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Wednesday, November 5, 2008
tutorial: Dead simple cushion covers
These cushion covers are really, really simple. You'll need a design in mind, something simple is better to start, some material and a needle and thread. THat's it. Fleece is perfect for this project, it's soft and warm and inviting and, best of all, it doesn't need hemming, so it makes it a much faster project to sew. However, feel free to use any kind of material at all. My advice is to pick something hard wearing, as it's to cover an item in use.
Today I'm showing you how to do it using road markings as the inspiration. You could do anything thou, the sun, a burning garbage can, geometric shapes, anything at all. Simplify it down to it's basic shape/s, and you'll be away.
SO, You'll need: A cushion (and it's measurements) a design material 2 1/2 times longer than your cushion more material for the design a needle and thread.
An overlocker or sewing machine makes this go faster, but it's not totally necessary.
First thing's first. Step One: Measure your cushion. Mine are 65cm sqaure (they're floor cushions), so that makes things nice and easy.
Step Two: Lay out your material, and cut a large strip 2 1/2 times longer than your cushion and for the width, make it the same measurement as your cushion PLUS 2 1/2cm hem allowance on each side. Thus, for a 20x30 cm cushion, cut a strip 50cms long and 35cm wide. Or, with my example, cut the material 162 1/2 cms long and 70cms wide.
Step Two Point Five: If you're using material that needs hemming, now's the time to do it.
Step Three: Fold your material 5cms longer than the cushion back over itself, and then fold the extra on top (see drawing below) all with the right sides IN
Step Four: Pin along the two open sides that don't have the foldback, and sew them up. The foldback is to help hold the cushion in the cover once you're finished. (Take no notice of the white stitching in the photo at this time, I was a little ahead of myself when I took the photo)
You can see the the foldback, the back and the front more clearly in this photo:
Step Five: Now you're ready to fold it inside out and stitch on your design. Mine were simple straight lines, and it sewed up pretty quickly. At this stage you'll need to hand sew it, as machine sewing will be too difficult (I'm a hand sewer over a machine sewer). If you want to machine sew your design, stitch it to the material (step five) before you sew the edges into the cushion cover (step four)
Hopefully you've come up with something simple, especially for a first try. Think about your design, and pare it back to it's basic shapes. The sun idea becomes a big yellow circle and some little yellow straight lines. On a blue cushion cover with a couple of white cloud shapes it would look fab. The burning garbage can breaks down into a grey cylinder for the can and some triangle flame shapes in yellow, red and orange. A dog is a circle for a head, an oval for a body, straight lines for the legs and a long half circle for the tounge. If you can't picture how to make the image you want, google it, you'll find cartoon versions of pretty much everything.
Cut the shapes out and pin them to your cover. Stitch them firmly in place with cotton the same colour as the material.
And that's it. You have cushion covers for your cushions and you've crafted away an afternoon. Congratulations!
Sayraphim Lothian is an artist and independent curator who works in a range of media including photography, digital manipulation, mixed media sculpture, craft and soft sculpture and site specific installations. She is currently focusing her practice on digital art and craft/soft sculpture, primarily knitting. Touch the Exhibits is her reviews of art exhibitions and Page 63 is her craft blog.