Sunday, 16 November 2014

Quilted Cushion Cover Tutorial - UPDATED AS A NEW POST (READ BELOW)

Quilted Cushion Cover Tutorial
Quilted Cushion Cover Tutorial

I made my Nan this cushion cover for her birthday and I just couldn't resist sharing the love. These instructions are for a quilted cushion cover but I have provided some suggestions if you want to avoid quilting. 

You will need:

  • 11 fabric strips, 2.5'' wide x 16'' long. I love using strips from a jelly roll for this as they're already 2.5'' wide and will be in a coordinating fabric range. 
  • Batting, approximately 16'' x 16''.
  • Backing fabric: Two pieces sized 14.5'' x 10.5''
  • Scrap fabric for the quilted backing, slightly larger than the batting. This will end up on the inside of the cushion so it doesn't need to be anything fancy. 
  • Size 14 cushion (36cm x 36cm).
Firstly figure out the order you want the fabric strips to appear in e.g. darkest to lightest. I find taking a photo and viewing it through my camera phone gives me a better idea of how the final product will look.

With right sides together and using a 1/4'' seam, sew the first and second strip along the long edge.

A few points to note:
  • You don't need to backstitch at the start or end of the seam. 
  • I like to set my stitch length shorter to make the seams less likely to unravel when I cut through them later.
  • You will see in the photos that I am using a 1/4'' foot on my machine.  You don't need to race out and buy one. You can easily use the markings on your machine or place some tape 1/4'' from the needle to use as a guide. 

Sew the first two strips along the long edge.
The first two strips sewn together.
I place a clip or pin on the first strip as a reminder. There has been far too much time spent unpicking after sewing strips to the wrong side lol. 

Continue adding strips until you have 11. Now is a great time to double check that you have them in the correct order. 
Eleven strips sewn in order.
Press all the seams in the same direction. You can do this as you go but I find it quicker to wait until now. 
Press the seams.
It is important to press the iron down rather than dragging it across the fabric, as you would when ironing clothes. This will help to prevent the fabric from being pulled or stretched. 
All the seams are pressed in the same direction.
Lay the strips on your cutting mat and straighten one side. Make sure your seams are straight when you do this or you will end up with angled pieces. Ask me how I know ;)
Neaten the side, making sure the seams are straight.
Using the straight edge you just cut as a guide, cut 6 x 2.5'' sections. Again, make sure your seams are straight. 
Cut 6, 2.5'' sections, making sure the seams are straight.
Six sections.
Take three of the sections and press the seams in the opposite direction. This will allow you to easily join them in the next step. 

You should now have two groups of three strips. In my case, I have one group with the seams pressed toward the green and another with the seams pressed away from the green. 

Take one strip from each group. With right sides together, stagger the strips so the first seam of one strip is lined up with the second seam of the other strip. See where the pen is pointing below?
Stagger the strips.
The seams should nest together. This is why you have them pressed in opposite directions. 
The seams will nest together nicely.
Pin this seam in place. I use Clover Wonderclips in place of pins.

You can continue on and pin the remaining seams along the strip, but I usually don't bother. The distance between them is so small that I find easier just to match them as I sew. 
Pin the first seam.
Sew the strips together using a 1/4'' seam. 
Sew the strips using a 1/4'' seam.
A little tip for keeping you seams neat when they're not pinned...
I stop sewing as soon as the needle passes the first seam.  I then nest the next seam and hold it in place, with my fingers, as I sew. Once the needle passes that seam I stop and prepare the next and so on until I reach the end. If you take your time and stop at each seam, you will see how easily it falls into place. 
Stop at each seam, prepare the next seam and sew slowly.
The first two strips sewn together.

Press the seam. Unlike earlier, I find it easier to press as I go for these seams.

Continuing adding strips in this method until all six are sewn together. Remember to stagger the strips and press as you go.

Remember to stagger the strips as you add them.
Now comes the magic! We need to cut diagonally through our strips. See the black line in the image below for the direction of the cut.

Cut diagonally through the strips.
Try and keep the cut as neat as possible and go through the middle of each square (see below). The first and last squares will be slightly off centre due to the seam allowance. Don't panic if things aren't perfectly lined up. Just be as accurate as possible.

You want to be cutting directly through the middle of each square.
You now have two pieces.
Switch the two pieces around. I.e. Take the right piece and place it on the left and the left piece on the right. The cut edged will be on the outside.

Switch the pieces around, with the cut edges on the outside.
Using the same technique we did to join the strips, sew this seam.  Remember to nest the seams together and keep the staggered look as shown below. 
Stagger your seams and sew as before.

How great does that look!!!! It's times like this I really love what I do. 

Square off the piece to be roughly 14.5'' x 14.5''. I just slice off the top and bottom triangles...

Cut off the top and bottom triangles.
...and then slice off the sides to the correct size. I'm not to fussy about where I make these cuts, so long as it's neat and tidy.

Note: You could do the quilting before you cut the front to size but I don't usually bother for these cushions.
Cut off the sides to measure 14.5'' x 14.5''.
Neat, tidy and ready for quilting.
Now we're ready for the quilting. If you want to avoid this step, you can simply use this piece 'as is' for the front. I have tried this with success, but love the quilted look. You may even choose to simply iron on some interfacing to give it extra stability.

Baste your cushion front to the batting and scrap backing fabric. You can use whatever method suits you. Pins, curved safety pins etc. I like to use basting spray. It keeps everything in place and means I can avoid pinning. 

Baste the cushion front, batting and scrap backing fabric.
Quilt the cushion front in your preferred method. I have used a walking foot to quilt lines 1/4'' to each side of the seams.

I quilted 1/4'' to each side of the seam.
I love how the back turned out. I used an aurifil 28 weight thread and it's just gorgeous. 
Don't stress if the back gets messy as it will be inside the cushion cover. 

It's almost a shame that this will be hidden inside the cushion.
Trim off the excess batting and scrap fabric, keeping the front at roughly 14.5'' x 14.5''.

Trim off the excess to complete your cushion front.
The front is finally ready so let's move on to the back.

Take your two pieces of backing fabric to hem the long edge (see where the pen is pointing). 

Hem along the long edge.
Fold the edge down 1/2'', press and then down another 1/2'' and press again. 

Hem the edge by double folding 1/2'' and pressing.
Sew the hem in place.

Sew the hem.
I like to sew two lines. One close the edge and another 1/8'' away.
Two lines sewn for the hem.
Both pieces hemmed and ready to go.
Now we're on the home stretch...

Take the front of the cushion and lay it right side up.

Front piece, right side up.
Take one backing piece and lay it on top of the front piece, right side down and with the hem in the centre. 

The first backing piece is placed right side down, with the hem in the centre.
Lay the second backing piece right side down and in the opposite direction to the first. 
The second piece is placed in the opposite direction to the first, with the right side down and the hem in the centre.
Pin the edges. 

Edges pinned.
Sew around all four edges, using a 1/4'' seam. You may wish to use your walking foot here but I don't usually bother. 

Sew the four edges, using a 1/4'' seam.
Finally, clip the corners and turn the cushion cover out the right way. Use a paint brush or other blunt object to push the corners out. Place the cushion inside and abracadabra....
The back of the cushion.
You have a beautiful quilted cushion.
A beautiful quilted cushion.
Please share your cushions on my Facebook Page or on Instagram using the hashtag #sewtodaypattern.

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  1. Lovely cushion and I'm sure your Nan will love it. Great step by step instructions and I think I need to try those Clover clips :)

    1. Thanks Debra. Nan loved her cushion. In fact, it was such a hit I had to make one for my brother too hahaha.
      The Clover Wonderclips are fantastic. I find them particularly useful as I have a toddler running around and worry about her little feet finding my stray pins ; )

  2. I love this so much. The tricky little tricky at the end is just amazing! I never would have discovered that by myself!. thanks for a great tutorial

    1. Thanks so much :D I love this technique. It looks really complicated or time consuming but its actually super easy.

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I was wondering what to make for my sister's birthday and I believe this is just the thing. i'm going to do it in Fall colors.

  4. Thanks for giving this idea to make cushion cover design. If you know that how to make Bed Linens design, please sent to me.