How to Re-Cover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Item # X-HT-300004

If you have outdoor furniture with cushions that are looking sun bleached and tired, it might be time to think about replacing the cushions, pillows and other soft goods. This tutorial can get you started by walking you step-by-step through the process of sewing new bullnose cushions—a common cushion style for patio furniture.

Our chair before with old cushions and pillows

The cushions on this patio set were looking faded and worn from years of use, but the chairs were still in great shape. We gave the cushions a colorful makeover with Sunbrella Canvas Teal Upholstery Fabric. We also re-covered the pillows with a coordinating fabric. You can see how to make those pillows in our How to Make a Lumbar Pillow With Piping tutorial (300003XHT).

The cushions on these chairs feature a bullnose shape, or a rounded front. We’ve made bullnose cushions from scratch before (200604XHT) but the shape of this chair’s base made this assembly a little different. We’ve broken down the process step-by-step so you can re-cover your own bullnose chair cushions.

Finished chair with new cushion and pillow

Materials List:

  • Outdoor Fabric (we used Sunbrella Canvas Teal #5456-0000)
  • Polyester batting #100158
  • Polyester thread
  • Piping cord
  • #5 Coil Continuous Zipper
  • #5 Coil Zipper Slider

How to Re-Cover a Bullnose Cushion

1. Measure each panel of the cushion. Note the width and height of one side, the overall width and the height around both sides. The bullnose at the front makes the height all one panel.

Measuring the dimensions of the cushion

2. Cut out all of your panel pieces. You’ll need two side pieces, one main panel, and pieces for a back zipper plaque. Our side panels were 19.5” long by 4” wide, so we cut them to 20.5” x 5”. Our main panel cut measured 23.5” wide by 44” long. Our zipper plaque is 6” wide by 23” long.

Cutting out the panels

3. Take the two side panels and lay them on top of each other so the right sides are facing. Then fold the two panels over widthwise. Draw a slight curve at one corner and cut it out with scissors. This will create the front curve for the bullnose.

Cut a curve shape for the bullnose on the front of the side panels

4. Make matching bias piping. Follow our bias piping video tutorial (#X-HT-200665) for this step.

Make bias piping

5. Start pinning your bias piping to the right side of one of your side panel pieces. Cut relief notches in the piping’s flange to help the piping curve smoothly around the front of the side panel.

Pin the piping around the perimeter of the side panels

6. At the back of the panel, let the piping overlap itself by a few inches and then cut off the excess piping. Use scissors to open the stitching in the piping cover on the free end to expose the cord.

Open the stitching in the piping to expose the piping cord

7. Lay the exposed cord next to the pinning piping and cut the exposed cord so it lines up exactly with the other end of the piping. Fold the remaining fabric at an angle and then lay the other end of the piping on top of it so the cording ends are meeting.

Join the piping ends

8. Fold the angled fabric over to create a clean piping junction and pin in place. Repeat this process to attach the piping to the other side panel.

Fold the angled fabric over to create a clean piping junction

9. Using a piping foot or a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew the piping cord in place on the side panel.

Sew the piping onto the side panel

10. Next, make the zipper plaque. Cut your 6” x 23” zipper plaque piece in half so you have two 3” by 23” pieces. On one side of each piece, fold over a 1/2” hem and pin or baste in place.

Hem one side of your zipper plaque

11. Take one side of your zipper plaque fabric and pin it in place along the zipper tape. The folded edge should cover half of the zipper teeth. Cut your zipper to match the length of your fabric if necessary.

Pin the fabric along the zipper plaque.

12. Using a zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew the fabric in place along the zipper flange.

Sew one side of the zipper plaque to the zipper.

13. Repeat the process on the opposite side of the zipper.

Finish sewing the zipper plaque

14. To assemble the cushion, start by attaching the side panels. Take the main cushion panel and fold it in half to find the center location on each side. Make a small snip with your scissors to mark these locations. Then, take the side panels and fold them in half widthwise to find their center points. Make a small snip to mark this location.

Make a snip to mark the center of the side panels

15. Match up these center locations and start pinning the side panel and the main panel pieces together. Cut relief notches in the main panel if necessary so it will smoothly curve around the side pieces.

Cutting relief notches to help the main panel curve around the side

16. Take the assembly to your sewing machine and sew the side panels in place.

Sew the side panels in place on the main panel

17. Find the center position on each side of the back of the cushion. Match up the zipper plaque with these center locations. Pin the zipper plaque in place along one side.

Pin the zipper plaque in place on the cushion cover

18. Cut two small scraps of fabric and fold them in half. Pin these fabric pieces in place on either end of the zipper to create a stop. Be sure your zipper slider is in place before sewing the zipper on.

Create a zipper stop for each end of your zipper

19. Sew the zipper onto the rest of the assembly. Start sewing at the short ends and then move to the long edges.

Sew the zipper plaque in place

20. Pull the zipper teeth open with your fingers so the zipper is completely open. Turn your cushion over right side out.

Use your finger to open the zipper

21. We cut open our old cushion and reused the foam that was inside. If you’re starting from scratch, you can use polyurethane foam or Poly-Fil Nu Foam for your cushion insert.

Cut open your old cushion and reuse the foam

22. We wanted to make our new cushion fuller than the previous, so we wrapped our existing foam in new polyester batting. We just wrapped the batting around the cushion like a book jacket on three sides and cut off the excess batting.

Wrap the old foam in batting

23. Carefully insert your batting wrapped foam into the new cushion cover. Smooth out the filling and zip up the cover. Now you’re finished!

Insert the batting and foam into the cushion cover.

Enjoy your bright new patio cushions!

Finished cushion and new pillow