Cushions are difficult to wash. This is especially true for outdoor cushions. Many people choose to simply purchase new cushions when the fabric fades, but making new cushion covers is easier than most people think, and often cheaper than buying new.
Simple envelope-style cushion covers do not require extensive sewing skills or even a sewing machine – though a machine does make the job go faster. Even those with a sewing machine need only use a simple straight stitch, and so it is not necessary to need to know how to use a sewing machine. The whole project can be done using a needle and thread. If using a machine, the finish work will be done by hand, so the basic skills of threading a needle, tying a knot, and sewing simple stitches are needed. Those who are unsure can practice on a piece of extra fabric before tackling the project.
Choosing a Fabric
When choosing a fabric, consider where the pillow will be used. If it is intended for indoor use, pretty much any fabric will do. If the cushion will be used outdoors, a heavy fabric that can withstand the elements should be used.
Also consider the pattern of a fabric. The fabric may be appealing in the store, but when cut into a 42cm square, it may lose some of the pattern. A quick wrapping of the cushion pad in the material will give an idea of what the finished product will look like.
Choosing a Cushion Pad
If the cushion will be brand new and not a recover, choose from one of the many styles of cushion pads available. For a first project, a simple square may be the easiest to tackle.
What You’ll Need
There should be a large area to work on, such as a dining table. The fabric will need to be laid out for cutting, and it must be perfectly flat for accuracy. Gather these materials to get started:
- Cushion pad
- Measuring tape
- Needle and thread
- Sewing machine (optional)
Steps for Sewing a Cushion Cover
- Measure the pillow or cushion. Either measure the previous cover, or use the measuring tape to measure across the cushion pad horizontally and vertically.
- Add for seam allowance. Add 3cm for the seam all around. For example, if the cushion pad measures 42cm square, cut a 45cm square piece of fabric.
- Decide how to cut. Determine where to cut fabric by first wrapping the cushion in the fabric to see how the pattern will look on the finished cushion. Use a non-permanent marker to designate where the fabric should be cut if not directly on the edge.
- Cut the fabric. Lay the fabric out flat on the table and use the measuring tape to mark the cutting line. Be sure to start measuring from the marks made in Step 3. Use as many marks as necessary to ensure the fabric will be cut in a straight line. Cut two pieces of fabric, one for the front and one for the back of the cushion.
- Pin the cover. Place the right sides of the fabric facing each other, meaning the sides with the pattern on them. The cover will look inside out. Pin the edges to hold the fabric in place.
- Sew three of the seams. Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew three sides of the cushion cover. The stitches should be 3cm from the edge of the fabric, all the way around.
- Sew the fourth seam halfway. Room must be left for the cushion pad to be inserted into the cushion cover. Only sew the fourth side halfway, or less depending on how flexible the cushion pad is. The pad must be able to fit through the hole.
- Insert the cushion pad. Turn the fabric right side out, making sure to push the corners so the cover is the correct shape. Fold the cushion pad and stuff it through the open space into the cover.
- Finish the seam. The cushion cover should look nearly complete. Use a needle and thread to stitch up the opening through which the pad was inserted.
Making simple, envelope-style cushion covers is an excellent first-time sewing project. However, a local store does not always have the right cushion, in the right size, and so it is important to search for the correct cushion. Once this has been located, making a cushion cover is simple and fun. Learning to sew a cushion cover opens up the world of fabric to home décor.