How to Make an Outdoor Table Cover
Patio furniture may be designed to withstand outdoor environments, but it’s always best to give your furniture a helping hand. Protect your outdoor table with this DIY table cover. We’re going to show you how to sew a durable custom cover to keep your table well-shielded from the elements, with a shock cord sleeve for a tight, secure fit and easy installation.
When choosing a fabric for an outdoor project, there are six main criteria to consider: breathability, water resistance, abrasion resistance, UV resistance, colorfastness and cleanability. Sailrite® offers an "Outdoor Fabric Selection Guide" (#3000080XHT) that walks you through each of our top 10 suggestions for cover fabrics. For a project like this, the most important factors are breathability and water resistance.
Breathability and water resistance offer opposing benefits. A completely water resistant (or waterproof) fabric is usually heavier and less breathable, so you run the risk of growing mold or mildew should any moisture be trapped underneath the cover. One potential solution would be to vent the cover with something like a pool noodle — this would ensure the cover doesn’t sit too tightly against the tabletop, which would prevent air from circulating. With a more breathable fabric, you sacrifice some of the water resistance. Breathable fabrics tend to be more lightweight with looser weaves to allow more air to pass through. Because our table is slatted and we aren’t too worried about air circulation, we went with Top Notch® 1S — a more water resistant fabric over a more breathable one.
We also recommend choosing a solution-dyed fabric. Solution-dyed fabrics provide higher UV resistance and colorfastness because the pigment of the dye saturates to the core of the fiber before it is spun into yarn and made into fabric. This makes solution-dyed fabrics like Top Notch® 9 and 1S or Sur Last® ideal for outdoor covers; the color won’t lose any of its vibrance as the fabric is exposed to the sun.
Selecting a fabric for your outdoor cover application can be overwhelming. There are so many options and things to consider — how can you be sure what you select will have the right look and feel for your project? That's why we've created a Sample Book for Cover & Top Fabrics. The book contains one sample of each fabric from every outdoor and marine fabric we carry at Sailrite. You can touch, feel and compare the specifications for all of your options.
The addition of shock cord makes the cover easy to put on and take off. It’s helpful to have an extra set of hands for this step; pulling the shock cord through the sleeves can bunch the fabric. A DIY buddy can hold the cover taught while you thread the shock cord into the sleeve. From there, slipping the cover onto the table is easy. Even in fairly high winds, the cover stays in place!
You can adapt this tutorial for other applications too — think outdoor kitchen counters, benches or work tables.
Are you ready to cover your outdoor table for the season? Let us know! Tag us on social media using #Sailrite, or share photos of your table covers in the comments below.
- Choosing the Right Fabric — 3:40 min.
- Cutting Fabric — 12:15 min.
- Joining Boxing — 14:40 min.
- Creating Sleeve — 17:58 min.
- Sewing Boxing to Top Panel — 23:21 min.
- Feeding Shock Cord Into Sleeve — 30:55 min.
- Materials & Tools List — 39:52 min.
- Cover Fabric from Sailrite - we used Top Notch® 1S Charcoal 60" #121813
- Seamstick 3/8" Basting Tape for Canvas (50 yds.) #129
- V‑92 White UV Bonded Polyester Thread 4 oz. (1,350 yds.) #100079
- Seamstick 1/4" Basting Tape for Canvas & Upholstery (36 yds.) #122065
- Shock Bungee Cord 3/16" (White With Black Marker) #29303
- Hog Rings ‑ Shock Cord Clamps 3/16" #100951
- Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed #9104
- Chalk Pencil Cartridge Set #121669
- Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" #102400
- Deluxe 5 1/2" Magnetic Sewing Guide #103597
- Sailrite® Ultrafeed® LS Sewing Machine With WorkerB® Power Pack #311503
- Sailrite® Ultrafeed® Collapsible Sewing Table #104821
- Sailrite® Edge Cordless Hotknife 18V Package #122177
- Hog Ring Pliers #100950
- Ergonomic Thread Snips #102991
- Tape, String (for feeding shock cord through the sleeve)