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.
This time of year, you can find wonderful selections of outdoor fabric both in-store and online. We had fun browsing through the offerings at Fabric.com.
For more information on choosing and caring outdoor fabrics, take a look at our tutorial on the subject.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
- Walking or Even Feed foot: optional, but helpful to sew through the multiple layers
Fabric and Other Supplies
- 2 yards of 54″+ wide outdoor fabric in a bold print
- 2 yards of 54″+ wide outdoor fabric in a coordinating bold print or stripe
- Coats Outdoor Living Thread in color to match fabrics
- 2 yards of 1″ thick x 27″ wide foam
NOTE: We used Nu-Foam®, which is mildew resistant and won’t yellow or disintegrate so it’s great for outdoor use. It is often available to be cut from a roll at your favorite retailer or ordered online in bulk. Of course, you could substitute another type of foam.
- FOUR 1″ D-rings
- All-purpose thread to match fabric; we recommend Coats Outdoor Living Thread
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors and/or rotary cutter and mat
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Cut a 28″ x 72″ rectangle from the print fabric. Fussy cut to center the motif.
- Cut a 28″ by 72″ rectangle from the second print or striped fabric. Fussy cut to center the motif or stripes.
- From the remaining striped fabric, fussy cut THREE strips 3″ wide x 72″ long. We centered a stripe on each strip.
- If necessary, trim the foam to 27″ x 72″. It’s important the foam 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 #21 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 72″ strip.
- Fold each strip in half, wrong sides together (so it is now 1″ wide) , matching the pressed edges. Then fold in half in the opposite direction so each is now 36″ in length.
- Thread the machine with thread to best match the fabric in the top and bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch.
- 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 one finished (folded) end and one unfinished/raw end.
- From one strip, cut a 28″ section, measuring from the unfinished end. Discard the remainder of that strip. This section will be used as the handle.
- From each of the two remaining strips, cut a 3″ section, again measuring from the unfinished end.
- These 3″ sections will hold the D-rings, and the remaining sections 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 outer edge of each strap approximately 4″ in from each raw side edge of the panel; as mentioned, we aligned ours with a stripe. Pin in place so the raw end 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 of the panel. The handle ends should insert under each strap almost all the way in order to fully conceal the handle’s raw edge. The handle should 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 edgestitching 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 edgestitching line down the other side to the opposite raw edge.
- Stitch an approximate 1″ X Box across each strap at the handle end to firmly secure the handle in place.
- Repeat to attach the second strap.
- Slip each 3″ section of strap through two D rings and fold in half with the raw ends matching. Pin in place over the topstitched raw end of each strap with raw ends flush with the raw end of the panel. Machine baste in place.
- Place the remaining 28″ x 72″ rectangle over the rectangle with all the straps, right sides together and with all raw sides matching.
- Stitch together along both sides and the end with the handle, using a ½” seam allowance. Leave the plain end opposite the straps open. Turn right side out through this open end.
NOTE: A Walking or Even Feed 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 foam into position through the open end.
- Fold in the raw edges along the open end so they are flush with the sewn seam. Pin securely, matching the folded edges. As mentioned above, if you have trouble closing this opening, trim off a sliver of foam to give you more fabric with which to work. 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