Monday, July 4, 2011
The Patio Cushions Season
The Patio Cushions
Summer is almost here; well, that’s what I’ve been told, anyway. I’m not sure I really believe it, but if the number of patio cushions I have in my workroom is any indication, it’s just around the corner.
We ask so much of the patio cushions. When being really truthful, most clients admit that they put the cushions out in the spring and leave them there until late fall. The cushions get rained on, the sun attacks the fabric, the dogs and cats sleep on them and the kids spill ice-cream on them. And we expect them to stay looking good for at least a few years.
Here is how to help make that happen:
Use out door fabric.
The better-quality outdoor fabrics are solution dyed, meaning the fiber is permeated with color, it won’t fade or dissipate. The lesser-quality fabrics have been treated with UV protectant to reduce damage from the sun. I did some cushions for a gal a few years ago, red and yellow outdoor fabric from Fabricland, and they are still bright, no fading at all. Mildew will grow on dirt, so keep the cushions clean and you won’t have a problem with mildew or mold. The fabric is washable, hang to dry only, please, and the higher-end fabrics, like Sunbrella, can be solution bleached (instructions available on the Sunbrella website) for really stubborn stains. Outdoor fabrics are water resistant but some water will soak through to the filler.
Use outdoor foam.
We all know how well foam will soak up water, and keep it soaked up. This is not what we want in our cushions. Outdoor foam looks more like very coarse quilt batting; water runs right through it. So, no mildew, no mold. It is more expensive than top-grade foam but it will last indefinitely. Pre-cut cushions are available at Fabricland, their brand is Fiber Form-Ext; I’ve used it and it works very well. I have a new one called Dri-Fast in sheet sizes and can cut any size needed.
And a few other things.
Don’t use cotton filler for piping, it will shrink and disintegrate over time, I use a polyester filler that is soft like cotton but with none of the disadvantages. Use outdoor, marine, or polyester thread and use plastic zippers - no rust problems