{Step-by-Step Sewing} DIY Ruffle Cushion Cover

7:00 am

Guys just don't get this whole 'throw pillow' thing, do they. But I for one am a huge fan and in my quest to update our master bedroom linen in tones of crisp white, chocolate browns and neutral accents, who can go wrong with a little ruffle!?

This is a decorated, envelope style cushion cover.

What you will need:
A cushion insert 
(these can be bought in varying sizes or, you may have one you're looking to repurpose)

(I'm using calico because it has the lovely natural, speckled colour tone I was after. This may not be the easiest fabric to work with if you are new to sewing as it frays really easily but I was going for the vintage / worn kind of look)

Measuring Tape
Fabric Scissors
Sewing Pins
Matching Cotton and Bobbin
Sewing Machine

How to measure the fabric needed:

If you are buying a store bought cushion insert, the packaging may tell you like mine what sized cover they are designed to fit into. If not,  perhaps you are recovering an existing inner, fear not, here is how to measure...

  • Place your cushion down on a flat surface
  • Lay your measuring tape on the cushion, in the centre but hold the sides out. Visually take your measurement. You will notice if you lay your measuring tape across the liner from one seam to the other, your measurement will be a good couple of inches longer. We want the insert to sit nice and snug so the cushion is full and squishy, not sagging around baggy the sides
  • Take this width measurement (or the measurement given to you on the packaging), allow a 1 inch seam allowance
  • Take the height measurement, double it. Add 3 inches. Add another 1/2 inch for seams
My cushion insert was designed to fit a cover of 16" x 16" so my measurements were:
17" width
35.5" height

You will also need some extra fabric for your ruffles.
Take your length measurement and double it. Choose a width that will suit the type of ruffles you are doing. This is personal preference. (I chose 2x pieces at 3.5" and one at 6")

Starting the Cushion Cover
  • Measure out your fabric. I mark my measurements against my measuring tape, then join the lines with a solid ruler
  • Cut and iron
  • To each short edge of the fabric, iron a 1/2" each seam
  • Sew
  • Next, lay your fabric on your table top, seams facing the table, good side facing up
  • Measure from one short edge, half your original length measurement (For me, this is 8") Pin on each side and the middle at this point
  • From those pins, measure the original length (For me, 16") and mark with pins
  • This dictates the area in which we can decorate and show on the final cushion
How to create ruffles!
  • Go back to the long strips you cut earlier
  • If you are using a fabric that tragically frays like mine, you will need to either pinky shear the edges or sew a line right around the fabric, as close as you can to the edges
  • On your sewing machine, change your stitch length to the longest possible. The tension to the highest possible
  • Back stitch at your starting edge but not at the end. Leave yourself a decent amount of  thread to pull on later
  • Use these machine settings and sew a line on each of these pieces of fabric either down the middle, or down one long edge. The fabric will start to gather by itself as you sew
  • With the unfinished edges, top the top stitch and pull on it, to further create more ruffle, until the length of fabric is the length of your cushion cover space
  • Use the top thread and bobbin thread to tie off in few knots to secure
Finishing the Cushion Cover
  • Lay your ruffles out on your cushion cover as you wish for them to appear and one by one, pin in place and sew. For the side ruffles, I sewed just to the side of my original stitch to avoid any bulkiness and for the middle feature ruffle, tried to follow the original stitch line as close as I could.
  • Next, with the ruffles still facing upwards on your table, fold over the top pieces of fabric until the pin line you marked previously
  • Fold up the second half or the fabric to create an overlap. This creates the envelope effect
  • Quickly doubled check your folding matches the measurements you need and pin the open sides into place
  • Sew along both open edges before turning the right way
  • A quick iron to smooth of the cushion cover and you can slide in your cushion insert!
Finished - Well done!

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