Oh. my. gosh. I am beyond thrilled to be guest-posting here at The CSI Project today! This was one of the very first craft blogs I started following & I never miss a post…thank you so much girls for having me! You guys are the cat’s pajamas… Hi everyone! My name is Maggie & I write a little blog called Midwestern {Sewing} Girl. There you can follow along as I redecorate my house, one sewing project, one painting challenge, one makeover at a time. Today I’m going to show you how I brightened up our ultra-drab front porch with a couple of items I found at a garage sales! Yay! Here is Exhibit A…our front porch…I love this space because it is completely covered and I love love love to be out here when it’s raining…however, it’s not pretty…it doesn’t even approach anything that I would ever call inviting.

Sitting on Exhibit A you will see Exhibit B…the picnic table bench I got from a neighborhood garage sale…FOR FREE. The homeowners had the bench out in the driveway & when I asked "how much?" – they looked at me like I was crazy and then said, "you can have it…" – oh. yes.
Worn, weathered, banged-up…perfect…
I knew this was going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship…
I headed out to Menards and ran straight back to the mis-tinted paint section…and, BINGO!
For $1.00 (that’s right, $1.00), I got this pint of exterior latex in a shade of brown I thought would work really well…

Then I ran over to JoAnn to pick up some more goodies, and darted home to get started…
After a little clean-up, a little sanding (very little sanding, actually, just to get some big yucks off…), and only 1 coat of paint (it covered really well, and I was really anxious to get this done!!!), I had this…
much better…
While the paint was drying I ran inside to get started with the rest of my makeover…
This is what I picked up from JoAnn…
Outdoor canvas in super-bright summery colors…1/2 yard of each…
2 16×16 pillow forms…
And this is what I already had in the house…
A paint drop-cloth & some 3/4" foam padding…
I made some pillows first…super-easy…here’s a quick reminder on how-to…
First layout your pillows on your fabric…this was especially easy because I had bought 1/2 yard of the fabric (18") and my pillow forms were 16"…no cutting on the sides at all…

Fold over the top and bottom of your fabric over your pillow, making sure to overlap your fabric by a couple of inches…cut off the extra fabric & hem the top & bottom…
Once the top & bottom are hemmed, place the fabric back around the pillow form, right-sides-in, the way you would like it to be on the finished pillow…gently remove the pillow from the fabric & pin the sides of the pillow together…
Sew up the side seams, turn your pillow cover right-side-out, iron & you’re done!
Now…the fun part…
A padded cushion for the bench!
I measured the top of the bench and cut my drop cloth like this…
*1 piece that was the length & width of the bench + enough for my seam allowances (I always use 1/2")
*2 pieces the length of my bench and a couple of inches wider than HALF my bench width…(I plan on overlapping the pad cover the same way I did with the pillow cover above).
*Enough fabric strips to make straps that will attach the covered pad to the bench. I cut 6 strips, each 3" wide and just a random long length (I will cut these when I am finished and see just how long they need to be to wrap around the bench top). Here’s how to make the straps:
Fold one long end of your strap to the middle & iron down.
Then fold the other long end toward the middle & iron down.
Fold the entire piece in half & iron…then stitch down the length of the open end…easy peasy. If you’re making straps that will be visible, you’ll want to fold down the end of the strap before you sew…that will leave you with a nice clean edge. However, I know my straps won’t be seen, so I just left them raw…
Once the straps were finished, I took all my drop-cloth pieces outside and laid them out on the bench.
First I put down what will be the top part of my pad cover…right side UP.
Then I placed my straps on top of the bench, in the places I needed them to be to secure the pad to the bench…make sure that you lay these so that they are facing IN towards the middle of the fabric you are using, and pin them in place on the outside edges of your fabric.
From here I just placed what will be the bottom pieces of my pad cover, right sides DOWN, sandwiching the straps between the layers…
Tuck your straps inside the "sandwich" and pin the long ends of your pad cover. Sew down the sides, push out the corners & iron. You should see that your straps are hanging down from the cover, secured between the two layers of fabric.
Next I cut my pad to fit inside the cover. I measured the final dimensions of my cover & cut the pad just slightly smaller…
Now here’s a little tip…my padding was not long enough to fit my cover, so I cut two pieces, each wide enough to fit and together long enough to fit…and I just sewed them together on both the top & bottom of the pieces…
Worked like a charm…
Then I brought the whole thing outside again…I tucked the padding inside the cover and added hook & loop tape* to the back to keep the cover from moving around…
…(almost done…). From here I wrapped the straps around the bench & marked where the ends met…then I just added some hook & loop tape* to those places, stuck ‘em together and done!
*You’ll see that I used adhesive hook & loop tape on my cover…I’m usually anti-adhesive h&l, but in this case I wasn’t sure where I wanted the fasteners to be, so I’m using the adhesive temporarily…it will (eventually, but probably later rather than sooner) be replaced with the sew-on tape…maybe…
Add the pillows, one of my vintage egg baskets from another garage sale, some magazines & a lantern…
Much more inviting…now I actually sit out here!
I love it…and it was so easy & inexpensive…the fabric was a little pricey, but because I bought only 1/2 yard of each AND they were 50% off, it was totally do-able…
Thanks so much, CSI girls, for letting me share this project! I hope you like it…and feel free to stop by Midwestern {Sewing} Girl anytime to say "hi!"
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