Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Make Furniture Cushions

Simple cushions can add accents.

Pillows and pillow covers are easy to make. Create your own color scheme and style by selecting unique fabrics or using quilt blocks as the basic fabric. The fabrics and construction can be as simple or complex as you wish, depending partly on your level of craftsmanship. Does this Spark an idea?


Simple Throw Pillow

1. Measure the area where the pillow will usually rest. For this type of pillow, measurement need not be exact, but should be close.

2. Select a fabric that will provide an accent or blend in with the general decor of the intended location. Bright cottons are often a good choice. If the couch or chair the pillow will rest on has a design, solid colors are a good choice. If the intended spot is a solid color, a bright print or stripe may be appropriate.

3. Measure out the intended shape on a piece of newspaper. Make a half-inch border around the original measurements. This is your seam allowance. Cut out the pattern along the outside line.

4. Fold the fabric so that the right sides are together (inside out). Pin the pattern to the fabric, placing it in one corner of the fabric to have less wasted material. Cut out the two pieces of material at the same time.

5. Remove the pattern, but pin the two pieces of material together, keeping the right sides together.

6. Sew up three sides of the pillow, using a sewing machine. Leave the fourth side open. Turn right side out.

7. Stuff the pillow. A fiberfill pillow form, loose cotton stuffing or a foam pillow form are all good choices. If none of these are available, an old quilt bat, cloth rags that cannot be used for anything else or even straw will do. If straw is used, it is a good idea to use a double layer of fabric, as it can be a bit prickly.

8. Fold in the edges of the fourth side, after the pillow is satisfactorily stuffed. Use a whip stitch to sew up the fourth side about three-fourths of the way across. If a loose stuffing has been used, you can now add a little more stuffing to make sure the pillow is well-filled. Finish sewing up the side and complete the seam with a sewing knot.

Replacement Cushions

9. Place the old chair or couch cushion on a newspaper and draw around it to get the outline. This is especially important if it is an over-stuffed chair with a cushion that has little ears that extend to either side of the seat.

10. Use a cloth tape measure or string to determine the circumference of the outer rim of the cushion. Measure the height of the cushion from the bottom edge where it rests on the chair to the top edge where people normally sit on it.

11. Draw a line about a half-inch out from the pattern line you made tracing the cushion shape. This is a seam allowance. Cut out the pattern on the outside line.

12. Select your fabric. Upholstery fabric, medium-weight denim or medium-weight canvas are good choices. If it is not possible to match the original fabric, select a color that will complement the existing upholstery.

13. Cut two pieces using the pattern. Then use the circumference length to measure the length of the edge section and the height of the cushion to determine the width of the edge section. Add a half-inch all around for a seam allowance. Cut out the edge piece.

14. Pin the edge piece to the top piece, keeping wrong sides together. If at all possible, use a sewing machine to stitch the two pieces together. Pin the bottom to the edge piece, keeping wrong sides together. Pin the ends of the edge piece together. Stitch the ends of the edge piece together. Stitch three sides of the bottom together. Turn right side out.

15. Insert the old cushion or cut a cushion shape from foam and insert it. If neither of these options are possible, stuff the pillow firmly with cotton fiberfill, old rags or straw. (The last two are last resorts for when nothing else is available.)

16. Double check to make sure the cushion fits the chair. If you have a good fit, tuck in the edges along the opening on the fourth side on the bottom. Stitch it shut, using a whip stitch. You may want to stitch along it twice to make sure it will not pop open.

Tags: edge piece, fourth side, sides together, make sure, seam allowance