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How to Sew a Simple Outdoor Pillow

Stitching up an outdoor pillow to brighten up a porch or deck is a great project for a sewing novice. Select materials that are made to withstand bright sun and moisture to keep these custom pillows looking great year after year.

Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Materials Needed:

  • polyfill pillow form
  • 3/4 yard exterior-grade fabric
  • sewing machine equipped with zipper foot
  • scissors
  • yardstick
  • pencil
  • cotton piping (equal to measurement of pillow form diameter)
  • coordinating all-purpose cotton thread
  • needle

Cut Fabric

Measure and mark fabric to dimensions of pillow form, plus a 1/2-inch seam allowance on all four sides. For example: If the pillow is 16 x 16 inches, the fabric should measure 17 x 17 inches. Cut two identical fabric pieces for the front and back of the pillow. Cut piping long enough to fit around pillow diameter (for example: 64 inches for a 16 x 16-inch pillow form). Cut piece of fabric to cover welt to two inches wide by length of piping. If necessary, sew two ends of fabric strips with right sides together to make one continuous piece.

Make Piping

Wrap fabric around cotton piping, with right side facing out (Image 1). Use zipper foot on sewing machine to sew piping (Image 2).

Assemble Pillow Cover

Place fabric squares right sides together with pattern facing the same way (Image 1). Insert custom piping, making sure raw edges are facing the same direction (Image 2). Pin all three layers together (Image 3). Using scissors, cut slits in fabric around corners to make piping lay smooth (Image 4). Leave gap at bottom of pillow unpinned (Image 5). Tip: If working with stripes or plaids, cut fabric so pattern will line up when sewn together.

Sew Cover

Sew together all pinned areas, removing pins as you go. Note: Be sure to leave unpinned gap unsewn so pillow form can be inserted.

Insert Form

Trim threads and turn pillow cover right side out. Insert pillow form (Image 1). Gently pull pillow form into position so it fills all four corners of the cover. Pinch gap in pillow together and pin closed (Image 2). Using needle and thread, sew it closed by hand (Image 3). Trim threads and your finished pillow is ready to use. Tip: While most designers favor down- and feather-filled pillow forms for interior spaces, polyfill is ideal for outdoor use because the polyester fiber absorbs less moisture and dries faster. Although this pillow is made for outdoor use, bringing it in during heavy rains and winter months will extend its life.

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