Sewing With Sunbrella

I recently had the hare-brained impulse to make some new window seat cushion covers for my living room. Since these cushions get more than the normal amount of UV exposure, I decided Sunbrella was the best option for the coverings.

Well, I am just going to tell you that if you get the urge to sew with Sunbrella, lie down until the feeling passes. Sheesh! What a royal pain. It ravels like crazy. It feels plasticy/rubbery in your hands while working with it. Two layers are very difficult to control and do not feed evenly, resulting in the dreaded mismatch at the end of a long seam. (And a walking foot isn’t possible on the seams with piping!) All in all, I hated the process of sewing those blasted things. Oh, and did I mention I am not a big home dec sewing fan to begin with? Ugh. Double ugh.

I consider myself a pretty experienced sewist, capable of handling most sewing challenges, but this project kicked my butt. I am definitely not proud of my work, but the one thing that can be said is they are finished and   the cushions are in place in the living room. I am definitely going to live with them for a while, only because the thought of re-doing them is unbearable. I should take bets on how long they last before I sew up new ones. Twenty years? 😊

Have you ever sewn with Sunbrella? What is your least favorite sewing project?

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen

7 thoughts on “Sewing With Sunbrella

  1. Your cushions look lovely, so from my perspective, a success. Thanks for warning us away from similar frustration.

  2. I think the cushions look lovely, though the huge bloodstains are a bit dramatic. I happened to buy some Sunbrella for a similar project, and I’d love a recommendation for really firm foam for the insides. I haven’t needed any since we moved to WA, so any help will be much appreciated.

    1. Hilary–
      I’m glad now that I chose not to use Sunbrella for some outdoor cushions I made this summer. I used a heavy cotton outdoor fabric instead. I would suggest that you go to a place called “The Friendly Foam Store” to get advice. There are several store locations in the greater Seattle area. We went to the store in Bellevue and the gentleman there was able to help us select and order the correct type of foam for our project. There are many types–and he let us sit on several of them to see how they felt. The cushions went together well and are comfortable to sit on. Good luck with your project!
      Patty Teubner

  3. There are a number of outdoor fabrics that are a bit stiff (like an unwashed denim) but make cushions easily. Don’t give up. I re-do my patio furniture about every five years–not because of fading but because I get bored. Joann usually has a number of printed and plain outdoor fabrics to chose from. I also find it on

  4. I have sewn lots of Sunbrella projects for the boats that we owned . My best advice is to open out the fabric, ball it up, and roll around on the floor with it. (Kids love to do this for you…but it is fun for adults, too!) This softens the fabric and makes it much easier to sew.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *