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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Cushion Covers

On one of the blogs I follow, the writer lamented her inexperience with making cushion covers with zippers.  For some reason, and I don't know why, I can't post comments to a lot of the blogs I follow- it's very hit and miss (does anyone else have that problem?), so I thought I'd give her advice here, in case it's helpful to anyone else.

I'm a long time cushion maker.  I made the cushion for this bench, from tracing out the shape on an opened paper grocery bag (which I still have, case I need to make one again), to cutting out the foam in the shape of the bench deck, to wrapping the foam in poly quilt filler, to sewing the whole thing up.

The advice that I would give Julia, is that when you're making a zippered cushion, sew the zipper in first, just like you would put a zipper in a garment piece.  Then pin the sides together with the zipper closed and stitch those seams.  Then unzip the zipper and finish the rest of your seams. Once all the seams are sewn together, pull the cover right side out through the open zipper, and voila!

For this cushion, I used two invisible zippers, but I needed them to run along the entire back of the cushion for ease of stuffing.  They didn't quite make it, so I left the gap, which I tacked closed once I got the cover on the cushion.  You only see it if you're looking really closely at it; otherwise it disappears.

I hope this information helps anyone out there thinking about making their own cushions - it's really not that hard.

I mean, I figured it out.


Rachelle said...

Unless you are not an experienced seamstress. They are a vanishing species from what I can tell. By the time I took Home Ec. (they call it Tech Ed these days), I already had been putting in zippers for a couple years. Someone had taught me how. I doubt the instructions on the zipper package would be sufficient for most of the current day DIY self-taught.

Julia Posey said...

Holy smokes. That is one fancy cushion, Paula. I'm completely impressed. How do you do the bead piping that goes around the cushion? Impressed, my dear. Impressed.

Paula said...

I dunno Rachelle- no one showed me how to put in an invisible zipper; I learned from the instructions that came with them, and found out two things: that I can't remember how to put in the other kind of zippers, and that I prefer using invisible zippers in everything. It helps to buy the little plastic invisible zipper gizmo- it works MUCH better than a regular zipper foot. I also find that I have to read the instructions every time I do one, just to refresh my memory.

I think if people keep the first couple of projects simple, they can build on success. That's how I learned woodworking. I'm self-taught in that department as well. It boils down to whether or not you're a problem solver. You would probably be right about people who can't figure things out for themselves but have to be shown how to do everything, and I've certainly known a few of them. But folks who are problem-solvers will not only be able to figure it out, they'll get a kick out of self-learning and mastering a new skill.

I do think we do ourselves a disservice by not having home ec classes, however. Home and Garden TV and the Food Network can't do it all.

Miriam said...

My problem is getting the cover not-too-tight but not-too-loose. Any suggestions for me?

Paula said...

The piping starts with a bias tape made with the same fabric (you need the fabric on the bias so that it stretches around the corners) and it's filled with cotton cording from the fabric store that they sell for that reason. The cord gets sewn into the bias tape using a regular zipper foot, and then you pin it into the seam, raw edges all on the same side. And then you sew the seam with the same zipper foot.

I had the same problem with the big cover that I made for the day bed, Miriam, but I think part of that was the general funkiness of the army blankets. But generally my covers fit well, and that's because I make them e-v-e-r-s-o-s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y smaller than the cushion, usually an eighth to a quarter of an inch smaller depending on how squishy the cushion or pillow is. It could probably be considered cheating, but it works.

click clack gorilla said...

Wow those look great.

clairz said...

I've made slipcovers for the same little dog-eaten chair for years (ever since some pup chewed on the original fabric). I'm about to make yet another set and your post has nudged me in the right direction.

Although I eventually got a master's in library science, I've always felt that the typing and the sewing classes they made us take in high school were the most valuable ones of all!