SIMPLE ENVELOPE-STYLE CUSHION TUTORIAL for Beginners
So, you've learned to thread up your sewing machine (if not - see my starter sewing machine tips) and you've practiced sewing straight and zig-zag stitches, now it's time for your first project! Here's my step-by-step guide to making a very easy envelope style cushion. Once you've made your first one you'll be happily knocking them out, maybe adding trims to the next one or an applique or possibly a patchwork of fabrics.
Here's what you'll need to make your basic envelope-style cushion:
Cotton woven plain or printed, medium to heavy weight fabric.
A cushion pad,
Pattern making paper (or any lightweight paper),
The following instructions show you how to make an envelope-style cover for a cushion pad measuring 18" / 46 cm. You will need 70 cm of fabric (112 cm width). For other pad sizes adapt your pattern accordingly. I'm making my cushion in pale pink velvet which has a 'pile' (the fabric's surface lies smoothly in a downward direction) so I need to ensure that I cut all of my pieces in the same direction otherwise there will be a shading difference. You would need to do the same if you were using a fabric printed in one direction. The front is in one piece and the back of the cushion pieces overlap. It's quick and easy and doesn't require a zip or button fastening.
1. Firstly make your paper pattern. I like my cushions to feel nice and squidgy so I make the pattern the same size as the cushion pad, plus the seam allowance. My square cushion pad measures 46 cm x 46 cm so I make a paper template in the same size for the front and then add 1.5 cm all the way around. My pattern measures 49 cm x 49 cm. The back is formed of two identical rectangles, they are the width of the front (49 cm) and half of the depth (24.5 cm), plus 8 cm to overlap, plus 2 cm to turn under as hems (49 cm x 34.5 cm).
2. Iron your fabric and lay it face up on your work surface. Pin the pattern pieces onto the fabric, with the sides of the cushion parallel to the selvedge edges and ensure the print direction or pile are all facing the same way. Cut out one front and two back pieces.
3. On each of the back panels zig-zag stitch (or over-lock) along one of the long raw edges to prevent the fabric from fraying. Fold this edge over towards the wrong side of the fabric by 2 cm, pressing with an iron and stitching close to the neatened raw edge to form a hem. Repeat on the other back piece.
4. Lay the front cushion panel right side up on your work surface. Lay the two back panels right-side facing down on top of the front panel, with the turned hemmed edges overlapping one another just like a pillow case opening.
Pin all the way around the edge with pins placed vertically, pointing toward the centre, which allows you to sew over the pins.
Stitch a 1.5 cm seam all the way around, pivoting carefully at the corners (needle in as you lift the presser foot and rotate your fabric). Trim any uneven edges.
5. Cut across the corners diagonally close to the stitch line. Zig-zag stitch (or overlock) around all four sides. Turn the cushion through to the right side, poking the corners into nice angular points using a plastic knitting needle or similar (not scissors; you don't want to make holes!) and press gently with an iron. Insert your cushion pad through the back opening and voila!