Our mud room transformation did not feel complete until it had this “fun with a bright pop of teal” bench cushion. I really love the fabric I found for the cushion. It was a happy accident. I was at the Joanns fabric store looking at outdoor fabrics (with a 50% off coupon in my pocket), but I did not find any that I liked enough to buy even at half off. On my way out I saw the utility fabrics out of the corner of my eye and noticed a few had prints. I thought maybe there was some more outdoor fabrics stashed there. Well, they were actually olefin fabrics designed for making reusable shopping bags. If you look really close at the above picture you can see the tell tale perforations. I figured if they are durable enough for grocery bags, then they could probably hold up just fine in my mud room. It was only $2.99. The print I chose was a light color and somewhat transparent, so I knew I wanted to line or double-up the fabric on my cushion. I bought double the yardage I needed, but the price was still great.
I really love the typographic print and all the symbols. It references a lot of grocery terms, since it is for making reusable grocery bags. Our mud room is just off the kitchen and pantry so the print seemed to fit. Of course the second I saw the mediterranean blue piping my heart skipped a beat, but teal and brown are also a great modern color combo. The teal pops with the tan/brown fabric and gives it some personality. To get the full pop effect I needed the piping around all edges on top and bottom of the cushion. It required 6 packages of piping at $2.99 each.
I bought the foam cushion at Hancock fabrics when it was 40% off. The foam is so pricey, especially the 2-4″ slabs. When I saw the prices I was happy to settle for a 1″ slab. I really could not justify anything more for a mud room bench. The 24″ x 72″ slab was about $27 after the 40% coupon. The total cost for the foam, fabric, and piping was under $50 (great fabric find and coupons were key)!
Here is my complete how to for making a box cushion with contrast piping:
- Foam (large enough for bench)
- Thread to match piping color
- Cut foam to size. My slab was 24 x 72″, but my bench was 18 x 83″. I cut the slab to the 18″ width and then used the leftover to add length to each end to make it 83″ long. My mom carefully whipstitched the foam pieces together.
- Cut all fabric pieces to size. In my case I doubled the fabric to ensure the foam would not show through. So I cut 4 pieces of fabric 19″ x 84″. Two pieces were for the bottom and two for the top. The extra inch is for the seam allowance. I also cut 2 inch strips for the sides (more on that in step 5).
- Piece together the piping into one long strip. This is really easy to do:
- Open the seam at the ends of two pieces of piping. Expose about one inch of the inner cording. Open the fabric out flat.
- Pin the two pieces of opened fabric right sides together.
- Sew a seam to join the fabric. I think it is easiest to do this straight across with matching thread (I used white so you could see stitching in pictures). The proper way is probably to make the seam diagonal (similar to how I joined the fabric strips in step 6), but with such small piping I do not think the seams are noticeable either way.
- Fold the newly joined fabric over the cording. The two pieces of cording should touch, but not overlap. If they do trim off the excess. Now re-sew a seam to encase the cording in the fabric.
- Layer the two top pieces of fabric. Pin the piping around the edges on the right side of the fabric. The seam allowance on the piping will line up with edge of fabric. The cording will be toward the inside. Turn the piping at a 90 degree angle at the corners. Snip into the seam allowance if necessary to help it turn the corners. Use the longest stitch on your sewing machine to baste the piping to the fabric. Overlap piping at ends to finish off. Repeat on the fabric for the bottom of the cushion.
- Unless you bought a lot of yardage, it is likely you will have to piece fabric strips together to go around the sides of your whole cushion. I used the longest lengths of my leftover fabric and cut many 2 inch strips. To double mine up and go all the way around the cushion, I needed more than 400″ in length. To get one long continuous strip you need to piece it together:
- To make the seams less noticeable, you want them to be diagonal. Line up you fabric as shown in the picture below. The two pieces should form a 90 degree angle with right sides together.
- Sew across the diagonal and trim the excess corner off at a diagonal leaving about 1/4″ seam allowance.
- Press your seams open.
- Repeat until all your strips are joined.
- With the front of your top fabric right side up, lay your two inch strip right side down on top of the piping. Line up the edges and pin all the way around. The piping will be sandwiched in-between the fabric.
- Use a zipper foot and sew as closely to the cording part of the piping as possible. Put the edge of the zipper foot right next to the cording. Use your finger to feel where the cording is to help guide it. This will be your finished seam. You want to sew right along the cording, so the piping looks crisp. Guide your fabric carefully and go slowly if you need to. Be extra careful around the corners. When I was done I went back and sewed diagonally at the corners to ensure my stitching was close to the cording and the corners would look sharp.
- Pin the right side of the other edge of the side fabric to the right side of the bottom fabric. The piping will be sandwiched in between. Repeat step 7 to complete the cushion, but only sew around 3 sides and leave one short side open.
- Insert the foam through the short side. This may take a little wrestling. It is like putting on a really, long tight pillowcase.
- Hand-stitch the end closed. I am not good at “stitching in the ditch”, so my mom did it for me. This olefin covered cushion will wipe up easily with a damp cloth, so I did not need the cover to be removable for washing. You may want to make the cover removable if your fabric will require frequent washing.