DIY Bench Seat Cushion Cover Tutorial (with Elastic)

Follow this easy step-by-step tutorial to create an elastic DIY bench seat cushion cover for your home.

Elastic fitted cushion cover for bench seat tutorial

Check out this DIY bench seat cushion cover tutorial and learn how easy it is to make cushions for a bench.

A 9-foot bench seat in my office sat bare for years. I originally envisioned a beautiful corded cushion cover with a zipper. That sounded nice, but this is big and long, and quite frankly, the thought of making it overwhelmed me.

I could not move forward and put off this project for years.

Finally, I came up with a shortcut.

Why I Love This Project

I love this quick and easiest way to cover a cushion insert. The shortcut is an elastic fabric cover, like a fitted sheet. Refresh an old cover or decorate a brand-new furniture piece from scratch.

It is a wonderful alternative to a full-blown zippered DIY cushion cover. The construction may not sound as fancy, but the result looks quite close to the deluxe version. The result has a clean, nice finish.

More importantly, if you are a beginner at sewing, you will feel more comfortable tackling it.

An elastic cover can be easily removed for washing, which makes it kid and dog-friendly. It’s easier to put on and remove, too!

Discover more beginner sewing projects and diy projects here.

Elastic fitted cushion cover for bench seat tutorial

As you can see, this works great on a window seat, but this method also works well to create a custom cushion for almost any bench you have.

Most free-standing benches, such as a piano, garden, outdoor cushions, boat, RV, or church pew, will work. You get the idea!

It does work best with a firm, thicker foam cushion. I would not recommend anything flimsy and less than 3 inches high.

This shortcut also works well for chair cushions with a box shape or a cushion dog bed.

Find ideas for No Sew Projects here.

An orange floral window seat cushion from the post, How to Make Cushions for a Bench.

Materials Needed

Below are the sewing supplies you will need for the project. (affiliate links included)

Decorator Fabric
Foam Cushion 4 to 5 inches high
Flat Elastic 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch wide
Matching Thread
Sewing Scissors
A Sewing Machine
Sewing Pins

Straight Edge or Ruler
Seam Ripper

Variations

Adding creative variations to your cushion can make it unique and personalized. Here are eight creative ideas to consider.

Color Blocking
Divide the cushion cover into sections with contrasting fabric colors or patterns. For example, choose a bold color for the front piece, back pieces, or the borders of the cushion cover, framing a complementary color in the center.

Contrasting Piping
Introduce contrasting piping along the straight seams. This adds a pop of color and a decorative edge to your cushion cover.

Patchwork, Embroidery or Appliqué
Create a design using different fabric scraps, embroider a pattern, or add appliqué to the cover. This personalized touch can turn a simple cover into a work of art.

Button Tufting
Incorporate button tufting by adding fabric-covered buttons at regular intervals. This not only looks stylish but also adds a bit of cushioning.

Tassel or Fringe Detail
Attach tassels or fringe to the front corners or edges of the cover for a playful and bohemian look. Choose colors that complement your decor.

Painted or Stenciled Design
Paint or stencil a design onto the fabric. This allows you to customize the cover with your favorite patterns or motifs.

A craft and sewing room.

How much Fabric is Needed

See the cushion cover pattern drawing below to help determine the total fabric pieces you need for a bench cushion.

First, measure the width (A) and length or long sides (B) of the top surface of the cushion. In addition, measure the depth of your cushion.

Take that number and multiply it by 2.5. (Depth in Inches x 2.5 = C) Add this number (C) to the measurements on all four sides around the rectangle.

Now, you are ready to add up the numbers that equal your fabric dimensions. Your rectangle of fabric width will be C+A+C. The fabric length will be C+B+C. This will be in inches.

Drawing Instructions to sew a DIY bench seat cushion cover

Buying Fabric

Next, the fun part is finding some new fabric you love! Fabric is such a beautiful addition to any room. There are so many creative ways to incorporate it.

Consider customizing furniture like benches, chairs, bar stools, or ottomans. Check out these project tutorials: bench seats, chairs, stools, ottomans, or bed skirts.

Add a set of DIY throw pillow covers or envelope pillow covers to match.

When you are ready to shop, make sure to consider where it will be, how often your seat cushion cover will get used, and how much traffic it will get.

You will have so many options both in color and different prints. Next, choose your type of fabric; there are indoor options as well as outdoor fabrics (waterproof fabric properties), such as the Sunbrella fabric brand.

A safe and reasonably priced option is mid-weight cotton. I found mine at hobbylobby.com.

You can also buy decorator fabrics at other shops, big and small, or online.

I’ve listed some great options below.

spoonflower.com
joann.com
SR Harris in Minnesota

Other craft supplies stores and resources

Instructions

Let’s get started! Below are step-by-step instructions to make your cushion cover.

Cut the Fabric

Once you have the fabric home, you’ll want to pre-wash it. Depending on how you will typically care for it, air-dry or machine-dry.

It is important to have any shrinkage happen before you start sewing because if you don’t, the seat cushion cover may not fit properly after washing.

Now, on a protected flat surface, cut the piece of fabric based on your measurements.

Instructions for how to make cushions for a bench.

1 Lay your cut fabric down on your work surface with the right side down. Center the cushion on top of the cut fabric. With a straight edge or just eyeballing it.

2 Cut the corner square out/off of your fabric.

3 Next, cut the remaining three corners too.

Start to Sew

Time to sew! Let’s do one corner at a time.

Step by step instructions for how to sew and make a bench seat cushion cover

Make the Corner Pockets

4 After cutting the “squares” out of each corner, fold each corner into itself by bringing the right sides of the fabric (newly cut edges) together.

Now, pin and sew each of the four corners (corner side seams) closed with a straight stitch to create “pockets.” Trim each seam allowance down to 1/8″.

5 Time for a little bit of ironing. Make sure to set your iron to the correct heat for your fabric type.

On each of the four corners, press the seam allowance to one side, from the right and wrong side of the fabric, to ensure the seam is laying nice and flat.

6 When you are done sewing and pressing each corner, insert each into your sewing machine, one at a time.

From the outside/right side, sew closely to the gutter on top of the seam allowance to finish. Doesn’t that look nice? So professional.

Instructions photos for how to make cushions for a bench.

7 Insert your foam cushion into the cushion cover and lay it on your work surface upside down.

We want to ensure that all the fabric tails on the bottom of the cushion are fairly equal.

Sometimes, they are already perfect, but if you are like me, they are always slightly off! Does this only happen to me?

8 Trim any sides that are uneven or unnecessarily long, but don’t overdo it.

We need some length to hold onto the cushion!

Note: A couple of readers found it helpful to add bands across the center on the bottom to help hold the cushion on more securely.

Sew in the Elastic

9 Press a 1/4 inch fold under, all the way around the raw edge of the fabric cover.

It’s time for elastic. You’ll need to use a zigzag stitch because it will stretch with your elastic, not break like a straight stitch.

Set your machine to zigzag and the stitch length to 2.5mm.

On the underside of the fabric, place the elastic over the raw edge of the fabric that you had folded and pressed earlier.

The elastic will cover up and protect the raw edge so it does not fray as much over time.

Pick a starting point. Stitch forward and back a short distance to reinforce the stitch.

Pull the incoming elastic straight as much as you can as you sew on top of the elastic.

Sew all the way around to your starting point. After that, sew back and forth over the spot you started to secure again.

10 Nice work! Your cushion cover is ready!

Foam Insert

Next up is the foam cushion. This is where most of your cost will come in.

They are kinda pricey, but the good news is you can recover and reuse them for years!

There are many cushion options, but for this type of elastic cover, you will need something with a little more heft and weight to “hold” onto the cover without curling up and caving in.

I am using a 4-inch depth piece of foam for my bench seat cushion cover, but I think a 2- 3-inch depth would also work if the fabric is not too heavy.

Cover the Foam Cushion with Batting

Batting is optional, but it will soften the square edges of the cushion.

Most importantly, it gives the finished cushion soft and smooth finished edges and improves the overall look.

You’ll need to cut the batting to fit and wrap around the foam on the top, front, and back. In other words, you do not need to cover the bottom of the foam.

I also used my sewing scissors for this, and it worked great.

After you have cut the batting to fit, smooth it and stretch it to fit over the cushion. It stretches and forms very easily.

Secure it with a spray adhesive like Scotch Super 77 (affiliate link). This adhesive holds the batting in place.

As a result, it’s much easier to put the cover on, and everything is more secure when the cushion is in use.

Wrapping a Foam Cushion with batting for making cushions for a bench.

Finishing Up

For the last step, you may want to do a final pressing of the cushion cover before you put it on the newly wrapped foam. It should be as easy as making a bed. Wa-La new cushions. Done!

A floral window seat cushion from the post, How to Make Cushions for a Bench.

FAQ

How thick should a bench seat cushion be?

A standard recommendation is a foam thickness ranging from 2 to 4 inches for indoor benches and up to 5 inches for outdoor benches. However, the ideal thickness for a bench seat cushion depends on your personal preference, the bench’s design, and its intended length of use.

How much fabric do I need to cover a bench cushion?

The amount of fabric needed to cover a bench cushion depends on the dimensions of the bench and the desired style of the cover. As a general guideline, measure the cushion’s length, width, and thickness, adding extra seam allowances. The formula for a basic rectangular cushion is often 2 times the length plus 2 times the width, plus the extra for seams. Additional fabric may be required if the fabric has a pattern or specific direction. Consult employees at a fabric store or use online calculators for a more accurate estimate.

Do you need batting for bench cushion?

Using batting in a bench cushion is optional and depends on personal preference and the desired appearance of the cushion. Batting can prevent slippage, add a nice layer of softness, and smooth out the overall look of the cushion by providing a uniform fill. It is placed between the fabric cover and the foam insert to create a more luxurious feel. However, some may prefer a firmer support without batting.

What kind of foam do you use for a bench cushion?

For a comfortable bench cushion, it’s recommended to use high-density foam such as polyurethane foam. It provides optimal support and durability, ensuring the cushion maintains its shape and comfort over time. Choose a foam with a density of at least 1.8 pounds per cubic foot for a balance of comfort and longevity.

Expert Tips

Here are seven tips to help you create a professional-looking cushion cover.

Accurate Measurements
Take precise measurements of your bench seat cushion. Ensure you accurately measure the length, width, and thickness for a snug fit.

Quality Fabric
Choose a durable and washable fabric for the cover. Cotton or linen blends work well.

Seam Allowances
Allow for proper seam allowances to avoid a too-tight or too-loose fit. A 1/2-inch to 1-inch seam allowance is generally appropriate.

Pre-wash Fabric
Remember to pre-wash your fabric to account for any shrinkage before cutting and sewing. This helps prevent the cover from becoming too tight after the first wash.

Pattern Alignment

Pay attention to the fabric’s print or pattern alignment, especially if your fabric has a distinct design. Ensure it aligns correctly on all sides for a polished look.

Double Stitching
Reinforce stress points and seams with double stitching to enhance the cover’s durability, especially around the elastic casing.

Test Fit
Before finishing the entire cover, test the fit on the cushion. Adjust the elastic tension to achieve a snug fit without being too tight.

Related Projects

Find more cushion and pillow cover tutorials via the links below.

DIY Cushion Cover for Chair
Tutorial for Chair Cushion

DIY Pillow with Border Flange
Tutorial for Envelope Pillow
Painted Pillows
Christmas Pillow Covers
Initial Monogram Pillow Tutorial

Colorful flower fabric fitted cushion cover on a bench window seat

I hope you enjoyed learning this quick way to make new cushion covers for a bench. Please let me know if you make one.☺️

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to subscribe or follow me on social media for more inspiration!
xo,
Cindy

52 comments on “DIY Bench Seat Cushion Cover Tutorial (with Elastic)

  1. Hello thank yiu for your tutorial . I am attempting to make the seat cover .. I noticed in the comments that you mention this ” The tightness of the elastic could be a part of it. Next time, it might also help to have a deeper “lip” underneath. I might try a casing for the elastic also, instead of sewing it in. Then threading the elastic and tightening as needed. I’ll make a post when I do it!”. Do you have instructions for how to make it with a casing instead of zigzagging the elastic! Thank you Gina

    1. Hi Gina, I’m sorry I have not done a new one yet! If you want to try, fold the edges under about an inch and stitch them closed so it creates a casing. Then thread a cord through, all the way around, and gather to tighten. Tie shut. I think it would work great. 🙂

          1. Hi Cindy. I wanted to let you know that I finished my seat over making a casing for the elastic instead of zigzagging it to the fabric. It was super easy and came out great and fit perfectly. I also did the optional step of wrapping in batting (adhered batting to foam as directed) .. that was definitely a great add to the comfort and softness. I used ‘minky’ fabric for the cover. I’d love to include picture of the outcome but can’t figure out how to do that. Thank you for this excellent tutorial .. I am a beginner and could follow it perfectly. ❤️

          2. Gina that is awesome! Thank you so much for letting me know. 🙂
            Unfortunately, the site does not have the capability to add a pic, but I will work on that so you can share it w everyone!

  2. Made a cushion years ago with zipper so could be washed (kids room). It is still beautiful but ton of work. I like your way so much better. If I need again I’m following your pattern!

  3. I followed your instructions to the ‘T’. Easy peasy and pleased. I shall do 2 more as the cushion is our 5th wheel dine booth. And since I cannot re-arrange furniture well…you got it. Thank you so much. I shall make a cover for the couch for makeover days also.
    Thank you.

  4. Wow, I can just give you a BIG hug. I love this idea. Never would have thought to make the cover for a window seat, like a fitted sheet. Genius! Thank you so much for sharing

    1. Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that! 🤔 Without seeing your project, I’m not sure if these ideas will work, but I have a couple of thoughts. Some have found straps sewn across the center can help for long cushions. And I just had this new idea; You could buy a pack of wider elastic to run the length of the cushion on both sides. Sew these two strips from corner to corner, on top of the existing elastic, stretching the new elastic as much as possible. This could cinch it up more without tearing apart what you’ve done?

        1. Thank you so much, Kathy! 🙂 I would purchase elastic, the length of the perimeter of your cushion. This will ensure you have enough. (You will have a little waste, but it’s hard for me to tell you precisely as so many variables exist.) Good luck!

  5. Making a window seat with a cushion, is one job I plan to do this summer. I just hope it comes out half as beautiful as yours. Thanks for sharing this fabulous post.

  6. Hi Cindy,
    I am in process of starting this project. I’ve looked at many DIY cushions for my new Ikea Kallax hack banquette and yours seems the most straightforward and well-thought out. Hey, if you don’t use batting you don’t even have to worry about the cushion sliding around because the foam itself will keep it in place!
    My question: What is the seam allowance when you’re sewing the corners – I see your instructions to trim to 1/8 inch but no seam allowance instructions. Thanks. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. Hi Ruth! Yay, I’m so excited that you are making a cushion cover! Most people use seam allowances between 1/4-5/8 inch. It is totally, always up to you. I usually decide based on the fabric (does it fray? will it be secure?) or the amount of fabric I have (will I run out?). For my cushions, I usually stay on the conservative side and use 5/8 inch for secure seams that I can count on.😁 Hope that helps. Good luck!

  7. Thank you for this! I too was overwhelmed at the thought of a full cushion cover but was relieved at finding this option. I finished my first one today, however, it is super loose., especially on the long edges. I’m thinking I misunderstood step number 8. There still seemed to be so much corner fabric. The only other thing I can think of is that I didn’t pull the elastic tight enough as I was doing the zigzag stitch. But, I pulled it pretty tight. So, I may add the back straps as your one commenter did.

    1. Hi Leah! The tightness of the elastic could be a part of it. Next time, it might also help to have a deeper “lip” underneath. I might try a casing for the elastic also, instead of sewing it in. Then threading the elastic and tightening as needed. I’ll make a post when I do it!
      The back straps are a great idea too, especially for the really long cushions. Thanks for the reminder, I will add that to the post. Thanks for sharing your experience, it takes a village! 😁

  8. Thank you so so much for this tutorial. It was so simple and easy to follow but the results are the polished professional look I was hoping for! It was so easy to make I am probably going to turn into the person who has many different covers based on the season. Thank you!

    1. Emily, you just made my day! I am so glad that you could understand the instructions easily and best of all, you had success! Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    1. Hi Laura! There are 2 ways you could go here. The first & easier approach would be to follow the original instructions, but before sewing in the elastic, you could “try it on” over your insert. If the corners are too baggy you could take additional fabric “in” on the corners.
      OR… For a better fit, you could cut 2 pieces. 1) Cut your top fabric piece to match your cushions top, curved corners & all (plus a seam allowance). 2) Next cut one long strip (or joined strips), plus a seam allowance for the total height (the sides & portion that wraps around the bottom edge of the cushion.) Then with right sides together, sew the top piece to the side piece, all the way around. Close the side piece in the back if possible so it does not show. Now just continue to sew in the elastic.
      Hope that makes sense!? Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

  9. Cindy, could you please share where you purchased the foam cushion for this project, or recommend a good resource.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Marilyn, I bought the Airtex High-Density Foam from JoAnn Fabrics. It looks like it is still available in 3, 4, and 5-inch heights. Hope that helps.☺️ Let me know if you make a cushion cover!

  10. Hi
    Followed your tutorial and it was easy-peasy to understand. Thanks much, I am making covers for my recliner fabric sofas and want them to fit like a glove.

    Thanks so much
    Suwarna

  11. Thanks for the tutorial, very instructive. I am not sure if I missed how to measure the elastic or it is not in there. Please advise me how to measure the elastic, Many thanks.

    1. Hi Amal! The length of your elastic will depend on your cushion and how far your fabric will wrap around underneath your foam insert. To be safe, I would purchase enough to go around the perimeter of your unfinished ends. See photo number 7, for reference. You will be stretching the elastic as you sew, so you technically you will need even less. Hope this helps!

  12. Thank you so much for giving us the option of adding elastic to a seat cover. I would not have thought of that! I absolutely love your “she space”! It’s beautiful and the colors are perfect!

  13. I just made this for a bench for the waiting area of my office. It worked great, but the sides of mine kind of gapped away from the cushion instead of having a nice clean line. I think I cut the fabric a little too narrow (I was working with a fabric piece just barely big enough for the foam), so I just added three pieces of elastic across the back of the cushion to pull the edges in taut. It’s hard to describe, but basically the fabric is on one side, the foam is in the middle, and there are elastic straps running across the back. It’s a bit trickier to put the cover on and off, but it works, and it’s an easy enough fix. Thanks for the tutorial, and I just wanted to share in case anyone else needs to fix the same issue.

    1. Mel, thanks for sharing your experience! That sounds like the perfect solution and a great way to make the fabric smoother and more secure on the cushion. I would love to see it. I just need to figure out how people can upload their project pictures so we can all learn and enjoy.
      I’m so glad you tried the tutorial and made it work for you. Thanks!☺️

  14. Thank you for sharing this DIY project. I have used the calculations above to determine how much fabric I will require, but I am not sure how to figure out how much elastic is needed? Thank you.

    1. You are very welcome Tracey! I’m so sorry that I don’t have a perfect calculation. I would suggest measuring the outside of the cushion and my guess is that it would be approximately half of that length, due to the elastic contracting. I always err on the side of caution and buy a little extra though!

  15. I loved this tutorial! I am a pretty novice sewer. I have always had an area of my house that I wanted a bench seat and 12 years later my husband finally built it. That meant I had to actually make the cushion and cover. I was super intimidated my zippers and piping. This worked great. I ended up using a thin quilt since my seat was so large and I had a hard time finding wide enough fabric. It was perfect!

  16. Tried it, and it looks great, so far. Was thinking I might just add the elastic at the corner and see how that works

  17. Thanks for your pin! Your window seat is beautiful… However I can’t figure out from your pictures and your description how to do the corners. I sew a regular seam on the inside but then I do an outside seam as well? Do you have any close-up pictures? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Beth! Sorry that it confused you! Technically, you do not need the “outside” seam, it is just for appearance’s sake. It is a topstitch that secures and flattens the seam allowance on the flip side, and just makes it look nice on the outside. Look closely at number 6. Let me know if that makes sense? If not I can take a better photo in daylight tomorrow!

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