Sewing Projects

How to make a cushion cover

I have finally finished making a cushion cover.  It is the simplest, quickest (ahem) way I know of making one and I thought I would share it with you. So here it is, step by step with photos. Enjoy!  (feedback/comments would be much appreciated, if it doesn’t make any sense I’ll edit.  It’s going to be pretty simple and easy to remember so do it once and then you’ll be able to do it around a hundred times again without even thinking about it.  Huzzah!

1. Choose your fabric and your cushion

I went for a green with white spots.  The reason being I had shedloads left over from re-covering the chairs in the kitchen.

The cushion pad I just stole from another cushion, it’s a bit old and i’ll replace it with a nicer one, but the proportions are good so that was good enough for me.

Once you have the fabric chosen, take the cushion pad and measure just over two widths of the cushion.  For the rest of the post, i’ll refer to this as The Width.  the height should be just over the…height of the cushion.  you won’t need as much of a hem on this, The Height.


2. The Overlap

The cushion cover is a simple overlap design.

With the “good” side of the fabric facing in, fold one side of The Width over the cushion – it should come to over half way – and then fold over the other side.

It’s likely that there will be a significant overlap, this is GOOD because we will be making a hem on each edge of The Width.  Reason?  One of the edges will be on show and we like things to be nice and neat, don’t we?  (answer: yes.)

When you are doing the overlap, make sure that the fabric is pulled tight enough over the cushion pad – if it’s too loose then the pad will just float about inside the cover and it won’t be comfy enough.

3. Hem The Edges

Fold over a couple of inches (as long as there is enough fabric for this much! if not, then fold over a bit less.) of the edge of The Width.  I didn’t have the time or the inclination to bother ironing the hem flat or straight.  Life’s too short for this to be honest.  If straight, flat lines are your thing, then knock yourself out and iron away.  If not, don’t.  no bother.

Once you’ve got the hem folded over, sew as straight a line as you can manage – I chose about an inch from the folded bit.  I followed a wee guide on the bottom plate of the sewing machine under the needle to keep myself right.  it worked! hurrah!

Do this for both of the edges.

4. Checking the size

This is important for tautness of then cushion cover! put the fabric “good” side face down, fully folded out.  fold both of The Width’s edges that have been hemmed (you can just see it on the photo), making sure it’s as taught as possible.

Now sort of very slightly tuck in The Height into the cushion (see the slight indentation on the right hand side of the fabric in the photo) – this makes the cushion cover snug to the cushion.

PIN THIS! This will be your guide for sewing the cushion cover to match the size of the cushion pad.  But don’t pin all the way as that might be a wee bit awkward for the next step, just one or two pins on either side will do.

5.  Turn fabric inside out

Taking care with the pins, turn the fabric inside out.  Remove the cushion pad too!  You can see the inside hem of The Width here.

Now using the pins you put in before as a guide, pin the full Height of the cushion (it’s top to bottom on the picture) on both sides and with two incredibly quick lines of stitches you’ll have made the cushion.

(cheat: if you lose the plot with the size of the cushion, just place the cushion pad over the fabric and pin either side of it.)

6. All sewn up

This is what the cushion cover looks like now, inside out, once you have sewn the two lines of stitches (one on either side of the cushion!) and trimmed off excess fabric inside the stitch line.  leave about an inch excess though – any less and it makes the stitches weak.

Hopefully this stage makes sense! I think you can just about see one of the stitch lines on the photo here.

I can’t even think what I mean to type here… you’ve got an opening in the middle (the hemmed bit) and instead of it being open at the sides, you’ve closed it off with stitches.

7.  The Right Way Round

Turn the cushion cover the right way round now – push the fabric through the opening (see photo above) and take a lot of care that the corners that have now appeared with the stitching are pushed right in so that you get neat corners.  lovely.

i’ve left the opening slightly open here so you can see it properly.  What is now the top and bottom of the photo is what has been referred to as The Height.  These are the bits that have been stitched in step 5 above.


8. Stuff the Cushion

Stuff the cushion inside.

<– back of the cushion

front of the cushion    —————–>

this is why we pulled the fabric tight, so that there wasn’t much loose cushion cover and the cushion pad would be as comfy as possible.


9. Applique Detail

I decided that whilst the spotty fabric was nice enough, i wanted to make something even prettier.  How to do this?  why, use some of the super cute japanese doll fabric left over from the bunting i’d made.I chose the green doll to match the spotty fabric as much as possible.

This bit is important – you will be stitching the detail to the cushion cover in some way – now you can either attach the detail to the fabric before you sew the cushion cover up (as in before step 5 above) or you can do what i did which is attach it now.  It’s fiddly if you do it now, and you have to do it by hand rather than use the sewing machine, but at least you know that where you put the detail is exactly where you want it.  If it’s attached before sewing the cushion together, you might end up with the detail skewiff or in the wrong place.  or that might just be me…

Anyway! cut around the detail with a buffer of around 1cm.  You’ll need this as otherwise the stitches you make to attach it to the cushion cover will go over the detail you are stitching.

10. Hand stitching

This bit took me about 4 hours over a couple of weeks.


I tried to make small, uniform sized stitches all the way around the detail. As per above, if you are so inclined, iron the detail and the cushion cover before you attach them. As per above, i couldn’t be bothered.  so didn’t.  i don’t think it makes much difference really, but some people like a crisper finish.

The stitching took ages though.  but worth it i think.

11. The finished article

This is how the cushion looks.  Sort of – i took the photo before i’d stitched the detail to the cushion cover as i was worried i’d totally mess it up and would then have to have  stiff bodied tantrum on the floor.

Anyway, the finished article looks exactly like this but with stitching all the way around the doll like in the photo above.



Final Comments

This is, despite my long winded writing, a really, really simple cushion cover to make.  Honestly.  You essentially sew four lines of stitches – two lines for the hems and then two lines to seal off the sides (or The Height).  And that is it.  But it’s pretty and effective and seeing as it’s quick you can get a few of them whipped up in no time.