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Monday, July 1, 2013

How to make a flounced cushion with piping

In this tutorial I will show you how to make a flounced cushion with piping.

I love these cushions in romantic Laura-Ashley-style designs, as you can easily see from the picture above, and they aren't that hard to make yourself.

This is what you need:

- fabric for the cushion
- fabric for the flounces (may be the same as for the cushion or another matching or
  contrasting fabric. Consider that there is the piping, too, so you could use that to add contrast
  to the cushion using the same fabric for the cushion's body and the flouncing. If you prefer to
  use different colours, make sure they work well together).
- fabric for piping (see above)
- cord for piping (I prefer to use Wrap 'n Fuse Piping by Nancy Zieman from Clover, it is wrapped in fusible interfacing and can be ironed on easily)
- zipper

How much fabric do you need?

General considerations:
Cushion: two squares (back and front) in the desired size of the cushion plus seam allowance. My finished cushione should measure 50x50cm, so my fabric squares measure 51,2x51,2 cm.
Flounces: you need a strip that is a bit longer that the perimeter of the cushion. In my case the perimeter is 2m (4x50cm) and therefore my strip will be over 3m (I pieced three strips of 110cm fabric, so the actual length is 3.3m). Consider that the longer your strip is, the more flounces you will get. Regarding the construction of the flounces you can make them single or doublesided (see picture below, the blue is single sided, on the back of the flounces you see the wrong side of rhe fabric, while  the pink double sided). For the double sided flounces you will need strips that are twice as high as you will fold them in half.

Piping:     length: single perimeter of the cushion plus a couple of inches for corners; width:
                 3,5cm (the piping fabric will be wrapped around the cord and inserted into the seam
                 so what will be seen is only the cord wrapped in fabric).
Cord for piping: same length as piping
Zipper:     depends on the size of your cushion, it should be slightly shorter than the side it is
                  supposed to go into.

Fabric measurements for a 50x50cm cushion with double 10cm flounces:

Cushion and flounces: 120cm of 110cm (44in) wide fabric
Piping: 1 fat quarter


1) Cut the two squares from your cushion fabric (51,2x51,2cm)

2) Cut strips from flounces fabric. You will need a finished strip of at least 3 m, cut enough strips to achieve that length and join the pieces as shown below. For double sided flounces your strips will need to be 21,2cm high while for single sided flounces 11,2cm are sufficient.

3) Cut strips for the piping. Cut a bias strip following this tutorial, then wrap the fabric around your piping cord. With fusable piping simply fold the strip in half lengthwise, place the cord inside the fold and iron over the fabric fusin everything together.

4) Attach the piping to one of your fabric squares (this will be the front). Place the piping around the outer edge of the right side of the fabric with the raw edges facing outward and the piping facing inward and sew in place using your zipper foot as shown below. Start sewing from one of the corners.

Go slowly when you get to the corners, sew until you are close to the edge, then stop with the needle down and turn the fabric.

  Finish attaching the piping in the corner where you started as shown below.

This is what the cushion would look like, if you attached the back now without adding the flounces:

5) Prepare the flounces. Sew your strips into a circle, joining the two short edges in the way you joined the single strips.Then fold it in half lengthwise right side out for the double sided flounces. For single sided flounces fold the fabric on one long side over twice to create a hem and sew in place. You can make the flounces with your ruffler foot if you own one. If not set your straight stitch to a long stitch length, at least 5, but even longer, if your machine does that. Sew two parallel lines close the long raw edge of your strip and leave longer threads at the beginning as well as at the end of each seam.

Now grab only the two bobbin threads and tug in order to create the flounces.

Continue to do this until your strip is of the correct lenth, in our case approximately 2m. When you achieve the correct length, distribute the flounces evenly over the whole length of the strip. Then place the flounces right side to right side around the whole perimeter of the front of the cushion and the piping with the raw edge facing outwards. Adjust the remaining difference in length, if you have one and pin in place.

The piping lies in between the cushion and the flounces.

Attach the flounces to the cushion with a straigth stitch (remember to shorten your stitch length after sewing the two parallel lines for ruffling) using your zipper foot (use the zipper foot, because underneath the flounces there's the piping and you want to sew as close as possible to that).

6) Attach the back of the cushion. Place the back of the cushion right side to right side onto the front with the piping and flounces inside. 

Pin the two layers together. Before sewing decide where to put the zipper and mark the beginning and end points onto your cushion with an erasable pen.

Sew the layers together from zipper mark to zipper mark with a straight stitch, fixing the seam with a couple of backstitches at the beginning and at the end.

7) Attach the zipper. Place the zipper in the opening and pin it in place right side to right side on one side first with the ends of the zipper on the wrong side of the fabric as shown below.

Sew in place with your zipper foot. Then attach the second side in the same way.
Last, attach the ends of the zipper to the inside of the cushion with a couple stitches.

Now turn the cushion inside out through the opening and you're done.

For a tutorial on how to make a cushion insert, have a look here.

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?
Write a comment or send me an email using the contact form at the bottom of the page.