Cover a Foam Pad..Bench Seat…Final Steps

This is Part 3 in a series on how to cover a foam pad for a bench seat or cushion, the final steps.

Note: If you missed Part 1, click here to find the instructions for How to Cover a Foam Pad Bench Seat Cover. If you missed Part 2, that was the How To Make Piping post.  If you didn’t put piping in your cushion, you only need to follow How To Cover a Foam Pad…Bench Seat Cushion (Part 1) and then this post (Final steps). Just ignore the instructions that have to do with piping.

Now, let’s begin where Part 1 left off…..once your piping is in, it should look like this:

photo of piping in a bench seat, Image 111, Part 3

If you did not follow the post about how to make piping, I have switched to 2 contrasting fabrics so that you can see the process easier.

***Take this piece (above), that you have stitched the piping on and lay it over the foam. If you do not have piping on your cushion fabric, just ignore the reference to it, but still follow the instructions.

The photo above shows the piping already stitched onto the main fabric of the cushion. Make sure the entire piece isn’t too big for the foam. This is the time to make any corrections if you need to. You sure don’t want to have to rip the whole thing out and start over. It is ok if the fabric piece is a bit too small for the foam. That will make the cushion have a nice snug fit. But, you don’t want this piece to be too big because the cushion will look saggy in the final stage and you don’t want your cushion to look baggy or saggy.

If it is too big, take off all of the piping using a seam ripper. Then, figure out how much larger the seam allowances should be and then resew it on. In other words, you may need to move the piping in closer to the middle of the fabric all the way around the piece. Pin it first and see if the adjustment you are making is adequate. Make the same adjustment to the bottom piece.

Sew the piping back on to each piece.

Next, you are going to sew on the narrow strip that goes all around the cushion middle and covers the height of the cushion (or the thickness of it).

Take that narrow strip that will go all the way around the cushion and lay it right sides together on top of the piping. Leave about 3 inches free (or loose) before you start sewing. See photo below. Begin sewing in an area that is not close to a corner of your project. There are three reasons I do not start at a corner of the project.

First, it is too difficult to join the seams at a corner. Second, it looks too bulky to have the joining at the corner and third, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing to see the seams at a corner. If you look at any professionally made pillows or cushions, the seams are not in the corners. If there is a definite front and back to the item you are making, be sure to start on the back of the project so that this seam will be hidden.

I have turned the seam sideways in the photo below, so you can see where I began sewing:

image 112, adding the cushion strip over the piping.

Use a binding foot or a zipper foot if you have piping. In the photo above, I used a zipper foot. When using a zipper foot, make sure and position the needle to the far left or the far right of the zipper foot. If you keep the needle in the middle position, the needle will break when the machine starts to sew because the needle will hit the metal below.

If you don’t have piping, you can use a regular stitching foot.

Stitch all the way around the cushion and stop when you get about 3 inches away from the end. Grab the two ends of fabric and pinch them until they meet and put a pin in that spot like this photo below:

image 114, pinch edges of the middle strip together, Part 3 bench seat cushion

Now, stitch straight across the narrow strip as shown:

image 115, seam straight across middle strip, part 3 bench seat cover

Trim off the excess seam allowance to 1/2″. Open the seam and spread it flat. It won’t be necessary to press the seam open. You can use your fingernail to “press” it if you need to.

Then stitch the remainder of the seam closed:

close up seam on seat cushion, part 3, image 116

This is how it should look from the right side:

image 117, part 3, bench seat cushion, look from the right side of the middle strip

Now, you’re going to stitch the bottom piece of the cushion to this narrow strip. This time, make sure you pin it all the way around the edges to make sure they meet up well.

****Make sure your corners are matched at the correct points. This is the most important step of the entire project!! If your corners are not lined up well from top to bottom, the whole cushion will be lopsided and crooked. You will be pinning the bottom piece across the middle strip from the top piece, so you can see where the top corner is and match the bottom from there. It is not difficult, but you want to get it right the fist time, before you sew!!

Stitch all the way around the cushion leaving a wide enough area open to put the foam inside.

Turn the cushion right side out and make sure everything looks good and that your seams didn’t “catch” anywhere.

Once it looks good, turn it wrong side out again. Stitch right over the first seam using the zipper foot or piping foot again. This will reinforce your first stitches and make a stronger seam.

This is how it should look from the wrong side:

image 119, part 3 middle strip, wrong side, part 3 bench seat cover

This is how it will look from the right side:

image 118, part 3 bench seat cover, middle strip, right side view

(I’m going back to showing you the original cushion fabric and photos that I made for my neighbor since the gold and red fabrics in the above photos were just samples for you to better see the actual sewing.)

Next, you will need to put the foam inside the cushion. Because my cushion was so long, this was a two person job. My husband inserted the foam into the cushion. Notice the cushion is still wrong side out. When he pushed the foam all the way into the cushion and lined up the corners, my job was to reach into the cushion and hold those two corners and the foam together while he turned the cushion fabric right side out, over the foam:

034, shimmy-ing fabric over the foam for bench seat cushion, part 3

Just keep working the fabric by pulling and adjusting it over the piece of foam:

035, turning fabric over bench seat foam, part 3 bench seat cushion

When you have it turned all the way, and you like how it fits the foam, you’ll need to hand stitch the opening closed with a needle and thread:

037, hand stitch the cushion closed, part 3 bench seat cushion

You’re finished!

That’s all there is to it. It’s not difficult, it just takes a few extra steps to get a professional looking cushion. Let me know in the comments down below if you have any questions.

paisley foam pad cover, 040