How to Upholster a Chaise Lounge

Updated June 18, 2018

Many times just adding new upholstery to your patio furniture, such as a chaise longue, is all you need to add some new flare. There's no need to purchase a new chaise longue when you can just reupholster the cushions. Also, making your own cushions will probably be cheaper than buying new ones, and you get to add your own personality to the job. If you can operate a sewing machine and can stitch a straight line, you can upholster your chaise longue. Here are some tips to get you started.

Take measurements of the width, depth and length of the old cushions, if you have them. Many times if the chaise longue has been sitting outside in the elements, you'll need to replace the foam inserts. If the old cushions are in good shape, you can still use them for this new project by reupholstering them. If you don't have the cushions, measure the area of the chair where the cushions will be. For instance, if your chair is 6 feet long by 24 inches wide, you'll need to purchase a foam insert that's the same size, with approximately a 3 to 4 inch allowance for depth. It's your own personal choice whether you want to remove the old upholstery or cover over it with the new fabric. If it's old and weather worn, it's probably best you remove it.

Write down how much fabric you will need to upholster the cushions with. Take into account you will have at least 1 to 2-inch seams and the thickness of the cushion. Otherwise, you'll end up with a piece of fabric that's long and wide enough, but won't be able to cover the sides of the cushion. For instance, if your cushion is 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 4 inches for the depth of the sides, you'll need to purchase a piece of fabric that each piece will be 6 feet 4 inches long by 2 feet 4 inches wide. This measurement is taking into account the 4-inch depth measurement, as well as the seam allowance for both panels. You will need to have two fabric panels for each cushion. Remember, it's always better to have a little more fabric than not enough.

Purchase your fabric to upholster the cushions in. You should be able to find what you are looking for at a local fabric store. Take into consideration that if the chaise longue is going to be living outside, you might want to spend a few extra dollars and purchase an outdoor fabric. This type of fabric is generally water resistant, has resistance to the sun and is quite durable. You'll be surprised at all the different styles you can find in outdoor fabric. Drapery fabric or a heavy duty fabric will work, but the durability of fabric made specifically for outdoor use, can't be beat.

Purchase your foam rubber insert material for your chaise longue, if you aren't using the old cushions. Most fabric stores sell it from rolls and in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. You should be able to find exactly what you're looking for. Since it's sold by the yard, you'll be able to buy only what you'll need. You may have to cut the cushions yourself, unless the store will do it for you. Make sure you have a durable pair of scissors or knife that will be able to cut through the foam's thickness. Before you begin cutting the foam, measure the area to be cut and mark it with a marker on both sides of the foam. This will be your cutting pattern you'll follow once you start making your cut on the foam and will help in keeping your cutting line straight.

Cut your foam rubber to the desired size and do the same with your fabric that's going to cover them. Turn the fabric with the right sides together and pin them together along the sides. Stitch a 1-inch seam on three sides, leaving the fourth side open. Turn the cushion right side out. Repeat this process until all the cushions and coverings are complete.

Slip the foam insert into the cover. Fold the raw edges of the unfinished side inside towards the cushion making sure to pull the fabric so you have a tight fit. Pin together. You should now end up with a clean looking, unsewn edge, as the unfinished side is now neatly turned inside. Sew this last side together. If you have trouble doing this with the sewing machine, you can hand sew this last seam, making sure to make small, tight stitches. Remove the pins. You now should end up with a cushion that has all four sides of the upholstery sewn together. Your upholstered cushions are now ready for your chaise longue.


Use these same tips if desiring to cover the cushions on your other chairs.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric
  • Foam Rubber
  • Sewing Machine
  • Heavy Duty Sewing Needle
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
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About the Author

For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.