Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Part 2 - Easy to Make Cushion Covers

These cushions are for a friend who has a large piece of land, a beautiful garden and a new summer house which she built last year.  It sits on top of a slope and looks out over the garden and the town nearby.  In the garden are flowers and vegetables, sheep, a goat and some chickens. The summer house is furnished with sofas, chairs, book cases, fairy lights and other lovely things. We spent a glorious afternoon last summer, looking at the view, drinking tea and enjoying the warm weather. When I saw this fabric, I thought of her.  These cushions will be perfect for her little house. They can be made in two to three hours (if you are not photographing each stage as well). The glory of cushion covers is that you only need 1/2 metre of fabric to make two and therefore you can buy more expensive fabric if you fancy it.

You will need furnishing fabric and a little over 2 metres of wide bias binding as well as 2 1/2 metres of cord.

I bought 1/2 metre of fabric which was 150cm wide, enough for two square or one oblong (44cm x 27cm)  and one square cushion (33cm x 33cm). I really had to squeeze the oblong cushion out, but I have done it before and by only putting cording on the two short ends, it becomes a bit posh.  The square cushion has the cording on all four sides.

Here's how I did it:

The fabric.  Who could resist it?

The cushions.  Both just cheap cushions from IKEA.
Warning.  If you are going to cover a bold print with a light fabric, you will need to line it. These were okay as the fabric is heavy.

For the oblong cushion, I measured the length of the fabric and doubled it, adding as much seam allowance as I could.  (2 cm is best but I didn't have that much to play with). The cushion cover is made by folding the fabric over. This means fewer seams and better use of limited fabric as this print cannot go vertically. Measure carefully, adding 2 cm for seam allowances on all sides and mark your fabric using a straight edge and chalk or pencil. 

Here you can see the fabric folded over and I have measured the bias binding to be longer than the sides of the cushion. Better to err on the big side.

It is a good idea to press the bias binding flat.  I failed to do this but I would do it next time as it kept folding over as I worked.  Very annoying.  Place the cord in the centre of the binding, fold over and stitch with a zipper foot as near to the cord as you can get.
Pinning the binding and the cord.

Stitching the binding with a zipper foot as close to the cord as possible.

Fold the oblong fabric in half and mark the fold with a little notch.  I have put the seam binding under the notch so you can see it better.

Place the seam binding (with cord) on the right side of the fabric with the raw edges all matching.  Stitch in place with a zipper foot, twisting the cording at the last moment near the notch so you will have a finished edge when you stitch the cushion cover together.

Twisting the cording at the very end to give a neat finish when you stitch the cushion together.

Fold the cushion cover in half, right sides together and stitch along the previous line  of  stitching, ensuring that you  have twisted the raw edge of the cording for a neat finish.

Stitching the end with the cording twisted to the outside and coming out a little. This will give a finished edge on the right side of the cushion cover.

Stitch  about one third of the long edges together from each side.

Backstitch to secure the seam.

Turn the cushion cover to the right side and press.  Stuff the cushion in.  This was a bit of a mission for me, but it is best to have the cushion nice and plump. Turn under the raw edges and pin.  Stitch by hand making your stitches as invisible as you possibly can. 

For the square cushion, cut two squares to the size of the cushion plus 2 cm on each side for seam allowances.  I tried to 'fussy cut' as much as I could. Measure the bias binding to go all around the cushion and add at least 8 cm if you can.  Best to have more than not enough. Stitch the cord inside the bias binding as shown for the oblong cushion.  This will be much longer.

Pin or tack the cording around the edges of one side, clipping the binding to ease around the curve of the corners.  It will look better if it is curved and it is easier to sew this way.

Stitch the cording onto the right side of one square, overlapping and twisting both ends and stitching right through them to make a neat edge.  I always do this at the bottom of the cushion.

With right sides together, stitch the two pieces of the cushion cover together, making sure that the pattern goes the same way on each of them.  Leave a gap on the bottom edge.  Clip the corners, turn, press and stuff the cushion in.
Turn seams allowances under and stitch closed by hand.

The finished cushions (almost).  Just waiting for hand stitching.

Here are two I made earlier.


  1. I'd never thought about cording only on the ends of a rectangular cushion, but now I see it on yours, I agree it does look quite smart!

    Thank you for this tutorial. I am always buying remnants of fabric intending to make them into cushions with piping, and never do!


  2. I was the lucky recepient. I adore my cushions, even more honoured when I see all the hard work.