From soft, smooth leather to patterned fabric, there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to the look of your sofa. While upholstery might be the biggest factor defining your sofa’s looks, there’s another one that many homeowners ignore: the cushions.
Sofa cushions range from classic and elegant to eye-catching and modern. Whether you’re a fan of simple coloured cushions or 60s-style paisley pillows, adding a few cushions to your sofa is a great way to brighten it up and refresh its style.
While there are hundreds of sofa cushions available from online and offline stores, the best cushions are always homemade. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make your own envelope sofa cushions using fabric, padding and basic sewing equipment.
WHY MAKE YOUR OWN SOFA CUSHIONS?
With such a huge range of sofa cushions available in stores, why should you spend time making your own? From unique style to the feeling of creating something from scratch, there are several reasons to make your own sofa cushions:
- You can choose from any number of stylish fabrics and colours
- You have total control over shape, softness, style and other factors
- You can use contrast stitching for a unique, eye-catching look
- You can customise your cushions with buttons, zips and more
- You can save money instead of buying expensive retail cushions
- It’s surprisingly quick and easy to make your own cushions
From saving money to creating the perfect custom cushion for your tastes, there are plenty of benefits to making your cushions from scratch. Best of all, you can create a wonderful stylish set of sofa cushions with minimal sewing and design experience.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE AN ENVELOPE CUSHION
Before you can get started, you’ll need some fabric and sewing equipment ready to use. Make sure you have the following supplies ready, and adjust the quantities for the number of sofa cushions you’ll be making:
- At least 1m fabric for each cushion (more for larger pillows)
- Matching thread (or a complementary colour for contrast stitching)
- 3 buttons for each cushion (choose buttons in a matching colour)
- One cushion pad measuring 30cm by 60cm or similar
If you have a cushion pad that measures larger than 30cm by 60cm, you’ll require more fabric. Compensate for longer pads with double the difference added to each side of your fabric, and wider pads with the same amount added to each side.
Solid colour fabrics are the easiest to work with, and are generally the best choice for first-timers. If you’re more experienced, feel free to use a patterned fabric, but remember that you will need to align it and cut strategically to pattern match.
From your one metre cut of fabric, trace a rectangle with measurements of 92cm by 67cm.This gives you a long, rectangular piece of fabric. Fold each short edge twice – first, with a 2cm fold and again with a 3cm fold, then create a twice-folded hem.
Place that fabric with the patterned side facing upwards and fold each short edge inwards to the centre. The two edges should overlap by 20cm, with the patterned side of the fabric facing downwards.
Stitch along both sides of the fabric with seams of 2cm to 2.5cm each. Once you’ve finished stitching each side, trim the extra thread. Gently turn the envelope you’ve created inside out so that the patterned side of the fabric is facing outwards.
Stitch buttons on the top hemmed edge of the fabric envelope. Stitch through both layers of the envelope as the buttons are decorative. Make sure your buttons have even spacing by using the method below:
If using three buttons, measure 10cm from the edges of the cushion case to determine the location of the side buttons. The middle button should be at the centre of the case – approximately 30cm from each edge.
From here, gently fit the cushion inside the case. Make sure not to push too firmly when installing the cushion, as it could damage the stitching. The pad should slide into the cover smoothly, although it may require some pushing for a perfect fit.
Congratulations – you’ve made your own envelope cushion cover! Two cushions are the perfect decorating accessory for loveseats and small sofas. For large sofas, make an extra two or three cushions for plenty of stylish and fashionable padding.
— Chloe Olivia Sansom (@CoSansom) February 21, 2014
SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER LOOKING CUSHION COVERS
Are you making cushion covers for the first time? These simple tips and tactics will help you make cushion covers (and other fabric items) that look better, last longer and are far easier to sew:
- Before you start, iron your fabric. It’s always easier to iron fabric before its been turned into a cushion cover or item of clothing, and removing creases makes measuring and cutting accurately easier.
- Choose solid coloured fabric for your first cushions. Patterned fabric tends to be harder to work with, since you need to make sure it’s cut and aligned for a consistent fabric print.
- Be careful when stitching, hemming and cutting excess thread. Small errors and careless cutting can result in your cushion cover coming apart over time, making repairs necessary.
- Can’t reach the corners? Instead of reaching inside and poking them out with your fingers, use a chopstick or the back of a pencil to press each corner out for a perfectly square corner.
- Don’t like non-functional buttons? Don’t feel like your buttons need to be purely decorative. For functional buttons, stitch them into the rear part of your envelope and cut slits in the top part for them to slide through.
- Need colour inspiration? Find colours that complement your sofa, armchair or living room décor instead of clashing using the Adobe Kuler online colour picker tool.
HAVE YOU EVER MADE YOUR OWN SOFA CUSHIONS?
Making sofa cushions is surprisingly easy, and the creative freedom given to you by the huge range of fabrics available makes it a great experience. Have you ever made your own sofa cushions by hand? If so, what colour or patterned fabric did you use?