Around these parts, Summer and early Fall are prime time for outdoor concerts. Seating for these events is usually just the grassy slopes of a natural amphitheater. You gotta have something to sit on. A blanket is often too big and rather bulky to pack in. Instead, try this lightly padded, roll-up cushion in two great outdoor fabrics. It’s filled with foam, which your bottom will like, and the outdoor fabric is weather and water resistant, which your pretty white summer pants will like.
Our thanks to our friends at fabric.com for providing the great Waverly Sun N Shade fabrics for this project. Our original fabric selections are not currently in stock, but there are many more options from which to choose. For more information on choosing outdoor fabrics, take a look at our tutorial on the subject.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Magnolia 7360)
- Walking Foot: optional, but helpful to sew through the multiple layers
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 54″ wide outdoor fabric in a print: we used Waverly Sun N Shade Sundial Citrine from fabric.com
- 2 yards of 54″ wide outdoor fabric in a print: we used Waverly Sun N Shade Stripe Ensemble Citrine from fabric.com
NOTE: These particular fabrics are currently out-of-stock at Fabric.com, but there are lots of alternatives from which to choose.
- Coats Outdoor Living Thread in color to match fabrics
- 2 yards of 1″ thick x 27″ wide Nu-Foam®
NOTE: Nu-Foam® is mildew resistant and won’t yellow or disintegrate so it’s great for outdoor use.
- 4 D-rings
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Fabric pencil or marking pen
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Straight pins
- Iron and ironing board
- Cut a 28″ x 72″ rectangle from the print fabric. Fussy cut to center the pattern.
- Cut a 28″ by 72″ rectangle from the striped fabric. Fussy cut to center the stripes.
- From the remaining striped fabric, fussy cut THREE strips 3¼” wide x 72″ long, centering a stripe on each strip.
- There should be no need to trim the Nu-Foam®; it is already to 27″ x 72″. It’s important it fits tight into the cushion cover to maintain a smooth look. However, if you struggle with the length at all on the very last seam (step #20 below), you can trim off a bit prior to folding in the cover’s raw edges and stitching closed.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Press in ½” along both sides of each strip.
- Fold each strip in half (so they are now 36″) wrong sides together, matching the pressed edges.
- Topstitch close to the edge, starting at the raw end, stitching the length of the strip, pivoting at the fold, stitching across the folded edge, pivoting again, and stitching along the length of the remaining side.
- Each of the three strips will now be a double layer with a finished end and an unfinished end.
- From one strip, cut a 28″ section, starting at the unfinished end. Discard the remainder of the strip. This section will be used as the handle.
- From each of the remaining two strips, cut a 3″ section, again measuring from the unfinished end.
- These 3″ sections will hold the D-rings, and the remaining sections with the finished ends are the straps.
- We used our fabric to plan placement of the handle and straps so the stripe of the straps matched the fabric’s stripes. Your fabric may be slightly different; we’ve also included approximate measurements so you can best match placement on your fabric.
- Lay your striped 28″ x 72″ rectangle flat on your work surface, right side up.
- Position the raw edge of each strap along the vertical stripe closet to each side of the rectangle (or approximately 4″ from each side). Pin in place so the raw edge of the strap is flush with the raw end of the rectangle.
- Insert each end of the handle under each strap at a 90˚ angle 3″ up from the raw edge. The handle should insert under the strap almost all the way; leave it just about ¼” short of the opposite folded edge of the strap to conceal the handle’s raw edge. The handle will bow in the middle, which allows it to be, well… a handle. Pin the straps and handle securely.
- Topstitch the strap in place, following your previous stitch line. Stitch from the raw edge, stopping at the top seam line of the handle, pivot, stitch across the strap, pivot again, and follow the stitch line down the other side to the opposite raw edge.
- Return to the bottom seam line of the handle and stitch another horizontal line as well as an “X” to reinforce the strap at the point of the handle.
- Repeat to attach the second strap.
- Slip each 3″ section of strap through two D rings and fold in half with the unfinished ends matching. Pin in place over the topstitched raw end of each strap with unfinished ends matching. Machine baste in place.
- Place the 28″ x 72″ print rectangle over the striped rectangle, right sides together and with all raw sides matching.
- Stitch together along both sides and the strap end, using a ½” seam allowance. Leave the plain end opposite the straps open. Turn right side out through this open end.
NOTE: A waking foot will help keep all your fabric layers from shifting.
- Push out all the corners so they are nice and sharp and pull out the loops with the D-rings.
- Insert the Nu-Foam®.
- Fold under the open end ½” pin securely, matching the folded edges. Topstitch closed.
- To roll up the mat, start at the end opposite the straps. Roll tightly, smoothing as you go. Secure by inserting the strap through both D rings then back through a single D ring. Cinch to tighten.
- Grab the handle and head out for Summer Fun.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation, Pattern Design and Instructional Outline: Michele Mishler