Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sew a classic piped cushion cover - a tutorial.

I have recently made these and 5 others for a commission
and thought I'd share the making of them in a tutorial.

 Firstly I cut all the fronts, backs and bias-cut piping out.
I use a 2cm seam allowance, cutting the piping strips at 5cm wide. 
Once folded and sewn over the 5mm piping cord the strips form a 2cm flange.
I then made up the piping and overlocked the edges of the piping
and all around the cushion pieces.
Attach the piping to the front cushion piece, just lay the overlocked edges 
together and machine close to the piping. 
I usually place the start of the piping near the
 bottom of the right hand side.
Before I start sewing, I open up about 5cm of the piping and cut away the cord.
The stitching starts just below this opening
I don't pin it all round as the piping inevitably moves along a little, 
but I do make sure I don't stretch it as a match up the edges, 
otherwise I'd have puckered seams! 
When attaching the piping around the corners of the cushion
I do it one of two ways, to get a really neat finish.
In the picture above you can see I have made several snips
 into the piping flange and curved the piping round the corner. 
The snips allow the piping to lay flat.
Here (above), I have made one snip in the flange 
and taken the piping right into the corner.
This makes quite a sharp corner when turned through. 
The first example makes a nice rounded corner.
I stitch the piping all around the cushion, stopping
about 5cm from where I started and I leave the work secured under the
 machine presser foot.
I now cut the piece of piping under the foot so that it butts up to the start of the piping.
Folding over the flap of bias fabric above the start of the
 piping to hide the raw edge I
tuck the end of the piping into the flap, butting the ends
of the piping right up close. Then I fold the bias fabric tightly over the 
piping cord and continue to stitch close to the piping, through all the layers.
It will be quite thick so I take it slowly. This makes a neat, almost 
invisible join in the piping.

Now I am ready to put the zip into the piped bottom edge of the cushion.
Firstly with the right sides of the cushion together, I
stitch a 5cm long seam from each bottom corner towards the centre.

This leaves an opening for the zip.
Taking the zip, which should be a little longer than the opening 
I secure the top of the tapes together with a few over stitches, 
as in the picture above.
Matching the top of the zip tape to the edge of the fabric,
I then pin the right side of the zip to the right side of the opening, 
on the back cushion piece (the piece without the piping). 
Machining the zip in place, close to the teeth, with a zipper foot.
I then open the cushion flat with the wrong side facing. 
 Notice that the zip wants to 'roll' slightly inwards, 
where I have just stitched. (the left hand of the opening in the picture above).
I help this by pinning the zip through all thicknesses, so that an even 'lip'
of fabric shows above the zip teeth.
This can now be machined, from the wrong side, close to the zip teeth.
I take care to keep the stitching neat and straight as it will be seen from the right side.
Now to stitch the other side of the zip to the piped edge.
Butting the teeth of the zip close to the piping I pin in place and
machine close to the teeth through all thicknesses of the seam, 
being careful not to catch it to the main body of the cushion.
The zip is now finished...
and should be pretty well invisible, hidden in the piped seam.
Now to complete the cushion.
Making sure the zip is open, I fold the cushion right sides together...
and pin in place, matching all the edges and corners.
I then machine all round the three remaining sides, 
close to the piping, with a zipper foot.
Nearly finished.
OOps!! Don't forget to leave the zip open before
stitching all the way round, or you will have a problem turning 
the cushion to the right side!!
(Even with all my experience I forget to do it sometimes!!)
I keep tight to the corners as I stitch round as this makes for a 
neat finish when the cushion is turned through.
When turning through, I push the corners out so that the piping stands
 proud around the corner.
I don't often trim the excess fabric away from inside the corner.
The cushion pads do not always go right into the corner
and I find the excess fabric helps to fill the cushion out.

So, one classic, piped, cushion cover finished.
Pop in a cushion pad  and there it is all ready to go!

A little tip....
I like my cushions to be quite firm, so I always put in a bigger pad than
the cover, so an 46cm (18") square cover will be filled with a 51cm (20") square pad.

More piped cushions.