Monday, July 11, 2011

How to Make a Cushion

  I blogged earlier this morning about my project for the day.  Well, I have finished one cushion, so I thought I would go ahead and take a break to show you guys how to make your own cushions.  (I can only sew for so long before I get annoyed. LOL)  First of all, you have to purchase the supplies to make your cushions.  What you will need:
  • Foam--Foam can be purchased at most fabric and craft stores.  You can purchase pre-cut squares, or you can buy a certain amount to cut yourself.  I bought the foam to cut myself because it was a better bargain.  My foam is two inches thick.  I would have loved to have a thicker foam, but the thicker the foam, the more expensive.  So I settled. 
  • Electric Carving Knife--You only need this item if you are cutting your own foam.  I just borrowed my mom's.
  • Fabric--You can use any type of fabric for your cushions.  I chose an outdoor fabric because I thought it would hold up better than regular fabric.  I purchased my fabric from  It's Waverly's Sun N Shade Getaway Stripe Walnut.  The fabric was $5.49 a yard, and orders over a certain amount get free shipping.  You will have to decide how much fabric you need by measuring the seat of your chair.  (See how wide your fabric is too!)
  • Piping--Piping is not necessary, but it gives cushions a much more finished, professional look.
  • Thread--You need thread to match your fabric.
  • Paper--You need some type of paper to make a pattern of your chair.  (If your chair bottom is square or you're using precut foam, you don't really need this.)  I used wrapping paper!
  • Straight Pins--You're going to need a decent amount of straight pins.  I am a worrier when it comes to keeping things straight, so I pin EVERYTHING before I sew it.
  • Sewing Machine--Can you do this by hand? Yes.  Will you want to jump out of a window if you tried?  I know I would!
Step One:  Make a pattern of the bottom of your chair.  I just cut a piece of wrapping paper to fit the bottom, traced the edges of the seat with a pencil, and cut the shape.  There's probably a better way to do this, but it worked for me.  I also drew the measurements of the seat bottom on the pattern so I could double check the foam before I cut it.  I know the bottom edge of the pattern looks pretty ratty, but I was going to use the "factory edge" of the foam anyway.  Trace your pattern onto your foam.

Step Two:  Cut your foam according to your pattern.  Lay your foam as flat as possible on a table.  Cut with the electric carving knife, but don't cut the table! :)  Keep the knife parallel to the foam to get a nice, straight cut.  Tip: The edge will be much straighter if you can cut it once and be done, but that may not always be possible.  You need to try it in your chair to see if it fits correctly.  If it doesn't, cut more. :)

Step Three:  Cut your fabric.  Cut out two pieces the size of your foam with a half inch added all the way around.  The half inch will be your seam allowance.  Cut out one strip the thickness of your foam with a half inch added all the way around.  My foam was two inches, so I made my strip three inches wide.  Add an inch to the length for the seam allowance also.(Since I had stripes, I cut a strip for the front of my cushion to match the stripe on the top of my fabric.  Then I cut a strip for the perimeter left over, plus an inch for seam allowance.)
Step Four: Sew your fabric together.  First, sew the ends of the long strip of fabric together.  Sew a half inch from the ends.  (That's what I meant when I said you would have a half-inch seam allowance.)  I did this twice since I had two strips.  And remember, you must put the right side of the fabric facing the right side of the fabric so the ugly stuff will be inside the cushion.  Then, you need to sandwich your piping between the right side of the sewn strip and the right side of one of the cushion size pieces of fabric.  The pretty piping part should be farthest from the edge.  I actually pinned my piping and then pinned my fabric together because I was worried it might move while I was sewing it together.
After everything is pinned, sew the fabric together.  Remember, you want to sew a half-inch from the edge.  Once you have those pieces sewn together, you need to repeat the process for the other side: sandwich your piping between the right sides of your fabric and pin.  This will be a bit more awkward to handle because you won't have an entire open side anymore.  Just be patient.  Also, remember that you will need to leave a hole open to turn the fabric inside out and slide your foam in after you finish sewing.  I pinned all the way around to make sure fabric fit together correctly and then took the pins out of the middle of the back of the cushion.  I DID NOT sew there, or there would be no way to get the foam in the fabric cover!  If you're a good seamstress, you could figure out how to put a zipper in the back, but I'm not that advanced. :)
Once you finish sewing everything but the hole, turn your fabric inside out, which will now be right side out.  Put your foam in your cushion.  Then pin the opening shut so you can hand stitch it closed.
This is the fabric pinned.  It doesn't look so wavy once it's sewn.
Sew the opening closed.  (Remember to fold the rough edges of the fabric down before you pin and sew.)
Step Five:  Put your finished cushion on your chair, and bask in the glory of its loveliness!!! :)

My cushion is a little curved in the middle right now.  My foam was stored rolled, so it needs to settle to flatten out.  And I know the chair's black, and the cushion has brown stripes.  When I finish the whole room, I'll post pictures and it will make sense.

If you have any easier ways to do anything I've listed, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.  And if you have any questions, post them there also!  Happy crafting! :)


  1. I've wanted to change out the cushions on our outdoor furniture for some time now, but I'm scared!! Your tutorial has been so very helpful. Thank you!!

  2. I am impressed. Look at you. And, yes, a carving knife makes cutting through that foam so easy. Your cushion turned out great.

    Is there anything you can't do?


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