Monday, 3 March 2014

Easy to Sew Cushion Cover - just 4 seams!

Cushion covers are a perfect beginner sewing project. They are really easy, they WILL turn out great and you will be able to share the fruits of your labour with all who come round to your house. Sounds perfect eh! 

We needed new covers for a couple of our cushions. The reason we needed new covers is a sad tale of woe which I will share so you don't make the same mistake I did:
About 6 months ago I made two very lovely (though I do say so myself) cushion covers. I had some lovely woven brown fabric and a little bit of red left over fabric from something else. I messed about for a whole Sunday afternoon, making pin tucks and a wave design central panel. I was very happy with the results, much fancier sewing than I would normally do but they looked so nice it was worth the effort.
Fast forward just a few weeks and look (and they looked worse in real life)

This brown fabric is not suitable for the rough and tumble of family life. I've lost track of how many times I have patiently de-pilled these covers. 
Note to self - Choose your fabric carefully! I think that maybe, just maybe upholstery fabric is called that because it is suitable for upholstery!

Time for nice new covers.

I'm sure the internet is awash with tutorials on how to make super easy cushion covers, and I'm sure they are all variations on a theme. In case you want to make some like my nice new ones, here's what I did, with what I hope are helpful photos and diagrams. It also includes how to centre the pattern on the fabric if you want to. Dead easy, just 4 seams, I promise.

You need:
Thread in a matching colour
Tape Measure
Sewing Machine (or a plenty of time if you are hand sewing this!) 
A cushion pad/old cushion

First you need to work out how much fabric you need. This depends on how big your cushion pad is.

My cushion pads are 15"x15". 
I picked up some bargain fabric from a beggar's basket in a local shop. Two pieces each 1/2 metre lengths and 45" wide. (this is plenty, I've got leftovers to use for something else)

You need to cut a long rectangle.
The short side will be 2 inches bigger than your cushion pad and the long side needs to be double your cushion pad plus another 8".
My cushion pad is 15"x15" so I cut my fabric 17" (that's 15+2) by 38" (that's double 15+another 8)
With me so far?

My fabric is stripy so I thought it would be nice if the stripes on the finished cushion were nice and central. To do this I measured, then marked with pins, a 15" central "chunk" of the fabric. This photo shows it best, there are pins by each arrow. the gap between them is 15".
So, from left to right we have 10", pin, 15", pin, 13"

Next we want to tidy up those short edges. Turn a hem on each, press with the iron then stitch (seams 1 & 2).
The selvage edge I just turned once.

The raw edge I turned 1/2" then turned again just so it's a bit neater. this is not essential as it all ends up inside in the end, just habit I guess. 

Lay your fabric out flat right side up, then fold where your pins are still marking the points along that long edge. Fold the slightly shorter "Flap" first.

Then fold the other "flap". It will look like this:
The arrows are where your pins are.

Pin across the ends like this:
Then stitch both ends (seams 3 & 4), allowing a 1" seam allowance.

Turn it right side out, press with the iron and you're finished.
 This is the back, where the flap is.

This is the front, where the flap isn't.

Insert your cushion pad in then toss it casually onto your chair or settee. Stand back to admire your work. Make yourself a tea or coffee, maybe even have a biscuit.

Confession time (what can go wrong)
When making the first cover I measured a little too short and my flap was not really big enough. The measurements I've shown above are the better ones, with a bigger overlap. See the difference:
Little overlap.

Bigger, better overlap.

When you pat it down they look the same, but I made this mistake so you don't have to. (I'm kind like that!) 

These lovely new covers have been in our house for about a month now, and just a couple of days ago our youngest was tossing them around (like you do) and suddenly noticed the gap in the back. "Wait a minute," he said, "these cushions are just our old cushions in disguise!"
You might also be interested in:
Lace Top Refashion
Lace Top Refashion
Infinity Loop Scarf
Infinity Loop Scarf
Owl Granny Square Cushion Cover
Owl Granny Square Cushion Cover
Tea Towel Totes
Tea Towel Totes
I'll be linking up to all these great link parties, why not go and have a look!

Sum of their Stories
Sum of their Stories

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.


  1. Great tutorial - thanks for sharing ( and correcting your mistake so we don't make it lol )
    They look perfect!

    1. Thanks Suzan, really making the mistake was my pleasure, anything I can do to help others!

  2. Observant child ;-). Cushions look great.

  3. Thanks for sharing your tutorial (and for gallently making mistakes so we don't have too) I must get round to making my own cushion covers.

    1. Oh yes Lucy, I'm good like that! Covers like this really are super quick, I don't know why I don't make them more often.

  4. The cushions look great, thanks for sharing how to do them.

  5. Beautiful cushions and a fabulous tutorial, Julia!!! I love that fabric you've chosen. I made the same mistake the first time I made a cushion.


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