This post is brought to you by Coats & Clark Canada.
It’s Spring and the Great Outdoors is beginning to call my name. This is the time of year when I start looking around the garden, inspecting the patio furniture and plotting how my sewing machine and I can make my outdoor space look more like Summer and a whole lot less like leftover Winter. You, too? We’ve got some lovely outdoor projects for you below, but first let’s go over the basics of how to make your Outdoor Sewing successful!
Sewing for the Outdoors is a ton of fun and the possibilities are endless, but there are fabrics made for the patio and fabrics that should just be left inside. Let’s talk about what you’ll need for cushions, table coverings and other furnishing accents that need to be able to resist the weather.
Fabrics specifically made for the outdoors have a stain and water resistant finish and can withstand direct sunlight for many hours. In most cases they’ve been manufactured with UV resistant properties and have a durable finish that makes surface cleaning easy. Colors are vibrant and fade resistant making them the perfect complement to your Summer garden. Look for fabrics such as: Waverly’s Sun n Shade, Premier Prints Outdoor Fabrics and Sunbrella.
But, wait! Before you start, it’s super important that you also use the right thread! Normal sewing threads are terrific for your indoor projects, but they’re not made to hold up in the Great Outdoors. Coats Outdoor Thread is constructed to perfectly perform in all kinds of weather and you’ll love it for everything outdoor from home to boat to camping gear. Who wants to be enjoying the sun, showing off their new self-decorated patio, but secretly worrying about whether or not the seams on the cushions are going to fall apart?
Coats Outdoor Thread is a bonded polyester, the same construction as the thread used in awnings you may have purchased. It’s UV resistant and comes in 200-yard( 183m) mini king cones in plenty of colors. This means you can create stunning outdoor accents with a no worries, weather-resistant polyester thread that won’t fade or rot from direct sunlight. And, if it happens to rain on your party, this almost-magic thread won’t mold or mildew from the effects of a downpour either.
To create weather resistant magic on your sewing machine with Coats Outdoor Thread, you’ll want to make a few, easy adjustments.
· Outdoor Thread is heavier than normal sewing thread, so you’ll need a larger needle. This will somewhat depend on the weight of your fabric, but in general, you’ll want a topstitching needle from a 90 to a 110. Topstitching needles have a longer eye than Universal needles so you’ll have less abrasion on the thread as you’re sewing.
· Lengthen your stitch to between 3mm and 5mm as a thicker thread needs more space in the seam.
· A heavier thread is less flexible, so slow down a bit while you’re sewing for best results.
· You may want to make a slight tension adjustment when using Outdoor Thread in the needle and bobbin both.
· Make a few stitching samples from two layers of outdoor fabric scraps before you actually begin and make a note of the settings you used. You’ll thank yourself later!
By the way, Coats Outdoor Thread isn’t just for new projects. You know the rip in the awning, boat sail, camping gear or umbrella cover that just needs a little stitching? It’s perfect for that, too! To review the basics, click here to view a video on Coats Outdoor Thread from All People Quilt. Click here for more Outdoor Thread information from the Coats and Clark web site.
And now, we have Pillows, Cushions and a charming Cube for you to make!
Simple Pillows in Three Versions
Karen Schaphorst designed these Simple Outdoor Pillows for Coats and Clark. You can choose from three finishes along with three backs for your pillows. It’s a well-done tutorial with lots of options for your outdoor space.
A Knife-Edge Pillow is the simplest style of pillow and looks great anywhere it’s used. You can create a variety of pillows with this tutorial in any size or shape you’d like!
You’ll need a pillow form for each of your pillows, but it may not need to be new. This Stitched Flange Pillow would be perfect for updating an outdoor or indoor pillow that’s ready for recovering. Just be sure that your upcycled pillow form isn’t soiled or moldy.
Pillows are an easy way to create a cozy garden environment. Think about using an assortment on a swing, bench or patio chair or maybe in the corner of the deck. Click here for the Simple Outdoor Pillow tutorial.
Cushions are perfect for the pool deck, but can easily be adapted for patio seating. Coordinate the fabrics with your Outdoor Pillows for a “hired a decorator” upscale look for your outdoor space. For versatility, make the top and bottom in different prints so you can switch up the look from time to time. When you purchase foam for your cushions, you may want to mention that it will be used outside in case there is a weather-resistant foam available. Click here to download a PDF tutorial.
The final touch for our self-created fabulous outdoor space is not only practical but absolutely, totally fun! An Outdoor Cube or Pouf will add extra seating for parties and become a favorite with the kids. Coordinate the fabrics with your pillows and cushions or use a bright accent color for a decorator look. Your guests are going to love this at your next BBQ! Click here for the tutorial.
You’ve put time and effort into stitching up an inviting outdoor ambience, so be sure to take good care of your creations. During the outdoor season, keep anything made of fabric clean by wiping off surface dirt, pollen, leaves and debris. If the dirt is stubborn, use mild, soapy water and a soft brush or cloth and let everything dry thoroughly. When outdoor days are over, repeat this process before storing them for the next year.
It’s Spring, so you’ve still got time to dream and plan. Think about the look you want, measure, make a list, shop and gather your supplies. You’re going to love stitching up a handmade, outdoor Summer space that’s exactly your style!