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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah

I'm doing research before making some piped, zipped cushions for the first time so I found your post very useful. The pictures are especially good as they're clear so it's quick to see what's happening.



Anonymous said...

This has been SO helpful! I've followed it absolutely precisely and my cushions have come out perfectly! Thanks so much for all the effort! Georgina

Debbie said...

Thank You Georgina and Judith. I'm so glad you found this post helpful. I'd love to see some pictures of your finished cushions. xx

Cik Sue said... you blog

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I found this tutorial! I have planned to make cushion covers for my mother, and had decided to just go with an overlapped back, but since I've read this tutorial, I feel confident enough to give a zipper a try. Of course, I'll practice on inexpensive fabric first before I challenge myself to use the VERY expensive fabric I chose for the covers, but I really believe I can do this because of your excellent tutorial. Keep up the good work, and thank you. Brenda

Debbie said...

Go for it Brenda! Good idea to practice first - if there's a problem just message me and I might be able to help you. I think, if you are using fabulous and expensive fabric, making a classic piped cushion is the only way to go!!

SewGood said...

I came across your blog when, in a moment of boredom, I googled my name. There you were. How nice to come across someone who not only shares my name, but one of my passions, sewing. I am into quilting and some home decorating and love your cushions and your stockings. I have used SewGood as my small business name for many years. In fact, it is also my license plate! I just wanted to say hi and I will be following your posts. Nice to meet you!
Deborah Good Ehlers

Nicole said...

Very nice! Really glad I stumbled on your blog. Loving all your tutorials! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie
These instructions are great - thank you... I have just made some cushions and the results are brilliant. I love the fabric you used for the photos on your instructions (the grey/teal/cream/lime offset check). Any chance you know the name and manufacturer - it would look great on cushions for my new sofa.
Thank you

Debbie said...

Hello Charlotte and many thanks for your lovely comments. I'm so glad you found the tutorial helpful and I'd love to see your results.
The fabric, if I remember correctly is Designer Guild, though I'm not sure what the name of it is. if I find out I shall add a comment here.

Anonymous said...

This is great - the first thing I came across when I typed in my question, which is more about how to make piping than how to make the cushion. I have the piping cord and the fabric but am not sure how to put them together. Any tips?

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant. I am going to follow your instructions to make some floor cushions for our playroom, having found the tutorial on creating a mitred corner (for the playroom curtains) absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this - I just unpicked the pillow I made last night because the zip was poking out and now I know why - this is a tutorial that will definitely stay in my favourite list - thanks again - esme

Anonymous said...

Hi Deborah,

Brilliant tutorial, thanks. Can I ask - when making a piped bolster, do you apply the piping to the circular end panels, or the main section of the cushion cover?
Thanks! Jess

Debbie said...

Hi Jess. I'm really pleased you have found this tutorial useful. In answer to your bolster question I usually attach the piping to the circular ends first as I find this helps to keep the ends circular! Make sure you cut your piping on the bias though.
Good luck. Debbie x

Anonymous said...

Hi Debbie,
I've used your tutorial before, but having re-read it, I'm not sure if you sew the first side of the zip twice, and if so, why?

Debbie said...

You are right I have stitched the first side of the zip twice. I have found that it is easier to place the zip tape in the right place for the second row of stitching by doing this. However it is possible to omit the first line of stitching. Just press the unpiped seam allowance to the wrong side and place the zip right side down onto it with the zip teeth about 5-6mm below the fold. Pin and stitch in place through all thicknesses. Remember, the stitching will show on the right side of the cushion, but the flap will hide the zip once the second side of the zip is attached and the pad is inserted into the cover.
I hope this helps.

Shreya Dhawan said...

Amazing tutorial. Thanks for sharing it. Like photos and tips for making cushion covers online

Peggy said...

Dear Deborah,
I just want to say a huge thank you for your great tutorial for the cushion with the piping and zip. With out it I wouldn't have been able to complete my grandson's 1st birthday present.It was a big deal for me and I'm so grateful. I hope to learn more from your site in the future.
Thank you 'sew' much!
Best wishes Peggyx

Janice Alcantara said...

Thank you Debbie, for the great tutorial. I made it today and apart from some beginners faults it turned out pretty well. Dressmaking Fabrics