooo tiny for even a bottle of mustard on the side with the ice maker/water dispenser. I’d look at that area if I were you….maybe someone’s got a better design. Also, our water comes out super slowly. Just the way it is. We checked. We are big DIYers, too, and my husband re-plumbed with copper and still didn’t make a difference. Thought you might want to know.
    Kimberly

    Reply
  4. Janet
    Janet says:

    I’m pretty sure at one time you said you were better with power tools than a sewing machine. Of course I could be mistaking you for another DIY blogger, but this looks very professional to me. I, too, love the blue and white–they’re the colors of my den. The place where I don’t do all the creative work I need to. Anyway your cushions are beautiful. Definitely have to keep the shower curtains in mind. Thanks
    Janet

    Reply
  5. Roeshel
    Roeshel says:

    Great tutorial, Brittany! And using pretty shower curtains is genius!
    Thanks for the shout out too {made my day}! Looking forward to seeing that color in your kitchen!

    Reply
  6. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    I love this tutorial Brittany! It’s one of the easiest tutorials I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing, because I am going to use this one for sure. You rock!

    Hugs,

    Vanessa

    Reply
  7. sandy
    sandy says:

    Yes! I did it!! Thank you so much for the detail step by step instruction. By reading your post, I made two bench cushion covers for our breakfast nook! I couldn’t have done it without you!! Thank you so much!!

    Reply
  8. Theresa Knowles Hopkins
    Theresa Knowles Hopkins says:

    Brittany, I want to thank you so much for posting this! I recently found an artsy side to my personality & am having so much fun doing these things that I never thought I could. Today I did piping and sewed the top of the bench cover. Funny, I told my husband that one of my sides bunched a little & he kissed me and said, “Honey, if this were your 100th attempt at making this, I might tell you to redo, but it’s your FIRST!” So, the perfectionists in me needs to chill and just live & do what makes me happy. Thank you for blogging & making it so easy for a non-sewer w/ big dreams make it happen. Hopefully tomorrow I will be finished and will send you photos.

    Reply
  9. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I’m just a beginner sewer and I’m a little intimidated by this project but I’m going to give it a try. If I use a shower curtain, do you think I need a special kind of thread? Or, will regular thread work? It seems like a thick/unforgiving ‘fabric’ (and I know nothing, really about sewing), so I thought I should check.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Kelly, the shower curtain (fabric not vinyl kind) fabric is the same consistency as upholstery and home decor fabric. The main thing is to make sure you have a sharp sewing needle. The thread can be regular thread. Take it slow and allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s a given when you are first learning. Just have that seam ripper available and don’t give up.

      Reply
  10. Sherree
    Sherree says:

    That’s my weekend project sorted. LOVE it! Thank you Brittany. I was so uninspired by the choice of bench cushions in my local stores (I live in regional NSW, Australia). I’d resigned myself to paying a fortune for an imported cushion when I came across your tutorial. I normally make patchworks on my sewing machine, but this is a project I can manage with your help! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Karla
    Karla says:

    Excellent step by step instructions. Using a shower curtain was a great idea. It worked perfectly. The 3″ foam was pretty expensive, so if you’re going to make this cushion look for coupons before you go to the store. I made my cushion yesterday. It looks great!! Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Coleyole
    Coleyole says:

    I’ve completely reorganized the original plan for a bench cover I had in mind to make yours, it looks so much better! I was just wondering if you attach the batting to the foam at any point. My cushion is actually on a large bookshelf laying down (around 73″ long) and I worry it will move around especially during removal of the cover for washing or with rambunctious little boys! Thank you!

    Reply
  13. P&S
    P&S says:

    Thank you Brittany for sharing the directions for the piped bench cushion. I’ve just finished a pair of striped bench cushions made of 4″thick foam and they’ve turned out fantastic thanks to these instructions. The pictures were clear and the order of construction was great. Fitting the side pieces around the foam really saved the day. If I make another set for outside, the shower curtains were a great idea. I will be returning to the website soon!

    Reply
  14. MaryFrances
    MaryFrances says:

    My daughter-in-law asked me to make a bench cushion. The cushion should measure 40″ x 15.5″. I plan to use 2″ foam plus the batting. (Is the batting you use low loft or regular medium loft?). I’d appreciate any help on making sure I get sufficient fabric to make the cushion. Your directions are very clear.

    Reply
  15. Nneka
    Nneka says:

    Hi there, I just found this while looking for help as a novice seamstress trying to make a cushion seat for a reading book my husband made each of our girls for Christmas. I see you are in the Raleigh area. So am I. Any chance you might be interested in a demo?!?!

    Reply
  16. Diana Nowak-Riffel
    Diana Nowak-Riffel says:

    Hi there,

    I just want to know where you got the memory foam cushion for, I checked Joanne Fabrics, Hobby Lobby and didn’t see that for sale.

    Reply
  17. SewerMom
    SewerMom says:

    Thank you so much for your thorough step-by-step tutorial. I made 2 bench cushion seats for our newly custom-built window reading nook and it looks amazing. We saved so much $ by making it ourselves. I can’t believe I did it! And it’s all thanks to you 🙂 I did leave out the piping, but with my new-found confidence, perhaps I will tackle that for my next bench cushion!!

    Reply
  18. Sharmila
    Sharmila says:

    Hello Brittany, Thank you so much for the great tutorial. This is just what I was looking for. I recently learned the basics of sewing (don’t know piping as yet) and own a very basic machine so the DIY trick for piping that you have explained is just ingenious. I had one question though: are the target shower curtains %100 cotton? If yes are they really moisture resistant? Just wondering what I have to look for in the store.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Sondra
    Sondra says:

    very nice tutorial. I’m getting ready to remake my kitchen chair box cushions using duck cloth. I didn’t do a very good job the first time around, so I am going to follow your tutorial. Questions for you- Sometimes, instructions say to make the top and bottom pieces 1/2″ smaller than the foam to prevent wrinkling. Is this the case with duck cloth? Can you provide me with instructions for inserting velcro straps for attaching the cushions to chairs? I plan to use a contrasting duck cloth for the welting and straps.

    Reply
  20. Linda
    Linda says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for your ideas and skills… I want to try this but need to get a new sewing machine (mine was damaged in Hurricane Sandy…) – what sewing machine do you use? I don’t think I will will use anything heavier than denim or upholstery cotton… I would love you r help.

    Thank you,
    Linda

    Reply
  21. Carmella
    Carmella says:

    We bought a Sears Kenmore Elite with ‘Grab & Go’ door on the right side . What I like about it is you only need to open the outer part of the grab-n-go door to reach for smaller things, like beverages, yogurt, condiments, without having to open the whole door. real energy efficient. It has French doors on top, and a single pull out bottom freezer door, with 2 drawers inside! ‘The ice and water dispenser is designed very neatly, and the door is still very slim. There’s so much room in this fridge, with a wide deli drawer, you’d be surprised how much it can hold. I love it, it has great value, and a modest price depending on the size.

    Reply
  22. Carmella
    Carmella says:

    Brittany, thank you! Been sewing home décor for years, and never knew how to add piping to box pillows. I’m making a mud-room bench seat and a window seat, and have all the materials, so now I can get started. Really appreciate this tutorial.

    Reply
  23. Lucy
    Lucy says:

    Thank you so much for these amazing instructions! They are so much clearer than anything else I have seen online and the pictures to go with each step are a huge help. I am pretty new to sewing and have just finished my first bench cushion cover and I am so pleased! I definitely couldn’t have done it without your help, so thank you very much!

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Lucy, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m so glad you found my directions helpful. And I’m even more excited you were successful with your cushion! You go girl.

      Reply
  24. Lori
    Lori says:

    Is the shower curtain fabric waterproof? I am looking to make a cover for an outdoor swing bed. (It will be double encased in waterproof covers.)

    Reply
  25. mandy cat
    mandy cat says:

    These cushions are gorgeous but miles beyond my sewing skills. I can chip in with some advice for simpler projects, however. The standard size for shower curtains is 72″ by 72″. This makes them a very nice choice for table cloths and table toppers, with none of that tiresome piecing you might have to do with 48′ wide material.

    I scored yards of gorgeous fabric when some marketing genius wildly overestimated customer demand for shower curtains made of dry clean only material. Huh???? Bed Bath and Beyond was all but giving them away.

    Reply
  26. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    For the front and sides, Do you also cut the width 3/4 more on top and bottom or the exact same width and only cut longer by 2″? I couldn’t figure out how it would be wider at one end by 1.25 after sewing so I’m stuck there…lol.

    Reply
    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      Cynthia, you need to add to the widths for seam allowance. I added about 1.5″ total to the width of the side strips. Then added 2″ to the total length of the cushion. Here are the measurements I used for a 3″ piece of foam:
      If your foam is 3″ and you use 1-2 layers of batting, you can use these measurements for your strips:

      Front: 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
      Sides (left and right): 4.25″ wide by length + 2″
      *Back: 5.5″ wide by length + 2″
      *Back Fold Over Flap: 3.5″ wide by length + 2″

      Reply
  27. Alice Trussell
    Alice Trussell says:

    Are you using 3/4″ seam allowances? It appears that by having 3/4″ allowances that makes the cover slightly small or snug for the thickness of the foam due to the width of the side strips. It would be very helpful to state the seam allowances in the instructions since the 3/4″ is inferred with the dimensions of the top and bottom. However, the width of the side strips are only 1.25″ wider than the thickness of the foam. The additional 1.25″ infers a 5/8″ seam allowance for a 3″ cushion. We love this blog with great pictures on making a bench cushion, but a clarification of seam allowances would really be helpful.

    Reply
  28. Annette Sperry
    Annette Sperry says:

    Thank you. I have 3 bay window seat cushions I am recovering and this is very helpful.

    My only question is on the velcro – why do many little strips of velcro and not do one longer one??? What is the advantage? Does it pull more? My cushions are about 32″ long x 24″ wide and 3.5″ tall.

    Reply
  29. Carolina Adkins
    Carolina Adkins says:

    Exact what I was looking for.
    I love how u clearly show ea & every step. Thank u!

    Any chance u’d be willing to show how to go about adding a zipper instead of velcro?

    I tutorial on a hinged cushion would be great.

    Cheers!!

    Reply
  30. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    I have never sewn anything in my life….but I want to make one of these for a bench that I restored. I am wondering if this will be too advanced for me…or should I give it a try?

    Reply
  31. Katherine
    Katherine says:

    I know this is almost five years after your post, but so nice. Someone else that uses shower curtains/drapes for projects. Such a fantastic piece of fabric (and so cost conscious). I also scope out thrift stores as they receive “last years models” at times with beautiful fabrics.

    I need to remake a foam cover I put together last year in a rush. We’re currently remodeling our basement (my work area) so I can’t work on this yet.

    Thanks – Katherine

    Reply
  32. Dianne
    Dianne says:

    Great tutorial, I just found wish I had seen it sooner when that pattern shower curtain would still be available. But again, you made the tutorial look so easy and I will find another striking blue and crisp white pattern to use. Thank you!

    Reply
  33. Candy Bizelli Heidbreder
    Candy Bizelli Heidbreder says:

    Is the batting cut the exact size of the cushion? In one picture, it looks like it is bigger than the cushion? I guess I’m being a perfectionist. Thank you. Candy

    Reply
  34. Theresa
    Theresa says:

    Never thought of using shower curtains – ingenious!! And thank you for the detailed tutorial. We just moved into a new place with a screened-in back porch and I want to give it a little more “cohesive” look instead of the hodgepodge it is now. Seeing your porch has given me a starting point!

    Reply
  35. Marjan Van horen
    Marjan Van horen says:

    I use your method for the major part, but I sew my velcro on the back strips before assembling the back with the top and bottom covers. This way I don’t have all that bulk hanging of my sewing machine while trying to fix the velcro in when everything else is already assembled.
    I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work.
    Marjan Van horen (The Flemish Bee)
    A pretty handy girl from Belgium

    Reply
  36. Megan
    Megan says:

    The tutorial generally is very good. I, too, used a shower curtain which was cute and inexpensive. As I have some self inflicted wounds, I’d like to offer some suggestions. I would recommend using a small diameter cording, I chose a larger cording and it was impossible to get the seam close enough and also, to machine sew through the overlapping cording at the corners. I also chose to make a muslin cover for the batting wrapped foam. Now the interior slides in and out of the cushion cover easily.

    Reply
  37. gwen
    gwen says:

    i too thought the directions were pretty easy to follow. However, i used a fabric that had birds in a direction, so when it came to adding that extra back piece, it was difficult to figure out! but i did accomplish on my first try, so i guess it just took a little bit more brain power than the rest of the project. i wrapped my cushion in batting and used a light adhesive spray and had no problem slipping the cover on and off for fitting, etc. i will say that i used a store-bought piping which is smaller than the rope, (basically cause i’m lazy!) and it’s just as difficult to sew close to the cording using the smaller piping! i love how mine turned out! thanks for the tutorial!

    Reply
  38. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    Is it possible to add the material (say 1 1/2″)for making your piping to the side of your cushions (3″ side plus the 1 1/2″ for the piping) to make all in one piece for a more perfect flow of a material with a design?

    Reply

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