I make all of my cushions from high quality brand new fabric which, in most cases, I pre-wash to test for shrinkage, colour fastness and after-wash condition. There is nothing worse that buying a great looking cushion that ends up looking like a dust-rag after the first washing. Of course there are some fabrics that can't be washed and definately need dry cleaning. Some cushions are made with a combination of fabrics, so care for these needs to be based on any fabric that needs special consideration. It may be just a matter of taking a little extra care when ironing a cushion that has a synthetic frill or piping and lace or trims. Every cushion comes with "Care for your cushion" advice.
The Outdoor cushions are made from fabric milled for outdoor use. These fabrics are Polyester or Acrylic and have the added benefit of being far more UV resistant than lighter weight cottons, linens, silks etc. Some of these have a built in resistance to soiling and are even moderately water repellent. Naturally, if they are left out in the pouring rain continuously they will lose those properties rather quickly. It is advisable to store them indoors or in a weather proof area when not in use. These fabrics cannot be thrown in the washing machine either, as that destroys their water and soil resistance. They can be dry cleaned or just wipe over with a damp cloth to remove surface dust and occassionally hand wash in lukewarm water with just a drop of mild dishwashing liquid to really freshen them up. Always drip dry in the shade, pulling into shape if needed. Very gently iron on a synthetic setting if needed and re-stuff with the correct sized insert.
Because I love plump, juicy cushions that hold their shape really well, I always stuff my cushions with an insert at least one size up from the cover (i.e. an 18" cover takes a 20" insert) The cheap, available-everywhere, polyester inserts were my usual choice in the past until I discovered the more Eco-Friendly PET fibre inserts and Corn Fibre inserts. These are a little more expensive, but they are becoming readily available through on-line stores and are well worth the effort of finding and using. These inserts are a bit firmer and last a lot longer than the cheap polyfill ones. The PET fibre is made from recycled drink bottles and when it's lost it's oomph.. you can toss it in the recycling bin to continue on it's useful journey. The Corn Fibre is actually compostible! Yep, you can bury it in the ground once you think it is no longer useful, and it will break right down and become worm food. It's okay... apparently it wont rot or decompose above ground even if it gets wet.
My cushions are all made with zippered covers for ease of cleaning and replacing inserts. Raw edges are overlocked and seams are sewn with high quality polycotton thread. Lightweight and sheer fabrics are interfaced or lined to give added strength and durability. I only make a limited number of each style/fabric because I want to offer purchasers something they can feel is unique, individual and custom-made. I will only make repeats of a cushion for clients who have previously purchased and want more of the same style, if the fabric is still available.