I love making cushions (throw pillows) for around the house! They are an easy way to introduce colour, pattern, and fun to your décor without a big investment. And they can be mixed and matched in various ways for a completely new look. Being able to make your own also means that you have the option of using any fabrics you like for a completely individual look.
All you need to follow this sew-along is a basic working knowledge of your own sewing machine.
Start with the cushion to stuff inside. Perhaps you have an old one around that house that needs a fresh new look?
- Cotton Thread
- Trim e.g. Piping (optional)
- Sewing Machine with zipper foot
- Measuring Tape/Ruler
- Fabric Marking Pencil or Tailor's Chalk
- Quilter's Rule, Rotary Cutter, Cutting Mat (optional)
Start by measuring the cushion/filler so that you know what size to make the cover. Measure it along the top and bottom edge rather than across the fullest part of the cushion. Then add about 2cm to both the length and width to allow for a 1cm seam around each side i.e. if your cushion filler is 45cm x 30cm, then your fabric will need to be 47cm x 32cm.
Cut the fabric for the front and back. A quilter's rule, rotary cutter and cutting mat make this job easier, but alternatively you can just use a scissors.
If you wish to use piping to trim the edges of your cushion cover, now is the time to add it. Otherwise, please refer to: Cushion Cover: Hidden Zipper
Start by pinning the piping around the front piece of the cushion cover. Pin it so that the raw edges of the piping face outwards towards the raw edges of the fabric.
Note: Usually you will place the piping closer to the edge of the fabric, but I realised that I had allowed more than I needed for the seams, which is why there is excess fabric around the edges.
Where the ends of the piping meet, simply overlap them - I promise that you will hardly notice the join when it's all finished.
To stitch on the piping, you will need to use the zipper foot on your sewing machine as the piping is too bulky to pass underneath the regular foot. Be sure to set your needle to the side position as the zipper foot cannot be used with the sewing machine needle in the centre position.
Trim off the excess piping once it is stitched in place.
As promised, the join is inconspicuous from the outside.
Can you spot it?!
Next, centre the zip along the bottom edge and pin one half of it onto the front of the cover. Make sure that the zipper pull is facing inwards, face down against the right side of the fabric.
Aim to tuck the teeth of the zip in behind the piping so that it is less visible.
Again using the zipper foot, stitch the first half of the zip onto the front of the cushion cover.
Making sure it is centred, and with right sides of the fabric together, pin the other side of the zip onto the bottom edge of the cushion cover back and stitch it into place.
It should now look like this:
Now, with right sides together (inside-out), pin the other three sides together.
Note: the sides should not be offset like they are in this picture - when I realised I had included more seam allowance than I needed, I changed my mind about what part of the fabric pattern I wanted to show on the cushion back, so I shifted the fabric slightly. Generally you should have all the sides match each other and be overlaid perfectly with no extra fabric hanging out the sides. You can see a better example of this here: Cushion Cover: Hidden Zipper
Again using the zipper foot, sew the front and back together from one end of the zip, around all three sides, and all the way to the other end of the zip. You will be able to feel the piping through the fabric - stitch on the outer side of the piping and aim to make your stitches as close to the piping as possible so that it looks nice and neat from the outside when finished.
At each end, make sure that your stitches overlap with where you sewed on the zipper at the bottom so that there are no gaps in the seam.
Even ensuring that the seam is closed all the way around with no gaps, because we can't see the zip when the cushion cover is inside-out, it's possible that the ends of the zip will still be visible from the outside.
Obviously we don't want this, so we'll need to fix it. If you turn the cover inside-out, you will probably see the difference between the stitching that's holding the zip in place and the stitching that goes around the other three sides.
My finger is pointing to where I had originally sewn around the stopper at the end of the zipper, which is why it's now exposed when viewed from the outside. To hide it, we need to stitch inside the teeth a little at either end. This helps to bed it in a little better and keeps the zipper concealed.
So we can just go back over each end of the zipper now and make a short row of stitches to hide that.
Don't worry if it looks strange on the inside because, when you flip it around, the zipper is now neatly hidden on the outside.
As I mentioned above, we should aim to stitch as close to the piping as possible in order to make it look neat. But this can be tricky to do at the corners, so you might find that they end up looking like this:
To make neater corners, we can just go back over them again, sewing even closer to the edge of the piping - it's always easier the second time around when everything else is already stitched into place. Also, it usually works out better if you actually round off the corners at this point.
Ah! That's better!
Now it's time for some finishing touches. Firstly, trim off the excess fabric from the inside corners so that they aren't too bulky.
Something that really bugs me about some store-bought cushions is when the insides come straggling out of the opening and get caught in the zip!
To prevent that from happening, I like to trim the seams and bind them onto the edges of the zipper using a zig-zag stitch. You will need to use the regular foot on your sewing machine and re-centre the needle in order to do this.
Do the same around all the seam edges to prevent them from fraying.
Turn the cushion cover right-side out and press it, then stuff it with the cushion filler. And that’s it! Now you can make your very own professional-looking cushion covers in the fabrics of your choice!
If you would like to find out more about the fabric I used on this project, click on over to My Fabric Stash.