Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A custom touch

Today I finished my most recent sewing project, two bench cushions a friend hired me to make.  No tutorial here, but I wanted to point out a few "extras" that anyone can add into a sewing project to give it that custom touch.  There are already a plethora of tutorials online for any of these techniques, so check out youtube if you decide to try any of them on your next project.

The cushion is a two inch high-density foam, a durable and resilient foam that will stand up to being used on an entry-way bench.  To make a functional cushion cover, all you need is enough fabric to cover the top, bottom, and sides, plus a seam allowance.  And you can make it that simple if you want.  But if you want a cushion (or pillow) with a little more of a pop, then read on!


First step, don't forget to prewash your fabric prior to starting any project.  Nothing worse then finishing a sewing project and having it warp the first time you wash it because your fabrics shrink differently in the wash!  This fabric was purchased from the Fabric Warehouse . . . beautiful designer fabric for a fraction of the retail store price.


Piping is the fabric encased tube that you see above, outlining the edges of the cushions.  Very simple to make, and it gives a piece that tailored finish.  Key thing to remember is to cut your fabric on the bias, not on the grain, so that your piping will curve around corners easily.  Half a yard of fabric will yield about seven yards of piping.


Put in a zipper!  Easy enough to do, and then when your kid spills ice cream on it, you can take the cover off your cushion/pillow, and throw it in the wash.  Here you can see the stitching I did on either side of the zipper to reinforce and give it a tailored finish.


I would have loved to use invisible zippers on these cushions, as I do when making pillows, but I needed a zipper that was at least 36 inches long.  No invisible zippers that long.  Ultimately, though, an upholstery zipper (such as I used) is a better option anyway, as it will be sturdier in the long run.  What to do to hide the zipper pull?  Make a flap of fabric to go over it!  The pull tucks right in, and won't be waving all over with the potential to scrape the bench or snag someone while they pull their boots on.


Line the cover.  You can get a basic white muslin for $1 / yard at Joann Fabrics with a coupon, and that will work just fine.  Your cover will be sturdier, with less chance for warp or damage over the long-term.  (As long as you remember to wash and dry everything before you start your project!)

The last touch I did with these covers was to serge the seam allowance on the inside.  It doesn't always happen that your project can look as pretty inside as out, but it does here.  If you don't have a serger that will cut the excess and do a cover stitch, just trim off the little frayed edges yourself and use a zig-zag stitch on a regular machine.


See how pretty the inside is after running it thru the serger?  These covers will last a very long time because of the piping, lining, zipper, and serging.  Well worth the effort!


And the finished products . . . give me a shout out if you have a custom project you want me to tackle, I'd be glad to give you a quote!

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