Tips on Making Cushion Covers

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    What You Need

    • Fabric: Any fabric can be used, but cushions get a lot of wear. The best choice for long wear is an upholstery-weight fabric made for this level of wear and tear. If you value style over sturdy, add fun, glitz or glamor by using furry fabric, microsuede, terry cloth, satin, velveteen or blanket fleece.

      Foam inserts if necessary
      Sewing machine
      Zipper foot
      Heavy-duty needles
      Good quality heavy-duty sewing thread
      Iron & ironing board

    Getting Started

    • If there are no existing cushions to recover, measure the seat area length and width. Decide how thick you want your cushion. For a solid base seat, a thinner cushion can be considered, but for a slatted seat, a thick cushion is a better choice.

      It may be helpful to make a paper pattern at this point to represent the cushion. Use your measurements to cut a square or rectangle in the correct size. Newsprint, available at any art and craft store, makes great patterns, but you could use any handy wide paper or a piece of inexpensive muslin. Cut a strip to represent the sides to the width of the seat cushion foam plus half an inch for seaming. Measure the length three-quarters of the way around the cushion and add 4 inches, then cut two pieces the same width as the sides and the length of the back to put in the zipper.


    • Line the fabric up carefully so the grain of the fabric is straight--not diagonal. Fabric cut on an angle adds stretch and will cause the seams to gap and pucker. Cut two cushion tops, one long side strip, and two back strips. If the pattern is the exact size of the cushion foam, add ¼ to ½ inch on each side for seam allowances.


    • 1. Start with the zipper. The zipper should be about an inch shorter than the length of the cushion. Fold each of the two back pieces in half lengthwise and iron them to form a sharp crease. On what will be the wrong side of the fabric, pin and sew the zipper to one piece and then the other. If the fabric is heavy, it may be helpful to trim the back piece close to the zipper tape.

      2. Fold one end of the long-side strip 1 inch and iron flat. Place the zipper section face up on a table and pin the folded end of the side strip to the end of the zipper section with the folded edge covering the very end of the zipper. Pin at the top and bottom of the strips and baste together. You should now have a single long side strip with a zipper section at one end.

      3. Sew the sides to the top and bottom. With right sides together, match the back zipper section to the corresponding edge of the cushion top and pin in place. Continue around the edges, carefully rounding the corners. Pin nearly all the way around, leaving the last corner free. Sew edges. For the remaining corner, fold the edge of the side strip under to just meet the head of the zipper, and iron flat, then trim any additional fabric. Pin and sew the corner.

      4. Repeat the above steps to attach the bottom. Clip the corner seam allowances to ease the points, being careful not to cut the stitching. Open the zipper, turn the cushion right-side out, and slip in the foam. If you measured correctly, it will fit perfectly.

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