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Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to make a cushion insert from your fabric scraps

I have been thinking about what to do with all the fabric scraps left over from quilting and sewing. You can use bigger scraps for small parts in new quilts, but at some point the pieces will be too small to actually be used for sewing. I ended up having three bags for collecting scraps:

1 -  bigger fabric scraps for use in projects
2 -  bigger batting and sandwiched scraps for warm-up sessions before quilting
3 -  scrappy scraps - all other scraps (small fabric pieces, batting pieces and thread - I don't throw  anything away)

And then I finally ccame up with an idea of what to do with the "scrappy scraps". I had made a cushion cover and did not have any insert to puto into it. I needed the cushion to be rerady the following day and shops were closed so I simply sewed a simple cushion and filled it with all those scraps. At first I feared that the cushion might be less comfortable than the commercial variety, but that was not the case.

Getting started:

First you need to establish how big you want your cushion to be.

You will need fabric for the cushion itself, big enough leftovers will be fine, some simple muslin or whatever bargain you got and never used. Consider that inside a dark cushion cover the colour of the insert doesn't matter, but you would not want it to be seen through a light-coloured cover. The inserts you see below have been made from a christmas print I got at a bargain price, but I never used for anything. I turned the fabric left side out so that the print was less visible for use with lighter-coloured cushion covers.

Consider, too, that bright scraps might be visible through a light-coloured thinner fabric, if you don't want that choose a thicker fabric. I personally don't care very much about the looks of the insert as nobody but me will ever see it. What I do care about are the looks and comfort of the finished cushion.

I will be making a 40x40cm / 16x16 in cushion.

The cushion will be sewn closed once it'll be filled so it is not necessary to enclose the edge of the fabrics with a zigzag-stitch, you can simply sew the seams with your sewing machine, but feel free to zigzag the edges after sewing to give them extra support. I will be using a serger as in one step it cleans and encases the edges while sewing.

Place the two sides of the cushion one on top of the other, the sides you want to be the outside of the cushion facing inside and pin together. Sew around the outside of the cushion leaving an opening of about 10cm/4in that will be needed to turn the cushion inside out and fill it.

Remeber to secure the seam by making a few backstitches at the beginning and the end of the seam.

Now you need to turn the cushion inside out.

When you finished the seam the cushion looks like this, with the seam showing and the opening with rough edges:

 The seam is showing all around the cushion:

Now take one corner and push it inwards and then through the opening. Slowly push the whole cushion through, turning into inside out:

On the turned cushion the seams are no longer visible and the edges are a little rounded:

No we need to fill the cushion. Put your scraps inside the cushion and, if they are not enough, add commercial stuffing. Stuff the cushion as desired: if you put too little material in, it will be flat, if you stuff in too much, it will be hard. Test the cushion every now and then and stop stuffing when it's to your liking.

Fluff the cushion in order to uniformely distribute the stuffing. The cushion takes shape:

Now close the opening using a simple backstitch.

That's it, here's your finished cushion insert. Fluff it al little more, until it's filled in all corners and doesn't have any lumps. Now all you need is a nice cover for it to go into.

Have you made a project following this tutorial? Let me know what you think. Did you like it? Was it easy to understand and to follow? Do you have any suggestions?
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