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.


You can follow my unisex children’s clothing company on:


Instagram: @theslippychickencompany

See you soon!

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