My husband and I have recently delved into the deep waters of home renovations. We're still in the planning-applications-logistics stage but I hope to share some of our progress and ideas once we begin work. As we've made our plans and selections, I've been growing increasingly itchy to just put some of thoughts into action, to just do something! Anything! So while tearing out our kitchen will have to wait a few more months I decided to move onto something less drastic.
Enter the humble couch cushion.
I've been toying with more geometric, angular and textural elements in our living room. The room has long felt in need of a little more balance, more edge. A little bit of leather, or in this case leather-look vinyl, can go a long way towards infusing a room with some balance, playing again other textures to create something lively and fun.
If you're similarly keen to add some leather and geometry to your living room, here's how.
You will need:
- a cushion insert measuring approximately 40cm by 40cm (16"x16")
- plain coloured cotton fabric measuring 0.5m x 1m
- leather or leather-look vinyl
- 1.7 metres of piping
- three buttons
- thread in two colours (one to match your fabric and another to match your leather)
- sewing machine
- hand-sewing needle
What you do:
Step 1. Cut your fabric. Lay your fabric out on a flat surface and measure then cut two rectangles. The first rectangle measures 48cm by 41.5cm. This will be the back of your cushion. The second rectangle (or square) measures 41.5cm by 41.5cm. This will be the front of your cushion. Cut out the two rectangles.
Step 2. Take your rectangle for the back of the cushion and orient it horizontally. On one of the short edges mark a line 10cm in from the edge. Cut down this line. You will now have two pieces for the back of your cushion.
Step 3. Take the two back pieces and along one long edge of each piece fold 0.5cm to the wrong side of the fabric. Press. Fold again, this time 1cm. Press. Now sew down the fold, 1cm from the edge. Press once more.
Step 4. It's time to add your piping. Take the front piece and align the raw edges of the piping with the right side of the front piece. It's a good idea to start your piping in the middle of one of the edges so that you can overlap the start and end of the piping into one another and create a seamless look. You can pin the piping to the fabric, or hold it in place as you sew, whichever you find easiest.
TIP: When you come to a corner create three small clips in the seam allowance on the piping so that you can bend the piping around the corner (see photo below). This will allow the piping to lay flat as it rounds the corner.
Step 5. Sew your piping in place. Attach the zipper foot to your sewing machine. Start sewing where the ends of the piping meet and continue around the cushion. Stitch as close as possible to the cord of the piping.
TIP: When sewing piping it can be helpful to thread your bobbin with a thread that is a contrasting colour to the colour of the wrong side of your fabric. That way you will easily be able to see where you have stitched the piping when you come to attach the back of the cushion to the front.
Step 6. Mark your leather or vinyl and then cut it out. Draw a rectangle 28cm x 20cm on your vinyl. Draw a triangle starting from the top left-hand corner to the centre of one of the long sides of the rectangle and finishing in the bottom right-hand corner. Draw a line 2.5cm in from the edge of the long side of the triangle. Cut out your shapes.
Step 7. Position your shapes on the front of the cushion cover and hand-stitch in place.
You can use a leather punch to mark where to stitch if you want uniformly spaced holes. Alternatively, you could glue your shapes in place.
Step 8. Pin and stitch the back fabric to the front. Make sure you pin right sides together! The two back pieces should overlap by a few centimetres to form a pocket for your cushion insert to slip into later.
TIP: If you used contrasting bobbin thread when you sewed the piping to the front then simply stitch ever so slightly inside (or on top of) that line of stitching to attach the back to the front.
Step 9. Flip your cushion cover the right way and press along the edges but DON'T press your vinyl/leather. Cut out three 4cm by 1.5cm tags from your remaining vinyl. Cut a long slit in each tag parallel to the long side of each tag. The slit needs to be slightly longer than the diameter of your buttons. Position your tags evenly across the back of your cushion where the two back pieces overlap. Hand-stitch the tags in place and then position your buttons and hand-stitch those in place too.
TIP: If your vinyl/leather is quite thick you will need to create an extra long shank for your button.
Step 10. Place the cushion insert into the cover, fasten the buttons and you're done!