How to Reupholster a Patio Seat Cushion

Patio chairs, benches and couches often have cushions, much like indoor furniture.

Patio furniture must withstand moisture and sunlight.Patio furniture must withstand moisture and sunlight.
Because patio furniture is left outside, the fabric tends to wear out faster due to the weather and direct sunlight. It is a good idea to reupholster the furniture cushions when the fabric changes color, starts to fray or comes apart at the seams. The first step to reupholstering your patio cushions is to examine all of your cushions since you should reupholster them in a set at the same time.

Remove the patio furniture cushion. Use your seam ripper, X-acto knife and scissors to take apart the current cushion cover at the seams. Often this will result in two large square pieces of fabric (top and bottom) and one long thin piece of fabric (wraps around the sides). Set the cushion aside.

Lay your new fabric face down. Position your old fabric face down to use as a pattern. Pin the old fabric to the new fabric and cut out your pieces with scissors. Remove your pins.

Lay one square piece of fabric face up on your work surface. Find the center of one side. Place your long, thin fabric face down so that the outer edge begins at the center of one side and is even with the outer edge of the square. Pin all the way around the square fabric 1/2 inch from the edge. This is your seam allowance. Sew the two piece of fabric together all the way around the square fabric. Miter your corners. Sew a seam joining the ends of the thin piece of fabric.

Lay your second square piece of fabric face up on your work surface. Find the thin piece of fabric seam in the section you already sewed. It should be halfway along one side. This side of your finished cushion will face the back of the chair. Position the already sewn fabric face down and align the corners. Pin the fabric 1/2 inch from the outer edge of the fabrics at each corner. Make sure your corners line up properly.

Pin your square fabric to your thin fabric all the way around the square except for the side where the thin fabric is seamed. Leave this open to stuff your cushion. Miter your corners and sew 3/4 of your way around your square. Invert your new cushion cover.

Cut mildew-resistant batting the size of the top of your cushion. Spray fabric adhesive on the top of your cushion and press your batting into place. Insert your refreshed cushion into the cushion cover. Use needle and thread to hand-sew the back seam closed.

Things You Will Need

  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Upholstery fabric
  • Pins
  • Mildew-resistant batting
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread and needle


  • Tuck your cushion into the corners of your new cover so that it fills the cover smoothly.

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.