Tutorial: make an envelope cushion cover

If you want to vamp up your soft furnishings, this is a lovely little make that doesn’t take long and can give your sofa or bed a whole new look.

A few years back, I very uncharacteristically impulse bought a sun dress at the airport before heading off on holiday.  Basically because I fell in love with the fabric.  In reality it looked better on the hanger than on me.


So, being reluctant to part with such pretty material, I decided turn it into something else, and a pretty cushion for my daughter’s nursery seemed just the right reincarnation.  I teamed this up with another piece of material taken from a skirt that no longer fit, so a good example of up-cycling all round!

And it only takes a few simple steps if you want to have a go…

Measure the cushion
This will give you the measurement you need for the cover.  Now add on 1.5cm all round, as this will be needed for the seam allowance (so if your cushion measures 40cm square, your fabric will need to be 43cm square).  This is for the front of the cushion.

For the back, you need two shorter pieces that overlap (this makes the envelope, by which you can put in and take out the cushion without needing to use buttons or zips).  You’ll use the same width measurement as above, but the length will need to be about 2/3 of this measurement to ensure that both pieces overlap at the back.

So, keeping to the example of working with a cushion that is 40cm square, working out the measurements for your two back pieces would go like this:

Width = 40cm
Length = 2/3 of 40cm = 27cm

And don’t forget the 1.5cm seam allowance that needs to be added to all edges…
Width = 43cm
Length = 30cm

Cut out the fabric
Its entirely up to you as to how you do this.  As I was making a one-off quick make for my home, I just drew straight onto the fabric with tailor’s chalk.  However, I’ll often draw out the pattern pieces on paper first, and pin and cut my fabric using these.  That way you always have them to use again whenever you fancy a change (for example, I’ve made up covers for specific times of the year such as Christmas, and this is so much quicker to do if you have some pattern pieces to hand for each of your cushions).


Make up the cushion
The raw edge along the width of the back pieces needs to be neatened up, so your first job is to fold this over by approximately 0.5cm, press, and repeat.  Pin this in place, and top-stitch to secure (if you’re confident in sewing straight lines, it can be fun to use a contrasting coloured thread here to help add to the design).  Do this for both back pieces.

Back edge

Next, pin all three pieces together.  Lay your front piece down right side facing up.  Now lay one of the back pieces in place, right side facing down (so right sides will be together).  Lay the final piece in place, again right side facing down.  Pin all round the edges, taking particular care to secure where you have all three layers in place so they don’t slip about when sewing.  Move over to the sewing machine and stitch around all four edges (and remember, you are using a 1.5cm seam allowance).


Now, if I was making this to sell in the shop, I’d ensure all raw edges were finished off by using my over-locker.  If you don’t have one of these, sewing along all the edges with zig-zag stitch will work too.  However, as this was only a quick make, on this occasion I kept them raw.  Again, its entirely up to you as to whether you want to add this additional stage – helps keep any fraying to a minimum but takes a bit more time.

Give all your seams a quick press, and clip the corners to reduce bulk.


Turn the cover through, and give it one final press to smarten up.  Add your cushion, and there you have it, a fabulous way to give your soft furnishings a new look without too much cost or effort (and in my case a great way to keep some much admired fabric in my life!)



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