I was absent for a long time, because I had a lot of homework in the college. I’m ready to pay someone to write my essay, which I need to send in two days. I cannot cope with the number of assignments at the course. Should I improve my time management? 🙂

1-finished-cushion

I love making cushions! They’re such an easy and affordable way to update a room. I recently made the spotty cushion, pictured below, for our living room and had a few scraps of the fabric left over. So I decided to make another cushion in a neutral linen, decorated with some circles from the left over scraps. I’ve done a few cushion tutorials here before, but zippers are often intimidating, so I thought I’d show you how do it again. 

2-circles-cushion

Let’s get started! You will need fabric, and an invisible zipper slightly shorter than the length of your cushion. Measure two squares of fabric 3 cm (1 1/4″) bigger than your cushion insert to allow for 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance around all the edges. Use a ruler and pencil (or chalk) to draw your squares directly onto the wrong side of the fabric, then cut them out. Overlock the raw edges of each square straight away because it needs to be done before inserting the zipper. If you don’t have an overlocker, you can use a zig-zag stitch to overcast the raw edges. It’s important to overcast the raw edges so that you can launder the cover without it fraying and falling apart. Unless you are super clean and never have spills or messes on your cushions, in which case, good on you!

3-fabrics

I decided to decorate my cushion cover with some appliqué circles to match my other cushion. To do this, simply trace circles or other shapes onto the paper side of some fusible web, iron it onto the back of the contrast fabric (with the paper still attached to the other side of the fusible web). Cut out your shapes, peel off the paper backing, iron them onto the cushion square and stitch around the edges.

4-circles

Now let’s insert the zipper. Don’t panic, it’s not as hard as you think! Lay out one of your cushion squares with the right side of the fabric facing up. Lay the open zip next to it. Flip the zip over onto the fabric, with the back of the zipper facing up. Line up the edge of the zipper tape with the overlocking (about 6 mm (1/4″) away from the edge) and pin along the middle of the zipper tape, stopping about 2.5 cm (1″) from the base of the zipper. Using either an invisible zipper foot, or a normal zipper foot, sew down the middle of the zipper tape, as pinned, remembering to stop 2.5 cm (1″) from the base of the zipper. You will notice that at this stage we’re not worrying about sewing close to the zipper teeth yet. First we just want to get it securely in place, on both pieces of fabric, then we’ll worry about stitching nice and close to the teeth. This first step is essentially just tacking it in place and while it’s a little more effort, it’s easier than needing to unpick stitches from close to the teeth.

5-lay-out-zip

 

6-pin-zip

Now for the other side. Lay the square with the zipper on it right side up (the zipper should still be open). Lay the other square right side down on top, flipping back the edge that will be attached to the zipper. Line up the zipper tape the same distance from the edges as for the other side and pin then stitch in place down the tape, like you did for the other side.

7-pin-other-side

Do up the zipper and check that your two cushion squares align. As you can see the invisible zipper is still very visible, but now it’s securely in place so it will be easier to stitch close to the teeth.

8-check-alignment

Undo the zipper again and re-stitch along from the plastic stopper at the top to the place that you stopped 2.5 cm (1″) from the bottom as close to the teeth as you can get. Roll the zipper open with your fingers as you sew to get really close – you may also need to adjust the needle position on your machine. Work slowly to maintain control as your stitch.

9-invisible-at-last

Close the zipper and check out how invisible it is! If it’s still really visible, stitch again, trying to get a little closer to the teeth (there’s no need to unpick the previous row of stitching –  it will just serve to strengthen your work).

10-sew-bottom-end

With the zipper still closed, pin together the cushion squares beyond the end of the zip, holding the end of the tape out of the way. You’ll need to use a narrow zipper foot to sew this portion of the seam to get as close as you can to the stitching of the zipper. Repeat at the top of the zipper, but this time you’ll need to open the zipper to do it.

11-sew-top-end

Open out the cushion cover, close the zipper and press the seams. The zipper is finished and the rest of the cushion is easy-peasy!

12-finished-zip

To finish off the cushion, open the zipper about half way (don’t leave it closed or your cushion will get stuck inside out!) Put your normal sewing foot back on the machine. With the right sides of the cushion cover facing together, pin around the remaining three sides and sew with 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance. Turn the cover through the opening in the zipper and iron it flat.

14-pin-cushion

Insert the cushion and it’s finished! Hooray!

15-final


This is a really simple way to make baby wraps and with the wide variety of pretty cotton muslin fabrics available, a few wraps made from coordinating fabrics make a sweet gift for an expectant mother. I made these three for my gorgeous friend, Anna, who is having a baby soon! The most important thing when making baby wraps is to choose the right sort of fabric. For this light-weight style of wrap, I used baby muslin (I’m not sure if it’s called something different in other countries?) It’s 100% cotton so it’s breathable and very soft, making it perfect for babies. Many fabric stores will have a section of baby related fabrics, but if you are having trouble finding something suitable, ask the staff at your local fabric store as they are generally very knowledgable and helpful. Make sure you wash your fabrics before you start sewing. This pre-shrinks them and removes any chemical residue that may be present. 

The advantage of making your own baby wraps is that you can make them bigger than store bought wraps. This is particularly helpful for parents of big babies who wriggle out of smaller wraps. I usually make the wraps as big as the width of the fabric will allow. So trim of the selvedges, measure the width of the fabric and cut a square to that size. The wraps I am making started from squares measuring about 116 cm (46″).

Once you’ve cut your squares, fold over approximately 5-6 mm (1/4″) along each edge of the square and iron flat.

Fold over a further 5-6 mm (1/4″) all the way around so the raw edges are completely enclosed. Iron flat and pin the hem in place.

Sew all the way around the wrap. Sometimes it can be difficult to get started when sewing with fine fabrics as they can get sucked down into the feed-dogs of the sewing machine. To prevent this from happening, when you start sewing, hold the tails of thread (from the bobbin and needle) taught behind the presser foot with one hand while you get started. In a similar way, going around corners can be tricky. Once you’ve pivoted at the corner and are about to start sewing down the next side, lift the foot and insert a pin in the corner of the fabric (behind the needle, sitting under the foot). Lower the foot and using the pin, gently pull the fabric to get stated (in the same way as you’d pull the tails of thread to get started at the beginning of a seam).

Once you’ve sewn all the way around, you’re finished! Wasn’t that quick and easy? Iron your wrap so the hems sits flat and to get rid of any creases. Make a couple more in coordinating fabrics, fold and roll them up and tie them together with a pretty ribbon.