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Upholstered Map Textile Bench Cushion

A tablecloth is heavy enough to work as an upholstery fabric. This project is recommended for experienced sewers only; otherwise, have a professional upholsterer make a cushion for you.

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Living, July 2010


  • Upholstery foam, 4 to 6 inches thick and cut to size

  • Fabric

  • Sewing machine and sewing supplies

  • Piping (optional)


  1. Measure length and width of bench frame; have a piece of 4- to 6-inch-thick foam cut to size (or cut it yourself with a large serrated knife or saw).

  2. From the fabric, you will need to cut 1 top piece and 1 bottom piece (width by length), 2 short side pieces (width by height), and 2 long side pieces (length by height). Add 1 inch to the length, width, and height measurements of each for seam allowances; using these measurements, cut out fabric.

  3. With a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew all 4 side pieces together, end to end, alternating between long-side and short-side pieces, to make 1 long strip. Sew the open ends together to make a 4-sided box, right sides facing each other. Press seams open with iron.

  4. Sew piping to top and bottom pieces, aligning raw edge of piping with raw edge of fabric.

  5. Pin side (box) piece to top piece, right sides together (match long and short sides); sew with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Press seams open with an iron.

  6. Pin side piece to bottom piece, right sides together, with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Sew 3 sides, leaving 1 short side open. Press seams open. Turn right side out.

  7. Insert foam, and slip-stitch open edge shut.

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