I love to make home furnishings, anything from curtains and blinds to cushions and doorstops. Being able to make your own home accessories means that you can create a decoration scheme that is truly unique to you, in your own personal style!
One of my favourite projects is making cushions. Cushions (or pillows as you might call them) can be a super quick make and they allow you to add accent colour to your home without going to massive expense. If you really love hot pink, but not sure you could get away with it on a grand scale then featuring it on a cushion is a great way of testing the waters!
When I make cushions I always like to add piping as I think it really finishes off the design and makes them look more polished. You can buy ready made piping and there are some great options available or you can make your own. If you’d like to make your own piping, I have a tutorial that takes you through the process step by step including how to measure your piping cord so that you cut your bias strips exactly the right size, allowing you to add it to your project with ease.
In this tutorial I’ll share with you how, once you have made your piping, you can add it to your cushion project.
Step 1 : Piping starting position
Trim the end of the piping so that you have a nice straight edge to work with.
Lay the end of the piping on one of the straight edges of your project, a few inches from a corner.
Line up the raw edge of the seam allowance of the piping to the raw edge of the seam allowance of the cushion*
Using pins or sewing clips, secure the seam allowance of the piping to the cushion front. I like to use pins and I insert them at a slight angle. This allows you pin through a decent amount of the seam allowance and they are easy to remove when sewing.
* for tips on how to make piping with a seam allowance to match the seam allowance of your project, see my FREE tutorial on how to make your own piping
Step 2 : Taking piping around the corners
Because you will have made your piping with bias strips, bending it to go around the corners will be relatively easy, however it will still need a little help.
Snip into the seam allowance of the piping in a few places to allow the piping to curve more easily. Take care not to snip past the stitching line on the piping.
If you curve tightly around the corner, the end result on your cushion corner will be more rounded. If you push the piping seam allowance a little more up into the corner of the seam allowance of the cushion front the resulting corner will be more ‘square’. See the images below for an idea of how the two different corners look throughout the construction process.
Step 3 : Finish where you started
When you get back to where you started, lay the piping over the start point and mark where you need to trim. The aim is to get the ends of the piping to butt up against each other with no gap.
Trim the end of the piping with a sharp pair of scissors.
Secure the seam allowances of the piping with a pin or sewing clip about 1.5″ from the join.
Step 4 : Covering the join of the piping
Take a square of the fabric that you have used for the piping. The dimensions will need to be the same as the width of the bias strips you have used to wrap around the piping. The square, however will need to be cut on the straight of grain, rather than on the bias.
On two opposite sides, turn in a 1/4″ hem.
With wrong side uppermost, slip the piece under the ends of the piping, where they meet.
Wrap the square over the ends of the piping so that the raw edges meet the raw edges of the piping seam allowance and the raw edge of the cushion front.
Pin in place
Step 5 : Sewing the piping in place
Using the zipper foot on your sewing machine, move your needle as far as it will go to the left.
Sew piping in place, using a thread colour that matches the piping, as close to the piping cord as possible.
Take your time, particularly at the corners, to make sure that you are only sewing through the piping seam allowance, and not through the fabric that is wrapped around the piping cord. The stitching from making the piping in the first place works as a good guide.
Complete Your Cushion
Once you have added piping to your cushion front you can move on to adding your cushion back and any closure that you are thinking of using.
Sometimes I am after a quick and simple make and will go for an envelope backing. It’s also a really great option if you are new at sewing as it’s a lovely simple method! If you want to push yourself a little you could add a button and a buttonhole to your envelope backed cushion.
Another option for your cushion back is to add a zipper. You can add it to the centre of your cushion back, or you could add it to one of the sides, right up against the piping. When I add a zipper next to the piping I like to work with a 5/8″ seam allowance.