Last Updated on February 26, 2013 by Kristi Linauer
Good morning, all! I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I spent some time working on my little patio area, and my first weekend project was making weather-resistant outdoor pillows for my Adirondack chairs. I love the color they add to the dark stained chairs! And now my little green side table makes a whole lot more sense. It’s almost like I planned it that way! 😀
I decided to make my own outdoor pillows because I’m never pleased with the ready-made weather-resistant pillows I find at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other stores. The colors always seem a bit “off”, the quality appears less-than-desirable, and the price is always more than I want to pay for a product like that.
So today I want to show you how to make your own outdoor pillows.
To make outdoor weather-resistant pillows, you have to start off with a weather-resistant pillow insert. I found mine at JoAnn Fabrics, and they’re about $20 each, so be sure to use a coupon!! I found mine on sale for 50% off. The thing that makes this pillow insert special is the laminated fabric that makes up the “shell” of the pillow.
In addition to the special pillow insert, you’ll also want to use a weather-resistant fabric, like an outdoor canvas. This fabric also has a special coating so that water won’t soak through, and I generally find a good selection at JoAnn Fabrics. It’s pricy also (about $20/yard), so again, be sure to use your coupons!!
Tools & Supplies:
- Weather-resistant pillow insert,
- Outdoor canvas,
- Polyester zipper,
- Matching thread,
- Sewing machine with a regular foot and a zipper foot,
Begin by cutting two pieces of outdoor canvas that are one inch larger than the pillow insert in each direction. My pillow insert was 12″ x 18″, so I cut my canvas 13″ x 19″ to allow for a 1/2″ seam on each side.
Next, place the two pieces with the right sides together, and determine which side will be the bottom of the pillow. Line up the zipper along the bottom edge, and place pins in the fabric to mark where the zipper begins and ends. Then use the sewing machine to sew the fabric together from the edge of the fabric to the pin on either side of the zipper opening using a 1/2″ seam.
Now place the canvas on your work surface with the right side facing up, and position the zipper in the opening between the two areas that you just sewed together. Turn the fabric under 1/2″, and place the folded edge on the zipper so that the folded edge of the fabric runs along the center of the zipper. Pin the fabric to the zipper.
Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch the fabric to the zipper close to the zipper teeth.
Repeat the same thing on the other side of the fabric and zipper.
After the zipper is sewn in, be sure to unzip the zipper before moving on to the next steps.
Now pin the other three sides of the pillow cover together with the right sides of the fabric together (in other words, the pillow cover should be inside out). Then sew the pieces together along these three edges using a 1/2″ seam.
Before turning the pillow cover right side out, trim the corners. This reduces the bulk of fabric, and creates sharper corners on your pillow cover. After the corners are trimmed, turn the pillow cover right side out.
At this point, if we were making a regular pillow with regular fabric, we would iron the seams to give a really professional, finished appearance. However, you do not want to iron outdoor canvas!! The coating on the canvas that makes it weather-resistant will shrink if you apply too much heat to it.
So instead of an iron, simply use your fingers to crease the fabric along the seam and make a finished edge.
Now you’re ready to put in the pillow insert. This can be a chore, especially with the weather-resistant pillow inserts (the fabric doesn’t slide easily at all), so just be patient and work with it until it’s in there and the corners are all lined up.
Once it’s stuffed and zipped, you have a weather-resistant outdoor pillow that will add great color and style to your patio, deck or porch!
I really love the color my new pillows add to my dark stained Adirondack chairs. They go great with the rug I’m painting! 🙂
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
I hope you’ll join me on my DIY and decorating journey! If you want to follow my projects and progress, you can subscribe below and have each new post delivered to your email inbox. That way you’ll never miss a thing!
SueMay 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm
Cute pillows! So nice and summery and they work perfectly with the side table. Enjoy!
Jen in Jersey (Germany, Jersey, Wichita, Japan, Wichita)May 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm
I just bought yards of this particular fabric to use in my laundry room! I love the bright, fun colors.
MomHomeGuide.comMay 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm
Thanks for the tutorial! Hope to make some outdoor cushions for my patio’s dining set!
BlissMay 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm
Once again I learned something new. Not sewing often I didn’t know there was outdoor pillow inserts. I will file that in my memory as you never know when that bit of info will be needed.
Diane | An Extraordinary DayMay 14, 2012 at 11:55 pm
Perfect! I love the way your patio is shaping up! Can’t wait to see your painted rug.
Thanks for the tip on the outdoor inserts. Who knew? Oh yeah…YOU!
Outdoor Rug With Painted StripesMay 15, 2012 at 9:14 am
[…] of latex paint in different colors (I already had white paint at home) to match the colors in the outdoor pillows that I made, and started out by using painters tape to tape off the stripes, and a paint brush to brush, dab, […]
Susan BewleyMay 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm
This is such a cute pillow! I didn’t know about the weather resistant inserts for pillows. 🙂
Lisa Van SlykeMay 19, 2012 at 12:29 am
I don’t know if this tip will work with stiff fabric such as outdoor canvas, but I want to share anyway. One way to place a pillow into any pillowcase (I use this tip when I wash my couch cushions made from upholstery fabric) is to:
1. Turn the pillowcase INSIDE out.
2. Then, “scrunch up” the fabric and insert hands/arms into the inside of the pillowcase (this will have the hands/arms touching the right side of the fabric).
3. Pinch the corners of the pillowcase to assist with the sharp corner look.
4. Place the pillow under your chin and line the edge of the pillowcase with the edge of the pillow (this step is done from the bottom, or free edge, of the pillow not under your chin).
5. Pinch the pillow with the same fingers that are pinching the inside of the pillowcase (this step will now have you pinching both the pillow and pillowcase simultaneously).
6. Release the pillow from your chin and turn it upside down. I usually place the now free edge of the pillow on any surface such as the couch.
7. Work the fabric down the pillow.
Viola! You now have a perfectly placed pillowcase on a pillow. Usually the edges will be sharp. If not, it is easy to slide your hand down the pillowcase to fix it. This also works great if you have an extra set of hands to help (like a child or significant other). You can keep your fingers pinching the fabric and pillowcase and have them pull down the pillowcase.
I don’t blog, nor do I have pics for this tip. I wish I did to make it easier to understand. But trust me, once you have mastered this method, the stress of placing a pillowcase on a pillow simply goes away!
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DIY: Make An Easy Floor Cloth In 60 Minutes Or LessAugust 15, 2012 at 9:09 am
[…] a bit of inspiration hit me. I was looking at a remnant of fabric that I had left over from my outdoor pillows, and I thought to myself, “That would make a great floor cloth!” So off to JoAnn […]
DIY: Easy Three-Fabric Decorative PillowsOctober 25, 2012 at 9:33 am
[…] you can use my tutorial for how to make a simple throw pillow to finish up the pillow. Or you can put a zipper in the pillow cover for easy removal and […]
DIY: Decorative Pillows With Variegated Yarn DesignNovember 19, 2012 at 10:07 am
[…] With all of the vertical lines stitched, I trimmed the excess yarn from the edges, and then finished my pillows with a zipper closure at the bottom. If you’re unsure how to do this, you can refer to my tutorial on how to make a pillow cover with a zipper closure. […]