Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tutorial: How To Make Simple Envelope Cushion Covers

I'm doing a tutorial for two reasons. Firstly, more than one person has asked me how I made my cushion covers. This is a method I improvised myself and may not be how others do it, but it always works for me. Secondly, since I'm now writing at the Daily Waffle, I thought I should temper the comic-centric tone of my articles with some crafting. The editor is looking for some How To guides, and if this tutorial seems clear and helpful, I might use it. So, apologies to my more experienced crafty readers, who will no doubt be able to do this in their sleep!

1. Choose your fabric. Any kind of non-stretch material is fine (stretchy material will probably work too but I'm not sure if this method is the best way for that kind of fabric.) I'm using a lovely remnant that matches my living room decor that my MIL Angie kindly gave me.

2. Measure your cuhion pad. Mine is 16 inches square. Measure across the fullest part. If it is very full, squash it down just a little before measuring.

2. Now to work out your fabric measurments. For the front of your cover, add one inch for seam allowances. Do this for both length and width. I end up with a front piece measuring 17"x17".

Front piece

3. For the back, things get a little tricky. Decide how large of an overlap you want for your envelope opening. As a rule of thumb, I usually use anywhere between 1/4 to 1/3 of the width of the cushion pad. Very large cushions tend to need bigger overlaps, and I've found that cushions in active households, like my own, fare better if they have generous overlaps. So, I'm using a 5 inch overlap. Add twice the overlap to your width, plus two inches for seam allowances (since you'll be seaming the overlap edges to finish them nicely as well as the sides.)
For me, this works outs as 16 + 10 + 2 = 28". The length is 17" as before. So, my back piece is 28"x17". Cut this in half. I have two pieces measuring 14" x 17" each.
Back piece cut in two

5. Take the back pieces and place them wrong side up. Fold a 1/2 inch seam along the inner cut edges towards the wrong side and press the fold. Turn it again, another 1/2 inch and press well. Your two pieces should look like this

Back pieces with seams folded and pressed.
6. Thread your machine with matching thread. Sew along the inner fold as shown below.

When you're done it should look like the picture below. Do this to both back pieces.

Wrong side                                  Right side
7. Place the front piece right side up. Place one half of the back piece right side down on top of the front piece with the seam you've just sewn towards the inside of the cushion. Make sure the edges and corners match up and any patterns are running in the same direction. Place the second half of the back piece, matching up the corners and edges on the other side of the front piece. The two seams should overlap. Pin in place.

All pinned and ready to go. Sorry about the picture quality - I was sewing quite late.
8. Sew it all up. I used an overcasting stitch first to control fraying and then stitched a single row of stitches 1/4" from the edge.
Sorry this is blurred. It was the best of a bad bunch.
9. Once all the stitching is done, cut all the long threads and turn the cover in the right way, taking care to poke out the corners as much as possible. Insert your cushion pad and you're done!

Back, you can just make out the edge of the opening.
I hope this was clear. I was having trouble explaining myself in places, since this is the first tutorial I've done. If anything seems unclear, please let me know so I can fine tune this before I submit it :)