Learn how to make a patchwork cushion! A new cushion or two can make the world of difference to a living room or a bedroom. Using patchwork to design just the right cushion is a rewarding way to create this new addition to any room.
How to Make a Patchwork Cushion Tutorial
Patchwork is a great way to use up scraps of fabric and turn them into something meaningful. You can piece together leftovers from all kinds of different projects or go out and purchase mix-and-match fabrics to compliment your curtains or bedspread.
The patchwork cushion is based on the method of making a mini quilt top.
The mini quilt top is the front of the pillow. The squares are arranged in a set of four patch quilt block units. The four units are then pieced together to make the square pillow front.
You will enjoy playing with patches without the weight of a full quilt. It’s very rewarding. The size of the squares will depend on the finished size of the pillowcase.
An 18-inch square pillow case cushion will need 4x4 rows of 4” squares. Add a larger border if you want to make the cushion bigger.
This patchwork cushion cover pattern will have an envelope back, and this will be added after the patchwork front is completed. The idea of the envelope opening is to ensure the inner of the cushion can slip into the pillowcase with no fuss. The backing of the pillowcase is known as envelope backing because it does not have any zipper or button closure.
SKILL LEVEL: Confident Beginner
Supplies for Making a Patchwork Cushion Cover
This is your chance to use up scraps of fabric and be creative.
- 18-inch (46cm) square cushion or pillow inserts
- Fabric scraps or fat quarters of cotton quilting fabric
- Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat
- Matching thread or neutral for multiple colors of fabric
- Pins or clips
- Iron and ironing board
- Sewing machine
- All-purpose or walking presser foot
- Options: 18-inch square piece of batting.
Best Fabrics for the Patchwork Cushion
The best fabric for patchwork and quilting is cotton fabric. Some shops sell cotton fabric in batches of mix-and-match colors and patterns.
Here are some extra tips for choosing the best patchwork cushion fabrics:
- You may like to try to weave in some fabrics from a pre-loved, sentimental outfit.
- A softer lace fabric may need a backing to give it more body.
- Avoid stretch knits as they are difficult to work on.
- Avoid very thick, coarse fabrics, which are challenging too.
- keeping to the same weight of the fabric makes sure the quilt is even and holds its shape.
Read more about what is a yard of fabric.
How to Make a Patchwork Cushion - Cutting Instructions
To make your patchwork cushion, cut out the following:
- 16 pieces of 4-inch (10cm) squares to sew up into your quilted cushion
- 2 rectangles 2.5x14 inches for the top borders
- 2 rectangles 2.5x18 inches for the side borders
- 2 rectangles 18x12 inches for the back of the cushion
These pieces can come out of your scrap fabric stash, or you may decide to buy some mix-and-match fabrics. Fat quarters are ideal for patchwork projects.
All fabrics should be pre-washed and ironed before you cut them.
This cushion pattern uses 16 by 4-inch squares. You can, of course, vary the square size. Just remember to add ½ inch to your squares for a seam allowance.
If you are using a rotary cutter and cutting mat, remember your safety instructions and always cut away from yourself.
How to Make a Patchwork Pillow Case Step by Step Instructions
Here is how to cut, stitch and put on the backing to make a patchwork cushion cover.
Step 1 - Cut the Fabric Squares
Use the directions given for cutting the pieces for a patchwork square. You will have 16 squares in assorted fabrics. I used 6 different types of fabric.
If you have a fabric with a patterned design, fussy cut to get a beautiful placement for the motifs.
Step 2 - Arrange the Squares
Take your time to arrange the fabric squares in a pleasing pattern. I rearranged numerous times to get each pattern separated from the next line. There is no real right or wrong; just find a design that you find pleasing.
TIP: Use your cell phone to take a photo of the arrangement. As soon as you start picking up squares to sew, you can lose your order, and referring to a photo helps enormously.
Step 3 - How to Make a Patchwork Cushion Front
The next step is to combine the squares to make the cushion cover's front piece. Start by sewing the patches in 4 rows.
Tips for sewing patches:
- Use a ¼ inch (6mm) seam allowance.
- Reduce your stitch length to 1.5 to 2 to create stronger seams that do not need to be backstitched.
- Be accurate with your seams to enable better matching up in the next steps.
Press the seams or each row in an alternate direction. See how in the photo below, the first row had all seams pressed to the left, then the second row was all to the right.
Match the seams of each row with the right sides together. As the seams are pressed in opposite directions, the seams will nest into each other. Always place a pin at each intersection to hold it in place as you sew. Don't forget to remove the pins as you sew - you don't want to break a needle!
Stitch the rows together. A walking foot can be an enormous help for the seams not to shift as you sew. The seams can be pressed open or to one side.
Step 4 - Sew the Borders
Here are the borders of the cushion.
Sew the two short sides first and then add the two longer sides.
Step 4 – Optional: Add on the Batting
If you would like a padded cushion cover top, cut a piece of batting the same size as your finished top piece. Pin it to the wrong side of the cushion cover and quilt the top on the right side using a walking foot.
My fabric was quite thick, so I decided batting was not necessary.
Step 5 – Hem the Envelope Pieces
Take the two rectangle pieces you cut for the back of the cushion.
Press over the hem by ⅜ inch (1cm) on the wrong side of the longer inner edges. Press over again by the same amount to form a double-fold hem.
Stitch the hems.
Step 6 – Attach the Back Pieces to Make a Backing
Overlap the hemmed edges of the backs to the size that matches that of your patchwork top. If your seam allowances were accurate, this should be 18 inches square.
Baste the top and bottom of the overlap.
Step 7 – Sew the Sides of the Pillow
Place the patchwork top and back right sides together. The overlapping hems should be in the center.
Sew all around the cushion edges using a ⅜ inch (1cm) seam allowance. Reinforce the edges where they overlap to make the opening stronger. It may be easier to sew this seam with a walking foot because of the layers of fabric and batting.
Step 8 – Trim and Turn
Trim the corners of the cushion cover. Use pinking shears or a zig-zag stitch on the raw edges to prevent fraying.
Then turn the cushion cover the right way out. Push out the corners with a blunt object.
The final step is to press the pillow cushion cover and insert the inner cushion insert to fill the cushion before putting it in the chosen spot in your house.
Decorative Ideas for a Patchwork Cushion
You can decorate your cushion cover before sewing up the final seams. Ric-Rac around the edge of the border makes a fun cushion. Buttons and bows also add interest to the cushion cover.
Patchwork Pillow Case – In Conclusion
Making a patchwork cushion cover is a fun idea to use up your scraps. It is a great way to practice patchwork and quilting while you make something small to add a little pop of color or design to a room. This is a project you will be glad you took the time to make.
More Cushion Patterns
How to Make a Patchwork Cushion
- Scissors or rotary cutter
- Sewing machine
- Cut 16 pieces of 4 inch squares. Arrange them as you desire.
- Sew each row of squares together with a ¼ inch seam allowance.
- Press the seams of each row in a different direction.
- Match the seams and sew the rows together. Press the seams open.
- Stitch the top and bottom border and then side borders.
- Press the inside longer hems of the backs over by ⅜ inch twice to form a double hem. Stitch the hems. Overlap the backs so the width is 18 inches. Baste the overlapped sections.
- Put the back and front together with right sides together. Stitch all the way around. Finish with a zig-zag stitch.
- Clip the corners and turn the right way out. Press.
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