Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Make a Simple Cushion Cover

When we sold the house before the place where I live now, my husband and I gave in to a home staging trend that was popular at that time. We succumbed to beige (well actually beige, taupe, cafe au lait, and paper bag brown; you know the group of colours to which I'm referring) in the hope that the neutral colours would appeal to the widest possible range                                                                                of prospective buyers. 

Our strategy worked and I'm grateful for that, but now I'm that I'm settled into my apartment I find that the warm neutrals we used for staging are not my cup of tea at all. I'm a bright colours kinda gal.

Because I'm on a limited income and don't like to waste things, I'm stuck with those staging accessories and linens whether I love them or not.  I've spent a lot of time in the past few years trying different approaches to my decor dilemma and I've finally arrived at a solution that works for me: I use home sewn quilts, throws, and cushion covers to cover up the beige-ness of those staging goods, and I change these new linens to suit the seasons.

I recently changed my living room textiles over to spring colours and thought that, since I was sewing new cushion covers, it might be fun to share instructions for this simple project with you.  

Here's one of the cushions I decided to recover, together with the fabric I used for the cushion cover's front. 

The first step in making a cushion cover is to measure the cushion you'll be covering.  Mine was square so I only needed to measure in one direction but if you were covering a rectangular cushion, you'd need to measure both the cushion's length and its width.
The next step is to calculate the sizes of the fabric pieces you'll need to cut.  

I use a 1/4 inch seam allowance and there is one seam sewn on each side of the fabric, so when cutting the fabric for the front of the cushion cover I added 1/2 inch to both the height and width of the cushion's measurements.  This cushion is 17 inches square so I cut the front piece to 17-1/2 inches by 17-1/2 inches.

The back pieces are a little more complicated.  

Start by dividing the cushion's length measurement by 2.  In the case of my cushion cover, this meant that the base measurement on which the back pieces were based was 17 inches wide by 8-1/2 inches tall.

Add 2 inches to the length of one piece for overlap.

Add 1 inch to the length of both pieces for the hem allowance.                                                                        
Add 1/4 inch to each side  of both pieces for seam allowances.

Add 1/4 inch to the bottom edge of each piece for a seam allowance.

For my cushion cover this yielded one piece that was 17-1/2 inches wide and 11-3/4 inches tall and another that was 17-1/2 inches wide and 9-3/4 inches tall.  I've broken down my calculations in the diagrams below.

Once you've done the math and cut your pieces, the hardest part of the whole project is behind you.  :)

I like to make my patterned fabric stretch over as many projects as possible so I used my print fabric for the front piece of my cushion cover and some plain cotton broadcloth for the back pieces.  

Start by hemming both of the back pieces.  Fold 1/2 inch one of the wide edges over to the wrong side of the fabric and press it. Fold over  another 1/2 inch, press the edge, and pin it in place. Top stitch closely beside the open edge of the hem.
With right sides facing together pin the shorter of the two back pieces to the front piece of the cushion cover.  The hem of the back piece should align with the horizontal center of the the front piece.
With the wrong side out and the hem of the second back piece overlapping the first back piece, pin the second back piece of the cushion cover in place.  There should be 2 inches of fabric overlapping at the middle of the cover.
Stitch around all four sides of the fabric.  I like to finish my seams with zig zag stitch.  
Clip at a 45 degree angle from the fabric's edge just above the corners, close to the stitch line.
Turn the cover right side out and use a narrow object to push the corners out so they're nice and pointy. (There are tools specially designed for this but I just use a large plastic knitting needle.)
And that's it.  You're done!  Press the finished cushion cover, tuck your cushion inside, and display your work proudly.  

This post has been linked to the May Day edition of The Hearth and Soul Link Party.  There are lots of wonderful ideas there.  Stop in and take a look.  :)

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