Cushion Tutorial

This is a really simple tutorial to help you make a simple cushion cover with a zip closure.

You can snaz it up by adding a pocket for a bedtime book, some embroidery or applique. Make sure you finish your decoration before sewing up the cushion cover itself. 


Firstly you will need to measure your pillow pad. My pad is 40cm (16 inches). Add a 1.5cm seam allowance to either side, in total add 3cm to the length measurement of your pillow. I will therefore be using a measurement of 43cm.

Using your chosen fabric cut 2 squares of fabric measuring 43cm (or your chosen measurement) on every side.  (Cut them more accurately than I bothered to for this example!)

Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together and match the edges. Pin or clip these together so they won’t shift.

There are two techniques for this nest bit. Either using a hand sewing needle and thread, sew a line of basting stitches along one edge of your pieces of fabric. I like to draw a line first to follow. Use a contrasting thread colour so you will be able to easily see these to remover them later. Your stitches should measure about a cm each.

Measure 6cm in from either edge and mark with chalk or a pencil.  Sew these 6cms from your marks to the outer edge of the fabric using your machine and a medium straight stitch.  Reverse the first 3 or 4 stitches to secure them firmly. Trim your thread tails at each stage throughout your work.

The second technique is to use your machine for the whole thing. Starting at one edge sew in to your 6cm mark, reversing over the last few stitches. Then increase your stitch length up to the maximum and sew along to your next 6cm mark. Return your stitch length to the original length, sew a few stitches, then reverse back over these, then sew up to the edge. 

Whichever technique you use, now move onto the next stage.

Take your fabric to the iron and press the seams open.

Take your zip and lay it right side up. Then take your fabric and lay it, with the seam over the zip line, right side up. Make sure the ‘teeth’ of the zip run along the centre of the seam. Keep your zipper in the middle of the zip somewhere. Pin the zip in place.

Remove your presser foot and attach your zipper foot on the correct side for the direction you will be sewing.

Take your fabric and place it right side up under the zipper foot. You will be sewing in a rectangle around the zip, starting 1cm from the top of one of the straight edges at the 6cm mark, and sewing as closely to the zip as you can. Use a medium straight stitch. Sew carefully over the short ends, I often just use the hand wheel at this point for fear of sewing over the teeth too quickly and breaking a needle. Remove your pins as you sew and remember to reverse 3 or 4 stitches at the end of your work, overlapping the beginning stitches to lock them in. You will need to snip a couple of basting stitches when you get to the zipper. Lower your needle into your work. Lift the presser foot. Snip a couple of basting stitches and slide the zipper past the presser foot. Lower the presser foot and continue sewing.

Remove your original basting stitches (or the longer straight stitches you did on your machine between the two 6cm marks) with your seam ripper and trim your zip ends off. Replace your zipper foot with your original presser foot.

Sew a line down the side of your work from the zip edge to the bottom edge using a 1cm seam allowance and making sure to smooth out your work to stop ripples.  Repeat for the other side.

Then, MAKING SURE YOU MOVE THE ZIPPER HEAD SO THE ZIP IS 10CM OPEN, sew your final seam along the bottom edge, again using a 1cm seam allowance.

Clip your corners, as shown.

Turn your work through to the right side through the opening in your zip.

You’re done!!

Next time you could applique a design onto the fabric pieces before you sew them together, or sew lengths of ribbon or ric-rac or piping to the fabric before sewing up the cushion for added interest! Enjoy.


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The Beast told me this morning as she was getting dressed that she needed new pants. Her old ones were looking a little small so I thought I’d rifle through my scraps bin to see what I could rustle up in a bigger size.

Whilst I was making them I thought I would take a few pictures to show a way of making the Speedy Pants pattern by Made By Jack’s Mum even speedier. It can be a bit fiddly fitting leg bands on the smaller sizes, particularly when you’re learning, so I basically cheat!

Firstly, you’ll need some 95% cotton, 5% lycra fabric with a 4-way stretch and good recovery.

Secondly, you’ll needs the Speedy Pants pattern by Made By Jack’s Mum. You can either buy it as part of the boxer’s pattern on Etsy or join her Facebook page and sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the ‘Contact Us’ section of her website. When registered you’ll receive an email with the pattern for free.

Print and cut out the size you need according to the measurements given, we are making age 3 for my slim 3.5 year old. Follow the instructions for sewing together your main three pieces (front/back/liner) until you get this.

Stop here and don’t sew your side seams together yet. Take your leg band pieces and fold them wrong sides together along their long edge. Then take one end and clip it, right sides together and raw edges out to the end of one leg hole. Leave a little overlap of the leg band by about 5mm.

Repeat for the other end. Don’t twist the band.

Then clip the centre.

And at the two points between the centre and edge. Make sure you catch the gusset liner.

Sew the band on, slightly stretching the body of the pants to meet the length of the bands. Don’t overstretch the bands as it will ruin the look of the pants as they will go all wavy. The easiest way to do this is the stitch the bands on with the bands at the bottom and the wrong side of the main pants fabric facing up. It will help you stop overstretching the fabric. You may need to gather the fabric in your left hand a little to get round the corners.

Here’s your first band.

Repeat for the other side.

Then sew your side seams together, right sides together.

Sew your waistband on as per the original instructions and you’re done! Super speedy pants!

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