Summer is fast approaching and it's the perfect time to start thinking about some DIYS for the garden. As much as I love sitting outside I find that the majority of garden chairs and seats are actually really uncomfortable unless they have some kind of cushioning.
If you've ever tried searching for garden cushions then you've probably found the same as me, there are lots of nice-looking ones but they aren't always practical as they aren't water/shower proof so would get ruined at the first sight of a sprinkler or rain. The ones that are made with water-resistant fabric are expensive and tend to come in fairly plain colours and don't really have much character.
Never fear though, I have found the solution. Today we're going to look at how to make our own waterproof garden cushions!
Custom Garden Cushions
Here's what you'll need :
Waterproof fabric (I found mine on eBay)
SVG Cut File
Heat Press (I used the Cricut Easy Press Mini)
Teflon sheet or pillow
Finding a Suitable SVG File
I actually came up with this project after seeing some cute Bee SVG files and thought 'these would make awesome garden cushions'
Once you've found the design files you want to use you're going to need to go into your purchases, under your profile button at the top right of the page, and download your file/files to your computer. Check to see if any of the downloaded files need to be unzipped and then you can upload them straight to Cricut Design Space (or whatever cutting software you are using)
Sizing Your Project
My sizing for this project is dictated by the size of the cushion inserts I have, I have a whole bag full of 40cm x 40 cm cushion inserts from a previous DIY so I'm making my pattern fit that size.
I want the cushions to be quite plump so I'll actually be cutting the fabric to 38x38cm squares and I'll want a 1cm seam allowance around each edge so I can go ahead and create a 37x37cm square in Design Space to arrange my pattern around!
I decided I want to have a pattern that goes right up to the edges of my fabric so I've overlayed the honeycomb design on the square so that I can use the slice tool to get a clean line around the edge and only cut the vinyl I need for the design. I also lined up and overlapped the honeycomb SVG to give myself more of a continuous pattern.
To 'slice' a project you need to do it two layers at a time, so you highlight the one you want to slice and the shape you want to slice it with (so for me it's the honeycomb layer and the square). You can only slice two layers at a time so this can take a little while to do if you have layered multiple items like I have.
I'm also doing a pillow with a normal centred design so I can just size that so that it'll fit nicely in the middle of the cushion.
Send To Cut
Once you are happy with your design you can send it to cut. Remember to mirror your design because we're using HTV which cuts on the wrong or backside of the vinyl.
Weed Your Design
Once everything is cut, grab a cuppa and set about weeding it. Some people find weeding vinyl therapeutic but I am not one of those peoples - large bits are fine but it's the fiddly little parts that are sometimes hard to get (like the bees wings on this design) I discovered a hack though! I wrapped some sellotape around my finger and used it like a little vinyl lint roller and the tiny pieces come right off of the transfer sheet.
Let's Make Some Cushions!
First things first, let's cut our fabric to the right size. You'll need two squares of fabric cut to whatever dimensions will fit your cushion inserts. I usually cut the squares to be 2 cm smaller than my inserts and as that then gives me 1cm for a seam allowance meaning the cushions will be nice and plump in the covers.
Adding Your Designs
It's a lot easier to apply your design to the fabric before you sew it together. It means we can get the designs right to the edges of the fabric and we aren't having to mess around with any lumps and bumps in the material, plus its a lot easier to get a Teflon sheet or pressing pillow under a piece of fabric than it is inside a cushion cover (just trust me on that one).
To adhere your design to your fabric you'll need to follow the pressing instructions that came with your HTV.
I'm using the EasyPress Mini on a low heat as mine is 'quick press' HTV which is perfect when working with waterproof fabric. Waterproof fabric is plastic backed so high heats could cause it to warp, melt or stick together (which is why we do this part before it's stitched together, if you try and heat press it as a fully made cushion cover without any Teflon in between the layers you can end up with the cushion cover stuck together!)
Installing a Zip
I know that a lot of people are terrified of zips when it comes to sewing, you hear about invisible zips and lapped zips and they sound really complicated, luckily we are installing an exposed zip to this cushion as it doesn't matter too much about it being seen on the finished product. The cushion is going to be quite puffed out and the zip is installed along the bottom edge so once the whole thing is done you won't really see it!
You don't need to use a zipper foot to install a zip either, it can make it a bit easier but it's not a must. Just line your zip up with the edge of your fabric and run a straight stitch along the whole length, make sure to backstitch at the start and end to add some more strength.
This is how your finished zip install should look. See how the design sits nice and close to the edge of the zip. Don't worry if you have a bit of overhang from the zip on the edges of the fabric, these will get trimmed off once we've done the rest of the stitching.
The next step is to put the right sides together and sew along the remaining 3 edges, make sure to leave the zip a little bit open before you do this as we'll need to turn the whole thing back out the right way via the zipped section.
It can be a bit difficult to turn out the edges of the cover as the waterproof fabric can be quite stiff, if you are having problems then push it out as far as you can with your hand and then take something like the rubber end of a pencil or a biro with the cap on and use it to wiggle out the last bit of the corner.
Stuff Your Cushion!
All that's left to do now is to put your cushion insert into the cover. Make sure everything is clear of the zip before you close it as you don't want any fabric getting stuck.
The finished product looks absolutely fab (even if I do say so myself!) and is an easy way to brighten up any garden.