How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

With spring right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking ahead to warmer weather and outdoor living spaces. If your outdoor furniture is looking sun bleached and tired, you can sew up new cushions and pillows before the season begins. This month we’re going to share two different patio projects to help you get ready for warmer weather.

How to Recover a Bullnose Cushion

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 teal Sunbrella Upholstery fabric. We also recovered the pillows with a coordinating fabric, and that tutorial will be out later this month.

The cushions on these chairs feature a bullnose shape, or a rounded front. We’ve made bullnose cushions from scratch before, 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 recover your own bullnose chair cushions.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Materials List:

How to Recover a Bullnose Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Make matching bias piping. Follow our bias piping video tutorial for this step.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Next, make the zipper plaque. Cut your 6” x 23” zipper plaque piece is 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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Repeat the process on the opposite side of the zipper.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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.

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

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

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

Enjoy your bright new patio cushions!

How to Recover a Bullnose Patio Cushion

All of the materials needed to recover or make your own patio cushions are available at Sailrite.com.

Stay tuned for the full step-by-step tutorial on making the coordinating lumbar pillow with piping as seen in the photos!

10 comments
  1. Dick Warden said:

    I would much prefer seeing this in a video as it is so much easier to follow.

  2. Cecilia said:

    This is very good but I love your videos. No matter how often I have done some of these things over the years i always learn something new from you. Thank You

  3. Please continue with the non-video DIY. I am on a cruising sailboat in the S.Pacific. I do a lot of sewing projects on the boat on my Ultrafeed zigzag. Although we have internet it is slow and we pay by the mbyte, making video impossible, or very expensive.
    BTW, I love my machine way better than the old Pfaff, I had used for years.

  4. Robert said:

    Good information but you guys make great tutorial videos. Thanks for the info

  5. Diane S said:

    I would love to see a better photo of the side and also the back.

    • Nikki said:

      Hi Diane, unfortunately we don’t have better photos of the side or the back of this cushion. So sorry!

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