How to Reupholster Glider Cushions. Create new cushions for your glider rocking chair using the old cushions as a pattern.

Earlier this week I shared how I updated my old glider rocking chair with new stain. It sat outside and looked awful, so I wanted to see if I could make it look like new again. Today, I am going to share how I made new cushions for the glider using the old cushions as a pattern.

How to Reupholster Glider Cushions. Create new cushions for your glider rocking chair using the old cushions as a pattern. #laurascraftylife #reupholster #glider #diy

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How to Reupholster Glider Cushions

You can see below that my chair was in really bad shape. The chair had sat outside on the edge of my porch for a couple of years. The cushions were dirty, had paint spilled on them, and overall were just gross.

Wooden glider before refinishing


Take Apart Old Cushions

The first step is to carefully take apart the old cushions. You definitely need to have some patience because you want to make sure your fabric pieces stay intact throughout this process. 

Use your seam ripper to carefully remove the seams from all of the fabric pieces you plan to reupholster.

Use seam ripper to carefully take apart cushions

Make a note as you remove the seams how the pieces were put together to make it easier when it comes time to sew. I took a few pictures with my phone for reference as I went. You may or may not want to sew it back together exactly the same way, but at least you will know how the original pieces were put together.

Make note of any unusual ways the pieces are sewn together

I planned on reupholstering the ottoman, the back cushion, and the seat cushion. For now, I decided not to replace the cushions that went over the arms of the chair. I may redo these at some point, but since the chair is outside, the pockets end up getting filled with dirt and leaves.

Use the Old Cushion Pieces as a Pattern

I decided since this chair is going to stay on our back porch to choose some heavy duty upholstery fabric. After you have everything apart, use the fabric pieces you took apart to create new pieces. Attach the old piece to the new fabric using straight pins. 

Pin the old cushion pieces to your new fabric

Then, cut out around the edge of the old fabric to create the new pieces for your cushions. Do this for all the pieces you plan to make.

Cut out new fabric pieces using old pieces as a pattern

Cut New Foam and/or Batting (Optional)

Since my chairs sat outside, the foam inside the cushions and the ottoman were trashed. They were not washable and quite frankly, not worth trying to save. 

Again, I used the old pieces as a template to cut new foam pieces. I used a marker to trace around the old cushion before cutting.

Trace around old foam pieces onto the new foam

Cut new foam piece for seat cushion

The back cushion also had batting inside of it that was sewn in. I cut new pieces for the batting as well.

Use original fabric pieces to create patterns for new fabric

Note: You may be able to re-use the batting and/or foam that is inside your cushions, depending on the condition.

Sew New Cushions

Now, it is time to sew. Remember how in step one I told you to make note of how the pieces were sewn together? You will use the same general technique to sew them back together as you did to take them apart.

Add in Ties or Velcro Tabs to Right Side of Fabric Before Assembling

Before sewing the pieces together, I needed to add the tabs back on the outside of the fabric. These allow me to attach the cushions to the glider so they won’t move around or come off as easily.

There were four velcro tabs, and then two tie strings on my original cushions. This upholstery fabric was so stiff, I couldn’t make the string ties, so I improvised and made all six tabs with velcro.

Sew velcro tabs on fabric

To create the ties, I cut a length of fabric that was about 3 inches wide. I folded it in half with the right sides together. Then, I sewed along the cut edge on two sides. I turned the tube right side out. Fold the open end in and top stitch over it to secure it closed. Then, I sewed the velcro onto the finished tab to allow it to loop around the rung in the back of the chair.

Sew Together Cushions

For my particular seat cushions, there was a piece of foam that was inserted inside the cushion. So, to start, I simply pinned the two fabric pieces, right sides together. 

Pin pieces together before sewing

Then I sewed all around the outside leaving the back open. 

Then I sewed all around the outside leaving one side open. 

Next, I flipped the fabric so everything was right side out. Insert the new piece of foam into the cushion cover. I folded the edge towards the inside of the cushion and pinned it. Then, I topstitched over the edge to close up the cushion.

Pin ends together and topstitch

For the back cushion, there was batting that was sewn into the front side of the cushion. I started by laying out the front piece of fabric, right side down, and pinned the batting to the wrong side of the fabric. I sewed three straight lines through the batting and the fabric to keep it all from shifting.

Sew and reassemble your pieces in the same way you took them apart

Note: This was the way the original was pieced together so it made it easier for me to figure out how to create my new cushion.

Then, I pinned the top and bottom pieces of the back cushion right sides together, and sewed around the outside edge, leaving the bottom open. Again, I turned the fabric right side out and then inserted the foam piece that went inside the cushion. I tucked the edges under and topstitched along the bottom edge.

Helpful Tip: I found it easier to kind of push the foam piece up further inside the cushion while I sewed. It was easy to manipulate it back in place when I was finished sewing.

Reupholster the Ottoman

This is the easiest part of the entire project. Remove the top fabric and wood piece from the frame of the ottoman using a screwdriver or Allen wrench, depending on how yours is assembled.

Remove the cushion from the glider ottoman

Remove the fabric. It is usually stapled on, so a flat head screwdriver and pliers work well to pry up the staples.

Remove the original fabric and foam from the wood piece on the ottoman

Use the old fabric as a template to cut a new piece for your ottoman. I also replaced the foam to give everything a fresh start. Using an electric carving knife is the easiest way to cut thick foam.

Use an electric carving knife to cut thick foam

Lay out your fabric (right side down), then the foam, then the wood. Be sure to center your foam and wood on the fabric piece. 

Layer fabric foam and wood to reupholster ottoman

Helpful Tip: If you are using fabric with a pattern that needs to be lined up more evenly (for example, stripes or plaid), start by laying out your wood base, then foam, then fabric right side up. Carefully flip everything over and staple the fabric to the back side of the wood.

I like to start stapling by doing opposite sides of the fabric so I can make sure everything is straight and tight. Then I will move on to the opposite ends. Fold over the corners and staple them in place last.

Fold over fabric corners neatly before stapling

You can trim excess fabric at this point, if needed.

Use staple gun to reupholster ottoman

Reattach the reupholstered top to the bottom frame of the ottoman.

I am so happy with how this project turned out. This fabric is beautiful and makes a bright spot on our porch. Since this would be sitting outside I sprayed each of the cushions with fabric protection spray to keep it looking nice and easy to clean.

How to reupholster and refinish a wooden glider

Before and after - how to reupholster and refinish a wooden glider

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Laura Silva

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