top of page
  • Writer's pictureSew Retro

DIY Cushion tutorial - 3 stunning options to choose from.

Cushions are very easy to make, follow my simple step by step tutorials showing you how to make a cushion. You can choose from, No 1, has a folded/ envelope back, this is a great project for new sewers.

No 2. is a cushion with an invisible zip, this tutorial introduces you to inserting an invisible zip.

Cushion No 3. takes you to the next level and introduces piping or adding a trim.

Get creative making cushions and instantly (and cheaply) update any room.

You can up-cycle zips, up -cycle fabric from clothing, or buy small amounts of fabric. Fat quarters (fat quarters are one fourth of a meter and measure 46 cm x 56 cm, making them almost zero waste if your cushion measures 45 cm x 45) are perfect for making a cushion with a contrast back. 50 cm of fabric is ample for an average sized cushion.

If you are making the folded/envelope cushion, you will need to use an all over print NOT a one direction print otherwise on the back of the cushion the print will be going the wrong way.

Materials and Equipment for No 1 the Envelope back cushion

50 cm x 110 cm of Fabric – I used Doodle Ditzy by Makower Uk from Plush Addict.

50 cm x 50 cm Cushion pad

Matching thread or contrast thread, pins, tape measure, chalk and scissors.

Tips for beginners

Seam allowance 1 cm this is the distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitch line. You will find a series of parallel lines engraved on the needle plate of your sewing machine pick the one marked with the measurement you need and keep the edge of the fabric to this guide.

RS = right side of fabric WS = wrong side of fabric.

If you are using denim machine-wash your fabric first on a hot wash.

Cushion no 1 with an envelope back.

Using chalk to mark the measurements, cut your fabric to measure 47 cm x 110 cm.

Fold the short ends under (47 cm) as shown for 1 cm, press, then fold again for 1 cm. Repeat on the remaining end.

With the foot to the edge of the fabric as shown, working on the raw edges that you have just folded and pressed, machine stitch from one end to the other. Repeat on the remaining side.

Use chalk or pins working from one of the seams that you have just sew, make a mark at 29 cm, and then another mark at 73 cm, repeat on the other side of the long seam, starting the measuring from the same end.

With RS together fold the outside seam on the mark as shown 29 cm. Fold the remaining side back on the first fold as shown

Pin the raw folded edges together. Using a 1 cm seam allowance stitch the pinned seams on both sides.

Neaten the edges you have just sewn with a zig zag stitch or an over locker.

Clip your corners as shown, turn to the RS and press.


Cushion No 2 with an invisible zip,


2 x fat quarters or 50 x 55 cm of fabric - I used by Makower Grove Scenic Grey from The Sewing Studio

Plain fat Quarter from Closs and Hamblin

Zip 50 cm invisible zip

Cut your fabric into two x 55 cm x 50 cm pieces.

You will need an invisible zipper foot and the zipper foot that comes with you sewing machine.

Pin the RS to the zip to the RS of the cushion along the raw edge as shown. Using chalk mark a 4 cm line from the end and start of the zip as shown.

*Change to the zipper foot as shown. Un-zip the zip and with the needle on the right-hand side of the zipper foot, stitch a row or stitching from your first chalk mark to the 2nd chalk mark.

Now change to the invisible zipper foot and using your finger to flatten/uncurl the teeth on the zip, stitch from the first chalk mark to the second chalk mark. It is VERY important to uncurl the teeth it allows you to get close to the teeth and then the zip is invisible on the RS **.

Close the zip and pin onto the RS of the remaining side of the cushion repeat from * to **.

The stitching using the invisible zipper foot is invisible (as shown) when the zip teeth roll back.

The visible stitching is the first row of stitching you created.

As shown above your zip in concealed.

Lift the end of the zip up as shown, and pin from the stitching on the zip to the side seam.

Using a 1 cm seam allowance, and the zipper foot, stitch from the end of the side seam to meet up with the end of the zip, (do not catch the zip ) and the stitching line created from inserting the zip, avoiding a gap, as shown with the pin. Repeat on the remaining section of the zip.

With RS together pin the remaining 3 seams and using a 1 cm seam allowance, stitch the seams together.

When you reach a corner, leave the needle in your work, lift the foot and pivot your work around.

Clip the corners of the cushion to reduce bulk, trim and loose threads. Turn to the RS and press.

Pat your self on the back, you have just made a cushion with an invisible zip, well done.

Cushion No 3 with piped or a decorative edge.

1 x fat quarter – I used Grove - Medow by Makower Uk from Plush Addict

A contrast plain fat quarter from C and H Fabrics.

2 meters of pom pom trim

45 cm invisible zip

45 cm x 45 cm cushion pad

If you are choosing to pipe your cushion with contrast or matching colour you will need to make 2 meters 10 cm of piping first. Find the tutorial HERE.

Cut 2 x 50 cm x 50 cm squares from your fabric.

Chalk a 1 cm line in from the raw edge on the side and seam you plan to insert the zip in.

Pin the piping or decorative cord to the line you have chalk then continue pining to the outside raw edge of the cushion, as shown.

At each corner make a few tiny snips into the cord or piping (as shown) to pin and later sew around the corner.

When you get back to where you started pining trim off a few bobbles (if necessary), and overlap the cord. Finish the piping as shown here.

Thread your sewing machine with matching or contrast thread and using the zipper foot stitch the piping or cord onto the fabric. It is not possible to sew the bobble with the straight stitch foot.

Piping can be attached with a piping foot.

With the RS of the zip to the RS of the fabric pin the zip onto the cushion leaving an equal amount at each end, 3 cm approx, at the top raw edge as shown. To check you have the correct amount with you finger flatten the zip, the teeth of the zip need to meet the bobbles of piping as shown.

Open the zip and measure back from the end of the zip 3cm march with chalk or a pin. (As shown) You must start and stop stitching here (it is not possible to sew to the end of an invisible zip)

Using the zipper foot start sewing from one chalk mark to the other. It is VERY important to roll/flatten the zip as you stitch it, this allows you to get close to the teeth. If you are not able to get close to the zip, some of the zip will show. I would normally advise using an invisible zipper foot, however with the bulk of the piping /pom poms it is better to use the zipper foot.

Leave to one side. Now start working on the back. Chalk a 0.5 cm line on the seam you wish to insert the zip. Pin the edge of the zip as shown to the line.

Change to the invisible zipper foot.

Stitch from one chalk edge to the other using the invisible zipper foot, as shown.

Image of the concealed zip below.

With RS together pin all the seams on the cushion. Lift the zip up as shown pin then stitch from the side to the end of the zip. You will be stitching from the side seam to meet the stitching on the zip, but not catching the zip, this seam only is 2 cm. Repeat on the other side.

Using the zipper foot (because of the pom poms/piping) and using the stitching line from sewing on the piping/pom poms as a guide sew around the remaining 3 seams.

Using a small zig zag stitch neaten the edges, turn to the RS, and press.

Awesome your finished, a little more challenging but I hope you agree work the effort.

800 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page