Can you make your own garden furniture covers?

Here at Lazy Susan, the team loves a spot of DIY, so this month we want to discuss how you can make your own garden furniture covers...

If you don’t have the space to store your garden furniture or you simply prefer to leave it on the patio all year round, then a garden furniture cover is essential in our opinion.

Even with our range, which is easy to maintain and designed to be fully weather resistant, a good cover will help to keep it clean, dry and ready to use come summer.

The problem we’ve found with many of the covers sold in the UK is that they’re not fit for purpose. 

How to make your own garden furniture covers

For us, a good garden furniture cover should be:

  1. Waterproof
  2. Breathable
  3. Fitted 
  4. Securable 

You want them constructed from a fabric that will keep the rain out but allow air to circulate and prevent mould growth.  

If you have a large outdoor dining set or sofa set it is better to get individual covers for each piece rather than one large cover over the whole set too. This way you have the flexibility to move to a sheltered part of your garden and stack pieces, etc if there’s a storm. Plus, the covers are smaller and it will make it easier to pop them on.

Finally, a good garden furniture cover must have some way of securing it in place either via tie fastenings or tabs you can feed bungee cords, etc through, so they don’t blow off when the wind picks up.

However, instead of purchasing covers, many of which in our experience can be of poor quality, can you make your own?

Are there alternative fabrics that will function better and can be adapted?

Many of the garden furniture covers sold online and on the high street are of a generic shape, so if your garden furniture is different to the basic square table and four chairs, then would a bespoke cover not offer a better solution?

Well, please read on to find out more…

Lazy Susan’s simple DIY garden furniture covers

First up, the Lazy Susan team have got our heads together and based on the covers a number of us have made in the past (we don’t currently sell them) we have created our simple 7-step do-it-yourself process.

If you have basic sewing machine skills, then this is the route to take. It can at first appear daunting but it doesn’t need to be perfect just a good fit and waterproof. Pick your fabric, measure your furniture, cut and sew as follows: 

  1. Measure your garden furniture
    Before reaching for the scissors, you need to measure all your pieces of garden furniture carefully to calculate how much fabric you will need. If you own our furniture then you will find accurate dimensions on the product pages in our shop. We also covered measuring our garden furniture in detail in our how to make a tablecloth for a garden table post. The same principles apply, you would just extend the drop.
  2. Pick your fabric
    Choosing the right fabric is critical. To be honest, you can use any outdoor fabric of your choice, however, the key is that it is waterproof, breathable, lightweight, easy to work with and durable. Some of the best fabric solutions can be found in the sailing and camping/tent sector. The other advantage here over just buying garden furniture covers is you can go for something a little more stylish than black or dark green. If you wanted to go down this route, then Sunbrella would be a good place to start. ESVO also have a fantastic range of outdoor textiles and camping fabrics
  3. Cut your fabric
    In many ways, cutting is harder than sewing. You don’t want to make a mistake, so take your time and cut carefully with some sharp heavy-duty tailor shears such as the H Webber & Sons Wiss range. If you’ve measured, calculated your additional seam edges and marked it all up in chalk on your fabric, then you shouldn’t have any problems though.
  4. Pin, test fit and adjust
    Once all the relevant pieces are cut out, pop them together and tack them in place with pins. At this stage, it is also a good idea to test fit and make any minor adjustments and alterations before you sew. It is much easier to re-tack than it is to unpick and re-sew.
  5. Sew your fabric
    Again, just remember it is function over form. You don’t need a perfect seam and running a basic straight stitch is all you need. It will make the seam hard to tear and strong so is perfect for furniture covers. The key is to use a long-lasting polyester or nylon thread but you don't need to worry if your run is a little wonky. WheateFull does a good range of tight-bonded nylon threads that are perfect for this job.
  6. Add Tabs, Tie-Fastening or Eyelets
    Some people choose to add elasticated piping around the bottom of their covers, and whilst this not only helps them fit better, it does also require a little more skill. If it's a job you’re confident you can tackle, then we would definitely recommend it. However, more important is to ensure the covers can be secured in place so they don’t blow off. And the best solutions for that are to add metal eyelets such as Trimming Shop’s Large Brass Eyelets that won’t rust or sew on tabs to tie-fastenings so you can secure the cover to your furniture.
  7. Seal the seams
    Even if you have used a waterproof bonded nylon thread we would still advise you to seal your seams with either seam-sealing tape or wax such as Stormseal Seam Sealer. It is meant for Tents and Awnings, so is perfect for this job. It is a water-based sealer that comes in a squeezable bottle with a foam pad for easy application. The liquid will soak into all your pinholes, dry clear, and will create a flexible and impermeable waterproof seam. 

How to make patio furniture covers by Sailrite

If you need a little further inspiration or alternative methods to the one we have set out, then we’ve also pulled together a few of our favourite how to make your own garden furniture covers videos.

First up we have sailing fabric suppliers and experts Sailrite who show you in detail how to make outdoor chair covers with their range. There’s a detailed step-by-step guide not too dissimilar to ours and they also have a great breakdown of all the products they’ve used. 

See how I made a garden sofa cover using shower curtains by Hales Moore Sewing

This one above is a little different but Hales Moore shows you how she made garden furniture covers for a garden sofa using 3 shower curtains from B&M. Sounds crazy but why not? They are waterproof, breathable to prevent mould growth and lightweight, everything you need!

Top 50 outdoor furniture covers by The Shiny Ideas

Next up, if you are just in need of a little inspiration, then The Shiny Ideas team have compiled their Top 50 DIY outdoor furniture covers in the video above.

What to look for when buying garden furniture covers by The Cover Company

We appreciate these guys are selling their own covers but in this video, they outline what to look for when buying an outdoor furniture cover. They explain how you can tell the difference between a good quality outdoor furniture cover and a cheap nasty one, so no matter if you plan to make or buy, there are some great tips here.

How to pick the right garden furniture cover material by Coverstore

Similar to the above, this video from Coverstore takes a look at the fabrics they offer in their range but is a great place to start if you are unsure which fabric is the right one for your garden furniture and what makes a good garden furniture cover

Save your outdoor furniture for years of use with Urban Castle

Last up we have the guys at Urban Castle Interiors showing us how they made covers for a client. It is a great in-depth walk-through video that is easy to follow and they have some great pointers. 

If you have any photos of your new Lazy Susan Outdoor Furniture in your garden, with or without garden furniture covers on, then we’d love to see a few for our Do Some Good charity campaign. You can tag us @LazySusanFurniture on Instagram or Facebook or email them to us at [email protected].

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