Tutorial #03 – Super Simple Cushion Cover

If you haven’t seen it yet, my daughter Megan and I are doing “A Do A Day, for the month of May” over at Closet Geek Makes instagram (and her artwork account m.artwork). Every day there is prompts that people can interpret however they want, just sharing a photograph, writing a poem or story, doing a doodle or drawing, making, baking, you name it! As part of this, I will be sharing some more tutorials to tie in with the prompts. Today’s (Day 2) prompt is Astronomy which explains the use of the fabric in this tutorial. Sadly its a stretch fabric and I wouldn’t generally recommend working with stretch, especially for a cushion cover. However my daughter Lily has wanted a cushion making out of this fabric for almost a year now and it seemed a good excuse to get it done.

What you will need:

  • Fabric – I recommend cotton as its easy to work with. You shouldn’t need too much. Less than a metre probably, but more than a fat quarter. Obviously it depends on the cushion cover size you’re making but I’ll explain below.
  • A ruler or tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread

Step 1. The first thing you’re going to need to do is measure your cushion (or if you’ve just bought it and happen to know, then that’s great too). My cushion is the one I sell for my reading cushions and I know they are 40cm by 40cm.

Step 2. Once you know the cushion size, you’re going to have to draw a square on fabric that is 1cm larger on all sizes. So it should be 42cm by 42cm if you’re using the same size cushion as me. You will also need two rectangle shapes, that are the same measurement on one length, but then only about 2/3rds the measurement on the other length. Again, using my example this would be 42cm on one side and 28cm on the other (to work that out I just divided 42 by 3 to give me 1/3rd and doubled it to give me 2/3rds). If you are using a pattern fabric that has a right and wrong way up, then the placement of the square doesn’t matter too much as its the same on all sides, but the two rectangles want to be standing up tall, not laying down flat, if that makes sense! I didn’t have space to show you all the pieces laying flat out so I folded them as a representation of that you should have. Three pieces, one square and two rectangles.

Step 3. The square is the front of your cushion and the rectangles are the back. Even though they won’t be seen much, we’re going to edge the pieces of the back that will at least be visible. To do this you need to lay each rectangle down and fold over one edge twice. It only needs to be a small amount of fabric that you turn over. This is just to create a hem. Pin it in place to make sure it doesn’t move while you sew it.

Step 4. Sew the hem on both rectangle pieces. Remember it only needs to be along one edge, the long edge. I’m not sure how to explain which side to sew because it would depend which way around your fabric is but hopefully you can understand from the pictures.

Step 5. Move the sewing machine out of the way so you can assemble your cushion. First place the square piece down. The pattern side (the side you want to see once it’s made) should be facing upwards towards you, and the back (the inside) should be flat against the table. Next take one of the rectangle pieces and line it up against one edge, with the hem part towards the middle of the cushion (it won’t be directly middle because we made the piece 2/3rds the size). Make sure these pieces of fabric are facing inwards, so the pattern pieces are down against the other piece of fabric and the wrong side (the inside) is facing you. Again, hopefully you can understand from the picture. Place pins around the edge to secure the fabric in place, then repeat with the other piece of fabric, so that the two hemmed edges should overlap, around the middle of the cushion.

Step 6. Sew all around the edge of the cushion, approximately 1cm in from the edge. This is about the width of most sewing machine feet so just keep the foot in line with the edge of the fabric. Be careful to remove each of the pins as you come up to it. When you’re sewing the part where the pieces overlap (around the middle), be careful of hidden pins you may have put in. The fabric will have extra thickness in this middle section too, so just be sure to catch it all properly. Once you have sewn around the full square, cut off the access fabric. I use pinking shears for this as I have mentioned in a previous tutorial, but it’s not essential. Cut close to the sewn line but not so close you might cut the thread you have sewn. If you aren’t using pinking shears, also cut across each corner diagonally as it will make a better corner once you turn it the right way round.

Step 7. Turn your cushion the right way around. Using the flap you have created (currently at the front), reach inside and grab some cushion, pulling it out the gap. Once you have turned it the right way around, poke your fingers inside each of the corners, to give yourself a good point. Finally, stuff the cushion inside, using the gap where the flaps are. Give it a good shake or plump it up, whatever you would do to give a good shape to your cushion. And you’re done! A simple cushion cover, easy to remove for washing but more importantly it doesn’t have a zip for you to catch yourself on.

Please note that images have been shrunk for the sake of the tutorial post but if you click on them individually they will open slightly larger will may help you see some of the closer up details and instructions.
Feel free to drop your comments below and if you end up making a cushion cover, post a picture in the comments too. Obviously this project has also been shared to my instagram account closetgeekmakes and if you tag me there I’ll share your projects in my stories!

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