My previous post, called “Survival Sewing,” featured DIY cloth face masks and a DIY paper towel alternative. But in today’s feature, I’m sharing a survival sewing project of a different kind: One that lifted my spirits during these strange times.
On a recent sunny day, I took a socially-distanced walk around the neighborhood, and I noticed something: People sitting in their front yards, on their front porches or stoops, in their driveways, or even on parking curbs. Instead of enjoying the privacy of their back yards, they were sitting anywhere they could see other people – and be seen by them.
I’ve never appreciated my front porch more than I do right now. But the cushion cover on our bench needed to be replaced. So, I decided to sew a new cushion cover using something that would remind me of travel – specifically Hawaii: A burlap coffee sack that we’d purchased at a coffee plantation on The Big Island.
Transforming a Burlap Coffee Sack Into a Bench Seat Cushion Cover
Here it’s important to mention that the sack was brand new and had never been used to store coffee beans. Had it been a used sack, I would have needed to wash it first.
I would like to say that the burlap sack measured at exactly the right dimensions and I could just slip the cushion into it and be done. But of course that was not the case.
I needed a plan.
Fitting the Coffee Sack to the Bench Cushion
I ripped out the seams of the sack until it was one flat piece of fabric.
I love the graphic on this piece, and I cut the fabric so that the portion with the graphic could center perfectly on the cushion.
Then I cut another piece measuring the same size for the bottom of the cushion.
These pieces would, when sewn together, be wide enough to wrap around the cushion. But they were too short to cover the entire length.
A Simple Solution
For me, simple is always best. So I decided to sew a new cushion cover with a nice outdoor fabric. Then I would sew the sides of the burlap sack together, leaving the ends unsewn, and just slip it over the new cushion cover like a sleeve.
I could leave the ends of the burlap sack unsewn because it had lovely selvaged edges that were showing no signs of wanting to unravel.
For the cushion cover, I would use this beautiful Sunbrella fabric that would coordinate nicely, both in color and in texture, with the burlap sack.
Off to the sewing room this all went. I made a cushion cover with the Sunbrella fabric and then a simple slip cover with the coffee sack.
I paired it with a throw pillow that I’d found at an outdoor market in Hawaii.
I was going for a look that said “staycation” rather than “shelter in place.” For a different look, perhaps during the holidays, I can use the red Sunbrella cushion cover without the coffee sack.
But for now, I’m enjoying this little bit of Hawaii on our front porch.
We also hung a string of chili pepper lights as a little socially-distanced “hello” to neighbors.
For some added entertainment while sitting on the porch, we hung a little house that contains nesting material to attract birds.
And next to our front door, a Himalayan maidenhair fern is thriving. It was so tiny when I bought it last summer.
We humans might be experiencing a pandemic, but nature still goes on.
Burlap Coffee Sacks As Art and Textile
Burlap coffee sacks are affordable and fun. My Mom gave me some used coffee sacks that she bought at a nursery, and I can’t wait to wash them and start using them for crafts.
I especially love the selection at The Burlap Farm By Kris.
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