Cushy Cushion


I decided to tackle a cushion for my daughter’s room. A sewing student once gave me a whole collection of lightweight upholstery fabric samples. Each sample is about 18 inches by 15 inches. I was inspired by a project in Sewing in No Time. Before I begin, let me warn this is not a complete tutorial. I’ve seen a lot of pretty picture books that do not feature good instructions, so I know better than to declare myself the authority! Similarly, this lovely picture book doesn’t offer step-by-step instructions in much detail. I consulted Sewing Edges and Corners for the boxed corners, and I think they turned out crisply.

1. Cut out top and bottom. Plan for one-half inch seam allowances. 2. Add the circumferences to determine the length of the band that will go around the sides. Below, I’ve shown that freezer paper, which melts with a medium-high iron setting, is a great way to make the template strips. Also determine how thick the cushion should be. This will lead you to the height of the foam you need to by. One-inch increments are standard, but be forwarned that four- and five-inch foam can be expensive. 3. Sew the band all the way around one pillow piece, right sides facing. Start to sew about three inches before you come to a corner. Ooh, is it starting to look three-dimensional? 4. Right sides facing, sew the band to the other pillow piece. Leave almost an entire side open, minus three inches on each corner. (See the big opening in picture below.)5. Hack the foam into small pieces. Here’s my story: I purchased the foam this morning. The Jo-Ann’s employee tells me that after the foam yardage is cut, an employee is not supposed to make additional cuts. (AARGH gotta love Jo-Ann’s policies! You can search for lots of other readers’ comments on Jo-Ann’s in this blog.) But she said if I went up and paid and came back, she would make another cut. When I got it home, I realized there was no way that puppy was going in, so I found some of my husband’s razor blades (for household projects) and hacked the piece into four squares. Shove all the squares into the cushion, and hand-sew shut.


SoundStitches Cushion Bands
Freezer paper makes a great template

SoundStitches cushion
Hopefully all corners will look like the lower right corner

SoundStitches cushion cubes
Big foam has been cut into smaller pieces

Here’s what happened: Thrift Store Skirt A was a long, full skirt cut of light cotton. It had a side zipper and stitched-down tucks in the front. It was too large, so I removed the zipper on one side and I cut off the thin waistband. Because of the light cotton and overall print, I knew that I could simply insert an elastic waist. That involved pressing down the new raw edge, then pressing again to accomodate the new elastic depth. Then I stitched all around, except for where I would insert the elastic. Then I used a safety pin to draw through the elastic, and stitched shut the opening after measuring it to my size.

Thrift Store Skirt B was a fitted linen straight skirt with a side zipper. I got a further discount from eight dollars because the zipper twill is weak and the zipper didn’t zip properly. I love the turqoise circular pattern. Like Skirt A it was too large, but it needed to remain a fitted skirt. Using elastic would have ruined the slimming straight look, and the linen is too bulky. I was able to reduce this skirt on one side only by ripping out the stitching a fair distance towards the center of the skirt on both the facing and the waistband. I don’t think this often can be done, by the way — I think you often must reinstall the zipper and reduce the waist width on both sides. I could have taken a further step and reinstalled the zipper since it wasn’t smooth. I hope I won’t regret skipping that step but frankly it’s not as fun as the other simple steps.  It is hard work to insert a new zipper into an already-constructed garment, or “in the round.”

I’m quite happy with my new skirts which fit me and sport my favorite colors. All for ten bucks.

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