How to sew a bench cushion cover

Updated July 18, 2017

Whether your bench gets daily use at the dining table or serves as a catchall in your entry hall, give it a makeover by sewing a new cushion cover. Replace a faded, dated cover to update your room. If your bench is currently bare, make a cushion and cover from scratch to turn a hard, wooden bench into a comfortable place for your family to sit.

Remove the old cushion cover. Measure the cushion from side to side for the length, and from front to back for the width. Measure the height, or thickness, of the cushion. Measure the length and width of the seating area if you are making a cushion from scratch. Cut foam of any height to fit.

Cut two pieces of fabric 2.5 cm (1 inch) longer and 2.5 cm (1 inch) wider than the cushion, one for the cushion top and one for the cushion bottom. Cut them from matching fabric or choose different fabrics for the top and bottom.

Multiply the cushion length and the width by two, and then add the totals together for the cushion perimeter. Add 2.5 cm (1 inch) to the perimeter, and add 2.5 cm (1 inch) to the height. Cut a long strip of fabric to those measurements to make the boxing band for the cushion cover.

Cut two lengths of lipped cording, each three inches longer than the perimeter from Step 3. Trim the flat lip of the cording to 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) wide, if it is wider.

Fold the boxing band in half widthways, right sides together. Pin the ends together. Machine stitch the ends together with a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) seam allowance.

Pin the cording lip to the right side of the cushion top, starting at the centre of the long side that will become the back of the cushion. Align the edges as you pin. Pleat the cording lip at the corners, if necessary. Trim the cord once you have pinned all the way around to your starting point; the cut ends of the cording should butt up against each other. Place a small dot of super glue on one of the cut ends, and glue the cord together. Repeat the process with the second piece of cording and the cushion bottom.

Attach a zip foot to your sewing machine, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the cushion top on the sewing machine, cording side up. Sew the cording to the cushion top, starting at the back, where you joined the cording ends. Sew as close to the cord as you can, which leaves a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) seam allowance. Stop sewing when you reach each corner. Turn the corners with the needle in the down position, and then resume sewing until you reach the next corner. Remove each pin just before you sew over it. Repeat the process with the cushion bottom.

Pin the boxing band to the cushion top, right sides together. Keep the boxing band seam at the back, where the cording ends meet.

Place the pinned fabrics on your sewing machine, boxing band up. Sew the boxing band to the cushion top, starting at the boxing band seam at the back. Sew with a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) seam allowance, and remove the pins before you sew over them. Turn the corners with the needle down, as you did in Step 7.

Repeat Steps 8 and 9 with the boxing band and the cushion bottom, but leave an unsown opening at the back. Make the opening large enough to insert your bench cushion when's it is rolled into a tight bundle, typically 17.5 to 30 cm (7 to 12 inches).

Clip the loose threads, and then turn your bench cushion cover right side out. Roll your bench cushion and feed it through the opening at the back of the cushion. Unroll the cushion inside the cover. Pin the opening, and stitch it closed by hand.


To avoid piecing fabric together for long cushions and boxing bands, choose a non-directional solid or texture, and then cut the pieces lengthwise. If you must have a print, look for a railroaded print. Railroaded prints run the length of the fabric, instead of from side to side. To cover cushions for outdoor benches, use mildew-resistant foam and waterproof fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Cushion insert or foam
  • Scissors
  • Fabric
  • Cording with lip
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Super glue
  • Zip foot
  • Hand-sewing needle
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Leah James has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 2008. With more than a decade of experience in interior decorating, she frequently writes about home design. She studied English literature at Lyon College.