How to Recover Camper Cushions

It's possible to recover those camper cushions using the existing zipper, foam, board and piping - and get a profession look. Here's how. I have more photos to be added soon. But here's a few....

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How to Recover Camper Cushions
60 Steps
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1

Remove the buttons (if any) by clipping the tufting twine that is securing them. Also, remove the knobs (if any) from the bottom that hold the cushions in place on the banquette. Set these aside.

2

Making a mark on the front of your board will insure it is inserted into your new cushion cover correctly.

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3

Unzip the zipper and carefully remove the board and cushion being careful to not damage the zipper. Don't force it. If it's too difficult - cut the seams apart first starting with the piping seam.

4

To do this, carefully snip the stitching with the tips of really sharp scissors - or use your seam ripper - to cut/clip the seam between the piping and the cushion top.

5

Continue clipping the side seams around one of the end/side pieces. As soon as you get the end piece free it will make the opening large enough to remove the foam and board easily.

6
Most camper cushions don't have the 2 piece - zipper placket.  Instead the top and bottom are cut longer, to wrap around and meet at the bottom.   The zipper is sewn to those pieces as shown here.

Most camper cushions don't have the 2 piece - zipper placket. Instead the top and bottom are cut longer, to wrap around and meet at the bottom. The zipper is sewn to those pieces as shown here.

7
Next, we will remove the zipper.  Zip the slide up several inches so that you can work with it without the risk of it pulling off the teeth.  Whatever you do, don't let the slide pull off the end!

Next, we will remove the zipper. Zip the slide up several inches so that you can work with it without the risk of it pulling off the teeth. Whatever you do, don't let the slide pull off the end!

8
Carefully clip the stitches that are securing the fabric stop at the end of the zipper.

Carefully clip the stitches that are securing the fabric stop at the end of the zipper.

9
We use our tack gun and shoot two tacks into the end of the zipper but you could also use a hot glue gun  to dab a little dot on the front side and back side of the zipper just below the slide.

We use our tack gun and shoot two tacks into the end of the zipper but you could also use a hot glue gun to dab a little dot on the front side and back side of the zipper just below the slide.

10
Secure the zipper to keep it from pulling apart and  so that the slide will not slip off the back and front ends.

Secure the zipper to keep it from pulling apart and so that the slide will not slip off the back and front ends.

11
Carefully remove the zipper.  Really sharp, pointy scissors is the key.  And also having an extra hand or two helps with this step to keep it pulled tight while snipping the stitches

Carefully remove the zipper. Really sharp, pointy scissors is the key. And also having an extra hand or two helps with this step to keep it pulled tight while snipping the stitches

12
When you've successfully removed the zipper from the cushion cover - sew both the zipper stops back onto the zipper ends.  Whatever you do don't let the zipper to pull apart or let the slide slip off

When you've successfully removed the zipper from the cushion cover - sew both the zipper stops back onto the zipper ends. Whatever you do don't let the zipper to pull apart or let the slide slip off

13
Clean all the old stitching off the lips of the zipper.  I use a wallpaper brush to remove all the old threads.  It works great.

Clean all the old stitching off the lips of the zipper. I use a wallpaper brush to remove all the old threads. It works great.

14
Reinforce by stitching back and forth.  Don't want that slide coming off!  It is a booger to get back on.  Set aside.

Reinforce by stitching back and forth. Don't want that slide coming off! It is a booger to get back on. Set aside.

15
Finish cutting all the pieces apart and smooth them out.  Unfortunately most of this fabric will melt if you try to iron it so just do the best you can to smooth the pieces out.

Finish cutting all the pieces apart and smooth them out. Unfortunately most of this fabric will melt if you try to iron it so just do the best you can to smooth the pieces out.

16
Remove the fabric covering the piping if you are using the existing piping.  Set aside.

Remove the fabric covering the piping if you are using the existing piping. Set aside.

17
Using the old cushion pieces, cut out your new front and back.

Using the old cushion pieces, cut out your new front and back.

18

Since I am adding a placket, so that the zipper can be positioned differently (across the bottom and continuing around one side), it is going to make it really easy to put the board and foam back in.

19
To do so, we cut two strips of fabric - each being the width of the foam plus 2" and the length of your cushion plus 6 inches to wrap around to the side.  My cushion was 42" so I cut mine 47" long

To do so, we cut two strips of fabric - each being the width of the foam plus 2" and the length of your cushion plus 6 inches to wrap around to the side. My cushion was 42" so I cut mine 47" long

20
Fold and press  them in half lengthwise.  Set aside.

Fold and press them in half lengthwise. Set aside.

21
Place one side of the placket on top of the zipper extending about 6" past the top of the zipper and stitch.  We are doing this so the zipper will unzip around one side of the cushion.

Place one side of the placket on top of the zipper extending about 6" past the top of the zipper and stitch. We are doing this so the zipper will unzip around one side of the cushion.

22
Place the other side of the placket, even with the first one at the top - and just slightly overlapping the zipper and previous stitching - and stitch.

Place the other side of the placket, even with the first one at the top - and just slightly overlapping the zipper and previous stitching - and stitch.

23
It will look like this on the back when you are finished.

It will look like this on the back when you are finished.

24
Figure the amount needed to be taken off the back and front at the bottom to allow for the placket we are adding.

Figure the amount needed to be taken off the back and front at the bottom to allow for the placket we are adding.

25
My cushion was 4" thick so I trimmed 1/2 that plus seam allowances (2 x 1/2") and overlap (1/2"). 3 1/2" total to be trimmed away.

My cushion was 4" thick so I trimmed 1/2 that plus seam allowances (2 x 1/2") and overlap (1/2"). 3 1/2" total to be trimmed away.

26
Now you can use the altered pieces as your pattern for your new cushion.

Now you can use the altered pieces as your pattern for your new cushion.

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And also the two old sides as the pattern for your new pieces.

And also the two old sides as the pattern for your new pieces.

28
Make sure you have a mirror image (a left and a right).

Make sure you have a mirror image (a left and a right).

29
Cover the piping using a velvet zipper foot.  This is sometimes called a center stitch zipper foot.

Cover the piping using a velvet zipper foot. This is sometimes called a center stitch zipper foot.

30
Fold the fabric over the end ......

Fold the fabric over the end ......

31
Then wrap the fabric around the piping/cord and stitch all the way down using a velvet foot.  This foot keeps the stitching away from the piping ........

Then wrap the fabric around the piping/cord and stitch all the way down using a velvet foot. This foot keeps the stitching away from the piping ........

32
so that when you sew it to the cushion with a regular zipper foot, you can get really close and the previous stitching is always concealed.

so that when you sew it to the cushion with a regular zipper foot, you can get really close and the previous stitching is always concealed.

33

Before reaching the end of the piping, stop stitching and fold the fabric over the end of the cord just as you did at the beginning of the piping.

34
With piping on bottom against feed dogs, place piping 1/2" from the end of the cushion front.

With piping on bottom against feed dogs, place piping 1/2" from the end of the cushion front.

35
Begin stitching.

Begin stitching.

36
Sewing it with the piping down against the feed dogs will keep the cover front from getting stretched out of shape and it will remain the same size  as the back.

Sewing it with the piping down against the feed dogs will keep the cover front from getting stretched out of shape and it will remain the same size as the back.

37
Pin cushion back to cushion front along the top where the piping was just applied

Pin cushion back to cushion front along the top where the piping was just applied

38
Sew the cushion back to the cushion front.  Use the previous stitch line where we just applied the piping as a guide.  Use a regular zipper foot to stitch close to the piping.

Sew the cushion back to the cushion front. Use the previous stitch line where we just applied the piping as a guide. Use a regular zipper foot to stitch close to the piping.

39
It will look like this.  Set aside.

It will look like this. Set aside.

40

Now its time to sew the ends to the zipper placket. But first you have to shorten one to allow for the extra 6" for the zipper to wrap around to the side.

41

Allow 1" for the seam allowances plus a 2" fold over. This keeps the zipper tab hidden and from getting damaged.

42
After doing so you will be left with 3" that one of the ends needs to be shortened.  This shortened end piece will be stitched to the zipper pull end of the zipper.

After doing so you will be left with 3" that one of the ends needs to be shortened. This shortened end piece will be stitched to the zipper pull end of the zipper.

43
Sew these two end pieces to either end of the zipper placket - making sure they are turned the same way if necessary.  Notice mine are curved on one end.

Sew these two end pieces to either end of the zipper placket - making sure they are turned the same way if necessary. Notice mine are curved on one end.

44

Find the middle of the cushion front and back pieces at the bottom where the zipper is going to be sewn. Mark with pins.

45

Fold the zipper placket in half lengthwise and find the middle. Mark with pins.

46

Line up the pins marking the middles of the zipper to the middles of the cushions.

47
Begin pinning zipper band to cushion front and back starting at the bottom corner of where the LONGEST side piece is attached to the zipper band.

Begin pinning zipper band to cushion front and back starting at the bottom corner of where the LONGEST side piece is attached to the zipper band.

48
Pin the middle of the ends/side pieces to the top of  the front and back where they are sewn to the piping

Pin the middle of the ends/side pieces to the top of the front and back where they are sewn to the piping

49

Put as many pins as necessary to keep the pieces aligned correctly and stitch all the way around.

50
The side that has the zipper continuing past the corner should have the  fold over to hide the zipper tab.

The side that has the zipper continuing past the corner should have the fold over to hide the zipper tab.

51
Begin stitching and continue all the way around.

Begin stitching and continue all the way around.

52
Clip corners making it easier to stitch around.

Clip corners making it easier to stitch around.

53
The cushion will still be inside out at this point.  Work the zipper tab to the up position and slide the zipper open.  Turn.

The cushion will still be inside out at this point. Work the zipper tab to the up position and slide the zipper open. Turn.

54

Now you are ready to insert your board and foam back into the cushion with little effort.

55

Cut a 12" piece of tufting twine and fold in half. Slip the fold through the loop of the button then pull the ends through the fold and pull tight.

56

Locate the holes in the board where the previous buttons were pulled through and pull the tufting twine with the tufting needle.

57

Separate the twine into two strings. Thread one through another button. Pull really tightly so that the front button is pulled in, tie a really tight knot. Clip strings. Dab knot with hot glue.

58

Repeat for second set of buttons.

59

If your cushion had the plastic seat locks, locate the previous holes and re-apply them in exactly the same place.

60
You're done!  I know it's a lot of steps but they look so much better than wrapping and stapling!!!  Happy Glamping!

You're done! I know it's a lot of steps but they look so much better than wrapping and stapling!!! Happy Glamping!

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