DIY Projects

March 11, 2009

DIY Hammock

Made of strong, durable awning fabric, an easy-to-sew hammock brings relaxed summer comfort to any yard.

Awning fabric is designed to stand up to sun and rain and these cosy hammocks are strung up with sturdy chains or nylon rope. For those who prefer a country look, our yellow-striped version is rigged up with white rope and wooden dowels. Add toss cushions made of scraps of gingham, toile and hankerchiefs and you’ve got a fresh, updated country-style hammock.

If a more industrial look appeals to you, our multi-stripe hammock hung on chains will fit the bill. Pair it with comfy box-style ground cushions for extra seating and a small city yard can seat even more summertime guests.

Both hammocks are designed to be tied between trees but can just as easily be affixed to hooks screwed into backyard fences or front porch walls. Let the lounging begin!

In this article:
Country-style hammock
City-slicker hammock
Box-style ground cushion
Terrycloth-covered neck roll

Country-style hammock

Step 1: Sew top and bottom hems

Measure 3″ from each end of hammock fabric and fold fabric back onto itself at these marks with wrong sides facing. Use your finger to crease another 3″ at each end and fold under at these creases to create your hem (if needed, use lowest setting of clothes iron to create a crisp crease; we suggest finger pressing as direct heat can shrink awning fabric). Sew across width of fabric at both ends, creating a 3″ hem. This larger hem stabilizes fabric for grommeting and makes for a stronger hammock.

Step 2: Add grommets

Measure in approximately 3-1/2″ from each side, 1-1/2″ from end and mark with tailor’s chalk for placement of outside grommets. Measure and mark for remaining grommets so they are equally spaced (approximately 3″ apart, 14 at each end). We had our hammock professionally grommeted at a marine-supply store but home grommeting kits will also work.

Step 3: Drill dowel

We used two pieces of dowel as our stabilizing bars for this hammock; without these the hammock would fold up into itself when hung. Line up dowel with grommet line and mark exact spots of grommets on dowel. Clamp dowel onto a work surface. Drill holes, beginning with a small drill bit and work up to a drill bit that creates a hole large enough for the 1/2″ diam. nylon rope to pass through easily. After all holes are drilled, sand the dowel lightly to smooth out any rough spots.

Step 4: Thread rope onto hammock

Spread hammock out on the ground. Measure across the width of the hammock to determine the centre (should be 23″ from each side). Place an o-ring, approximately 15″ beyond this centre mark and pin it in place on surface so it won’t shift. You will use one 25′ length of 1/4″-diam. twisted nylon rope at each end of the hammock. Knot one end of nylon rope and pass length through first grommet from back of hammock to front. Knot again above grommet so it won’t shift. Pass length through dowel hole, then diagonally up to and through o-ring. Continue process in reverse order to lace dowel in place. At 7th and 8th holes, tie another knot to prevent the dowel and hammock from touching. Continue until hammock is completely “laced.” You should have 6″ extra rope (at most). Trim after last knot is tied. Repeat this step at other end of hammock. Unpin o-rings.

Step 5: Adjust rope

Cut the 30′ nylon rope in half. This will allow 15′ of rope at each end of the hammock to tie around tree (adjust this length to suit the distance between your trees, and the length required to tie hammock at a comfortable height). Loop each length of rope through o-ring and knot to secure.

What it Cost

Fabric $105
Thread $4
Grommets $17
O-rings $8
Rope $24
Dowel $10
TOTAL $168

City-slicker hammock

This hammock is approximately 6-1/2′ long, which requires the yardage listed below. If you would like to make yours longer, determine the length of hammock you desire and add 6″ to this length for hems at top and bottom. The strength-to-weight ratio of the chain should be high — we used size 2/0 chain to handle a load of 255 lb. The length of extra chain needed will be determined by the distance between your trees.

Materials and Tools

  • 2 yards striped awning fabric
  • 1/4 yard solid awning fabric (for ends)
  • Synthetic topstitching thread (cotton thread can weaken in the sun)
  • Canvas needle for sewing machine
  • 14 1-1/4″ stainless steel grommets
  • 6 1/4″ S-hooks (3 per end)
  • 2 1/4″ quick links
  • 14′ double-loop chain (4 pieces @ 30″ each, 2 pieces @ 24″ each)
  • Extra double-loop chain
  • Walking foot attachment for sewing machine (optional; since heavy awning fabrics cannot be pinned or basted easily, this attachment holds fabric in place)
  • 2 pieces 40″-long x 1/4″-diam. steel rod

Step 1: Cut and attach end strips

Cut two strips of accent fabric to 4″ w. x 47″ l. (1″ longer than width of hammock to give 1/2″ hem at each end of strip). With raw edges together and wrong sides facing, sew a strip to each end of main hammock fabric. Flip fabric strip over and finger press along seam. Finger press the raw edge of strip 1/2″ under. Finger press 1/2″ hem inward at each side. Sew along two sides and one end of strip, leaving one side of pocket open to slip stabilizing rod into pocket.

Step 2: Place grommets and rod

Install 7 evenly spaced grommets along each end strip. Allow enough space between grommets and bottom seam of pocket strip for rod to be slipped into place. Once rod is in place, sew hem on open end to encase rod in pocket. Repeat at other end.

Step 3: Rig up chain

With hammock on ground, attach S-hooks at outer and middle grommets (three at each end). At middle grommet, hook 24″-long chain onto S-hook and pull straight back towards quick link. Hook 30″-long chains to S-hooks at each end. Pull diagonally toward quick link. Repeat at other end. With extra chain, link one end into quick link, wrap around tree and secure again in the same quick link.

What it Cost

Fabric $75
Thread $4
Grommets $25
S-hooks $6
Quick links $3
Double loop chain $30
Steel rod $11
TOTAL $154

Box-style ground cushion

Our ample, slouchy cushions measure 24″ x 24″. If you would like to make yours bigger or smaller, adjust measurements accordingly.

Materials and Tools

  • 2 yards solid awning fabric
  • 1/2 yard coordinating stripe awning fabric
  • 5-1/2 yards piping cord per cushion
  • Piping foot attachment for sewing machine (optional)
  • Synthetic topstitching thread
  • 24″-long zipper
  • One large bag foam chips or cotton batting
  • Seam ripper

Step 1: Cut fabrics

Cut two pieces of solid awning fabric to 25″ x 25″ (this allows for a 1/2″ seam allowance all around).

Step 2: Make piping

Cut 1-1/2″-wide strips of striped fabric widthwise across fabric. With right sides facing, sew these strips together, end to end, to make one long (96″) strip of fabric. Place piping cord in centre of strip (leaving 1″ without cord at ends) and with wrong sides facing, sew along edge to make piping. Repeat this step to make a second long piece of piping.

Step 3: Attach piping

With right sides facing and raw edges of piping cord and body fabric together, sew decorative piping all around top and bottom cushion pieces. Clip at point where piping cord meets its own beginning. Fold extra 1″ of fabric over meeting point and back under, so that it secures and covers spot where cord meets. Sew in place.

Step 4: Cut fabric for cushion sides

Cut one long strip of solid fabric measuring 73″ long by 4″ wide. Cut two strips of same fabric measuring 25″ long and 3″ wide.

Step 5: Sew zippered side

With right sides facing, sew 3″-wide strips together lengthwise with a 1″ seam allowance. Finger press seam open. Lay zipper face down on opened seam. Sew all around zipper to secure, then open seam with seam ripper.

Step 6: Assemble and sew pillow

With right sides facing, sew zippered piece to long strip at both ends to create one long loop of fabric. Sew this loop to top and bottom pieces of cushion, making sure zipper piece is sewn first and does not shift. At each corner, snip the fabric from raw edges in just under the 1/2″ seam allowance. This will create some “give” and allow you to pivot the fabric to sew corners more easily. Turn cushion right side out and fill 3/4 full of foam chips or until cushion is still firm for sitting but slouchy and softer-looking than standard box cushions.

What it Cost

Fabric $82
Piping cord $8
Thread $4
Zipper $2
Stuffing $12
TOTAL $108

Terrycloth-covered neck roll

Materials and Tools

  • 1 terrycloth bath towel
  • 10″-long zipper
  • Seam ripper
  • 8′ of 3/4″-wide white grosgrain ribbon
  • 1 bolster cushion form, 18″ l. x 6″ diam.

Step 1: Make ends of cover

Measure and cut two 7″-diam. circles from the bath towel (for a 1/2″ seam allowance).

Step 2: Form body of cover

Measure circumference of bolster. Add 1″ to this measurement. Cut a piece of terrycloth towel to this measurement deep and 19″ long. With right sides together, sew along 19″ seam. Press this seam open, lay your zipper centred within the seam face down and sew all around zipper. Using a seam ripper, open up seam. You will have a zippered tube.

Step 3: Attach ribbons and ends

Cut ribbon in half, then fold each piece in half to make loops. Pin terrycloth circles to bolster tube, right sides together, sandwiching ribbon ends in between. Sew all around. You may want to “back tack” your seam in a few spots over ribbon to reinforce seam. Repeat at other end. Unzip zipper, turn cushion cover right side out and insert bolster. Cut ribbon loops in half to make two sets of ties.

What it Cost

Cushion form $6
Towel (for pillow cover) $10
Zipper $1
Ribbon $8