Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bench Cushion

Back in May, I took advantage of a holiday sale at Joann and bought some foam for 50% off (it's expensive!) with the intention of making a window seat cushion and a bench cushion.  They sat for awhile before I got brave enough to try making them, since I've never done a sewing project of this size before.  I already got the window seat cushion done (it can be viewed here) and now it was time to get the bench cushion done.

Right before I left on my trip, I finished sewing the cover for my bench cushion, but I didn't quite like how it turned out.  So, after I got home, I took some of it apart, made some quick adjustments, and all is right in bench-cushion-world again.  I know I already posted about the window seat cushion I made, but that was a learning process, so now that I knew what to do this time, I can include a tutorial.

Supplies Needed:
*Sewing machine
*Measuring tape
*Scissors (or rotary cutting blade & cutting mat)

I decided that I wanted to keep one of the sides open, so in case I needed to wash the cover, I could just slip it on and off.  I thought about various ways to do this and decided to sew one of the short sides like a sham pillow cover.  This way, the two pieces stay closed on it's own when the foam is inside, but it can still be opened easily to remove it.  (I also considered using velcro or buttons, but I bought the wrong velcro and was too lazy to  learn how to sew button holes).

1)  I started out by cutting a piece of foam to fit the bench.   It ended up measuring to be 62" long, 16" wide, and 2" thick.  Cutting foam is a pain in the booty - consider yourself forwarned.
2)  Now that I knew what the foam measurements were, I could figure out how to cut the pieces of fabric (I added an inch to the measurements since I needed 1/2" of a hem on each side of the fabric).  I needed 2 pieces 17" x 63" (top & bottom of the cushion), 3 pieces 3" x 17" (the two short sides of the cushion),  and 2 pieces 3" x 63" (the two long sides of the cushion).  With the extra fabric I had left over, I cut some strips (not measured) to make straps to tie it to the bench.  I used my rotary cutter to cut these pieces out (I washed the fabric first).
3)  After cutting all my pieces, I pinned the appropriate pieces together (with the wrong side out) to form the cover:  top piece to #1 long side piece, that #1 long side piece to the bottom piece, then both top & bottom piece to #2 long side piece.  Then, attach #1 short side piece to the ends of all those pieces).
4)  Then, I just started sewing away.  The picture below shows how I sewed the extra strips of fabric between the bottom piece and one of the long sides to make the ties so I could secure the cushion to the bench. 
Here is what it looked like when I sewed the strap on.
Here is what the strap looks like after it's finished.
5)  To make the "sham" side of the cover, I sewed hems on one side of both of the short side pieces.  I then attached #2 & #3 short side pieces to the open end and layered them on top of each other and sewed them together. 

6)  I turned the whole thing inside out and stuffed the foam into the open "sham" side of the cover.  And that was all there was too it!
The "sham" side of the cover.  It's not very noticeable.
Here is the "sham" side again with the tie.
And here it is again in case you missed the first time.   :)
It actually wasn't very hard to do at all.  The hardest part was just figuring out how to do it.  I'm so very glad that it's all done now - my living room is starting to look a bit normal again, now that all my supplies are put away!

**Update:  I finally found my receipts so I can tell you how much money I saved by doing this myself.  I bought both the fabric and foam on sale for 50% off.  The fabric was $39 and the foam was $27.   I even have some foam leftover.  Total cost was $66.  If I had ordered a custom cushion it would have been $120-$135!  That's a savings of $54 - $69!


  1. I have a question, or maybe you can give me some advice. I am making a cushion for a storage chest so it can double as extra seating. I don't want to glue the cushion to the top of the storage chest, and mine doesn't have anything I can tie the corners to. Any suggestions on how I could attach it to the top of my storage chest (without permanently attaching it)?

    1. Hello there - thanks for stopping by. I'm hoping you will get this since I wasn't able to respond via email to you. I completely understand about not wanting to permanently attach it. It's nice to be able to change things up easily if you need to.

      Option 1: Command brand strips are great! I use the hooks for tons of things and the strips come right off without damaging the surface it's on. I believe there is a hook & loop version of it (but I could be wrong). If they do have the hook & loop version, you can try attaching it to the top of the chest and somehow sew them on the bottom of the cushion and attach the cushion to the top that way.

      Option 2: If the storage chest is up against a wall, maybe you can put two of the Command hooks on the back of the chest - near the top, one on the right edge and one on the left edge. You would put them upside down. You could then make your cushion with the tie straps and then then tie or loop them around the upside down hook so it will at least keep the cushion in place.

      Option 3: Does your storage chest have hinges attached to the top? If it does (and it also depends on what type of hinges they are), but maybe you can use the ties on the cushion and tie it to the hinges?

      Sorry if I'm not clear on some of these descriptions. It would be easier to actually show you, but obviously I can't. :) I hope these help or at least can be a springboard to other ideas. If you have any other questions, please let me know. Have a great weekend!

  2. FYI Cutting Foam is easy if you use an Electric Meat Knife. Just Draw a line on your foam, stand it on edge and cut straight down. Works wonderful!

    1. I have heard that, but unfortunately I don't have one. Thanks for the tip in case someone else has one that they can use on a project like this! :)

  3. Looks GREAT! Can I ask what kind of foam? I'm so confused by the options out there!! Thanks~!

    1. Hi AnnaMarie - thank you!! I'm not sure exactly what type of foam it is and there was no brand name, but I got it at Joann and they come in long, green sheets. I took mine to the cutting counter and told them how many yards I wanted and they cut it for me.

  4. Im taking on this project for a mudroom bench. I was thinking of spray gluing it all to the foam. What are your thoughts? (Im not very good at sewing and have less then 2 yards for a 42inch by 3 " by 16" foam for the cushion)

    1. Hello - I don't have any experience with spray gluing fabric to foam, so unfortunately I'm not sure how that would work out (not sure how the spray glue would react with the foam). I do know that other people have used non-sew techniques to make these, so you could always search online for a non-sew version.


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