I have lived in my flat for nearly 7 years and when I first moved in, my older sister gave me her old futon. It was blue, and was my bed while I saved up for a proper one. The futon also had an aspect of danger to it: if more than one person leant forward at once it would collapse, highly amusing! When it was time to get a new sofa, the futon still needed to convert into a bed as I live in a one bedroom flat, so I decided on a sofa bed from Ikea (most of my furniture is from there).  

So the new sofa arrives and it’s bigger than my old futon; it’s L-shaped, it’s wonderful and it’s very comfy but it needed cushions, because cushions are awesome!

Now fabric is amazing, there are so many great fabrics. But seeing as I was going to be using it for cushions, I bought some curtain fabric as it needs to be durable (read that as my Netflix addiction is high!). When you make cushions, get fabric you love – fabric that you will want to be near.  

So, let’s get sewing! Trust me, it’s not as scary as you might think.


Disclaimer this is just how I make cushions – there are other ways, this is how I was taught a few years back.

You will need – 

Fabric – I bought a metre of fabric – I nearly always do. If you don’t use it all up in this project I’m sure you will find more to do. Once you have made one cushion, you may want to make another one, so they match.

Zips – the size of your zip will depend on the size of your cushion. I used 16 inch zips for 18 inch cushions (go smaller than the pad, i.e for a 15inch pad use a 13inch zip)

Cushion pads – these can be bought from loads of places, Dunelm Mill is great and reasonably priced.

Thread – go for a colour that will match your fabric and if you can’t match it, go slightly lighter as it will show less.

A sewing machine – this is a must! You can get small ones for around £100 which are great for small projects, but if you get more into sewing it is worth investing in a better machine (as with any hobby).  A zipper foot is needed here but you should get one with your sewing machine.

Extras – a needle, bright thread, pins and tailor’s chalk.

Ok, do you have everything? Do you have The IT Crowd on Netflix, or is that just me? A cup of tea? Chocolate? 

Right let’s get going…

1. Iron your fabric and then cut two squares. I always cut out the same size as the cushion pad, i.e. 18inch squares for an 18 inch cushion pad. This may be wrong but it works for me, and hopefully now you! There is a seam allowance of 5/8inch so the cover will be slighter smaller but this just means that the cushion will be fuller.

2. Pin one side of the fabric together with the right sides together. Then place the zip onto the middle of the fabric and mark where the zip ends, and tack (hand sew big stitches, using the brightly coloured thread) the two squares together close to the edge.

3. Using your machine, sew up to the marked point (using the seam allowance of 5/8ths, it should be marked on your machine). Do a few reverse stitches to secure the end – there should be a button to help you do this on the machine, but every machine is different so take a look in your manual if you’re not sure.

4.  Open out the fabric and pin the zip to the seam sides, so the zip can be pulled through the gap. Pin the zip onto the wrong side of the fabric. Tack both sides of the zip to the fabric to secure it when you sew it.

cushions 2-4
5. Change the foot on your sewing machine to a zipper foot (each machine is different, look in the manual)

  • Close the zip, and line up the zipper to one side of the zip.
  • Sew back and forth at the top of the zip then sew all away the length of the zip – be careful when you pass the zip pull, go slowly but it will go past.
  • At the end, turn the fabric (put the needle into the fabric, lift the foot up and turn it), sew across the end and then sew up the other side.
  • About 2 inches before the end, open the zip, keep sewing and then once you are at the end go back and forth a few stitches.
  • The zip is in! To finish, unpick all the tacked stitches.

6. Open the zip, pin the right sides together and then simply sew the other 3 sides.

7. On the corners sew an extra line of stitches to strength the corners (sew on the outside of the seam (see photo).

cushion 6-7
8. Turn the cover right side out and push the cushion pad in. WHOOP! Well done you, you have made a cushion cover. Now relax with some tea and cake – you deserve it.

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