Getting Benched

Several years ago while living in Heidelberg, Germany we purchased our farmhouse style kitchen table.  We have really enjoyed our table and gotten so much use out of it.   As much as I love it I’ve always wanted it to have a darker stain.  I’ve also thought it would be interesting to see it with different chairs.  Especially for the ends of the table. I’ve always thought a bench on one side would be a fun change too.  Recently a few of those changes from my wish list got checked off when I ran across this bench in the aisles of TJ Maxx.  The length was right and the price was right.  So I purchased it and brought it home.  Suddenly wanting to go all the way with the change I also purchased two other chairs for the end of the table.

Here is what the table looked like before the changes.


and here it is with the new chairs and bench.

chair better

I think it just sort of takes it up a notch, no?  The end chairs were also very comfy.  But, unfortunately the other person in the house who has opinions didn’t like the end chairs so much.  I think he thought they didn’t match anything and they don’t.  But, I was going for that kind of mix and match look!  However, I was thinking I would paint the wood on both the bench and the chairs the same white color to tie them together.

Unfortunately, I had to admit to myself that these chairs were actually one inch too short for our table.  So in the end I did end up taking them back.  But I really liked the way they had fancied up our table.

At least I still have the picture to remember them!  We decided to keep the bench although it also was a little too low.   I decided with the addition of a cushion it would almost be the right height.  So now I needed to make a cushion.  Remember me saying bench cushion sewing was on my to do list times two?  This is why.  And so just like that the new cushion needs got pushed to the top of the list!

So here is a quick run down of this project.  I made this cushion just like I have done the other window seat/bench/swing set cushions like this that I have made except for the first time I didn’t do welt cording on the edges.  This time I tried a new treatment instead.  I went for a mattress edged look.  Some people refer to this as a French mattress edge. At any rate I couldn’t find any detailed tutorials to explain this one other than one that advised you to use yarn and told you about where and how you should sew the edges to achieve this look.

So that’s what I did.  I should mention that before I commited to this project I did look around to see what I could find on the internet that I could purchase already made but the only one I found was too short for my bench.  The down side is because of the price of foam it most certainly would have been cheaper if I could have purchased something ready made.  Since there were no cushions that matched my measurements I didn’t really have that option.

I considered making one side out of oil cloth so that it would be wipeable since this is where my kids sit to eat, but since that would have added to my cost I decided to scotch guard it when I am done and hope for the best.  Afterall, maybe I can have a “dirty side” and a “clean side” that you can flip over when company comes or something like that!

Below is the photo by photo process of how I got the mattress edge look.


The first photo on the left shows how the top edge looked before applying the mattress edge to the cushion and on the bottom the treatment has already been done.  It is a fairly straight forward process.  Here I used a chenille needle and needle nose plyers to pull the needle through the cushion.

Insert needle down into cushion.  Pull out with plyers.  Pull tight.

(I aimed for about an inch from the top edge to about an inch down the side of the top edge for needle placement.  I think it ended up being more like a half an inch. )

When I was done my finger was sore from pushing down on the needle.  A thimble might have helped!



move over about an inch,

push needle up through cushion

pull up and out with plyers.

Then pull tight.


To finish and tie off the yarn

I tied a knot in the yarn about an inch from where the yarn last came out of the fabric

and then inserted the needle back down into the fabric.

Then I popped the single knot through the fabric

and cut off the excess yarn that was left.

For this type of cushion you want a type of upholstry fabric that is sturdy but not so sturdy that it doesn’t have a little bit of drape.  I used a linen/rayon blend that I found at Joann’s.  You can’t tell from the photos but it is a deep blue purple color.

So I have finished the mattress edging on all sides of both the top and bottom edges of the cushion.  Now I would like to add button tufting.  So I just have to purchase a couple more fabric button kits.  I am planning on having three buttons for the tufting.

So far I’m happy with the results.  The only thing I would like to know how to do better next time would be the corners.  I would like them to  have a more uniform look.  I’m sure there is a trick to it.  I just don’t know what it is!  Also when I have seen this type of cushion in the stores I haven’t notice the yarn showing.  So I’m wondering what other type of thread they might have used.  But I find the yarn makes for an interesting detail on the cushion so I don’t mind it so much.  I guess I need to look more closely at these the next time I see them in a store.

I’ll keep you posted on the cushion progress!

One thought on “Getting Benched

  1. Too bad the chairs didn’t work for you because I love that style. Maybe you can make slip covers for two of the chairs you already have? I just happen to have two cushions on a bench in just the style you made. I think I bought them at Moemax in Germany and they’re tufted, which is a really nice look with how the edges are finished. I think every post you write makes me look forward to when I’m done with popcorn ceilings and painting. I miss my sewing machine, but I do have a couple of easy sewing projects coming up.

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