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How to Make a Cushion Cover

Updated: Mar 17, 2018

When I started to learn to sew, one of the first things I made was a cushion cover and over the years I have made a lot more. They are so simple to make that the idea of buying one now seems ridiculous. Their simplicity also makes them a great little project for anyone new to sewing.

The following guide is for making a square cushion cover with an envelope style opening and button fastenings. During this tutorial I made a cover for a cushion measuring 65cm X 65cm. However, I will explain how to work out the measurements for any size cushion.

Materials required:

Front fabric

Back fabric

(I would recommend using heavyweight upholstery fabrics. In this tutorial I have chosen a pink stripped fabric for the front and a plain off-white for the back, however, you can use the same fabric for both sides).

2 large buttons

Matching thread

Square cushion insert

Equipment required:

Rotary blade and cutting mat (fabric scissors can be used instead)

Quilters ruler (or normal ruler if using scissors)

Sewing machine preferably with a button hole function and button sewing foot

Fabric scissors


Fabric marker

Step 1: Calculate your fabric measurements

  • For the front piece, find out the size of your cushion pad. This can often be found on the washing instruction label but if not just measure the pad from seam to seam to find it's dimensions

  • The seam allowance we will be using is 1.5cm. Therefore, add 3cm to both the length and width measurement. i.e. if your cushion insert measures 65cm X 65cm your front piece will need to measure 68cm X 68cm

  • Your back piece will be made up of two identical panels. The panels will be the same dimension across the width as your front piece. i.e 65cm + 3cm = 68cm. In order to calculate the length of each panel you need to halve the total length. To create the envelop opening, which involves adding a hem to one side of each panel, you need to add 1.5cm to hide the rough edge and add 5cm for the hem. In order for the panels to overlap you must add 2.5cm to each panel. Finally you must add 1.5cm to the non-hemmed edge for the seam allowance.

i.e (65cm/2) = 32.5cm + 1.5cm (rough edge) + 5cm (hem) + 2.5cm (overlap) + 1.5cm (seam allowance) = 43cm total length for each panel

  • Therefore, my front panel dimensions are: 68cm X 68cm and both of my back panel dimensions are 68cm X 43cm. Please note in the image below I had not added my 1.5cm seam allowance to the total which is why it says 41.5cm.

  • If you are making a smaller or larger cushion cover you can also adjust the width of your hem to suit. This is useful if you have very large buttons as you need them to fit within the hem. Just remember to adjust your overlap (which is half your hem width) as well.

Now you've done the hard bit you can get on with sewing.

Step 2: Cut out your pattern pieces to the size you have calculated. I used a rotary cutter, cutting board and quilters ruler but you could draw the shape out using a ruler and fabric marker. Then cut it out with fabric scissors.

Step 3: Hem the edge of both back panels by pressing under 1.5cm, then pressing under 5cm. Pin the hem into place.

Step 4: Sew the hem down, approximately 2mm from the edge, for each back panel.

Step 5: Position the front and back panels down so that right sides are facing, the raw edges are lined up and the hemmed edge of each back panel overlaps with the top panel on top. Pin into place.

Step 6: Sew around all four sides with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Clip the corners to remove bulk so your corners are neater.

Step 7: In order to prevent the fabric from fraying, I finished the edges of my cover using my overlocker, also trimming away some of the excess fabric at the same time. If you do not have an overlocker, you can use a wide zigzag stitch on your sewing machine instead.

Step 8: Turn you cover right side out easing the corner out with a blunt pencil/knitting needle. Press lightly.

Step 9: Measure out where you want your buttons to be and mark this on both back panels. I place mine at 1/3 of the cushion width from the edge. i.e. 65/3 = 21.6cm. Therefore, my buttons will be 22cm in from each side.

Step 10: Using your buttonhole foot and program on your sewing machine (follow your manufacturers guidelines) create two buttonholes on the outer back panel hem where you have made your markings.

Step 11: Ensure the markings for you button line up with the center of each buttonhole. Attach your button either by hand or using your sewing machine.

Step 12: Remove any markings you have made on your fabric. Insert you cushion pad and do up your buttons.

Congratulations you've completed your cushion!

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