Wednesday, 8 October 2014

An Envelope-Style Cushion Back: A Tutorial

Following on from all the cushions I have made recently which, I finished using an envelope-style backing and, a question I was asked by a blogging friend of mine about how I made this type of backing, I though it might be nice to share with you how I make them.  So here is my method.....



After I have finished quilting the front of my cushion, I usually finish off by stitching around the entire outside edge of the cushion front.  I use a long running stitch and, I find that this holds the fabric nicely in place for trimming.




Next, I trim off all the excess batting and any threads to give me nice clean edges to work with.  I find using a square ruler (mine is 9.5 inches square) an advantage so that you can make sure both edges are straight and at right angles to each other.

Once the front is completely trimmed and ready, I put it right side up and measure it across the centre in both directions (top to bottom and side to side). These measurements are then used to determine the size of the pieces of backing fabric.



To work out the size of the fabric pieces needed for the back, you take your cushion front measurement from top to bottom, halve it and add 3.5 inches. You then use the resulting figure as the measurement for the height of fabric to cut x the width of your cushion.

For example: My cushion was 15 inches square. So, the top to bottom measurement was 15 inches. I halved this number giving me 7.5 inches and then added 3.5 inches, giving me a total of 11 inches.  I then cut two cushion back pieces each measuring 11 inches (height) x 15 inches (width).

Once cut, you need to hem one of the long edges on each piece of cushion back fabric. However, it is important to make sure that you hem the correct edge so that any pattern on the cushion back fabric is facing in the same direction on both top and bottom pieces of the back.



To determine this, I match one of the pieces of backing fabric to the top raw edge of the cushion front (right sides together) and then lay the other piece of backing fabric on top, this time matching the bottom raw edge with the cushion front.  In the middle, where they overlap, I fold back the fabric to check that the pattern is facing in the right direction on both pieces.



Pick up the backing fabric which is covering the bottom half of the cushion front and turn and press a quarter inch hem to the wrong side of the fabric along the edge which was positioned across the centre of the cushion front. Turn and press another quarter inch, so that the raw edge is hidden and then stitch in place along the edge of the hem.



Repeat this for the top half of the back fabric. Note that the bottom piece of backing fabric should be hemmed along its top edge and the top piece of backing fabric should be hemmed along its bottom edge. Remember to overstitch at each end of the hem.  Trim off the thread ends.



Now match the top backing piece right sides together with the top of the cushion front, making sure that the raw edges at the top and sides match. This will mean that the hemmed edge lies across the centre of the cushion.  Pin in place.  Stitch the top half of the back in place. Overstitching at both ends and trimming off thread ends.




Repeat matching the bottom backing piece with the bottom of the cushion front.  The hemmed edges of the backing fabrics should overlap in the middle by about three inches. 

When stitching the backing pieces in place, I usually finish each corner by ending and overstitching one edge and starting and overstitching the next edge rather than putting my needle down and turning as, I find this gives a neater finish on the right side of the cushion.



To finish off the inside of the cushion  before turning it to the right side, I neaten the edges with a zig-zag stitch all the way round the outside edge.



Once this is done all that is left to do is to turn the cover the right way out, paying attention to make sure the corners have been pushed out (I use a crochet hook to help). Gently give the seams a press from the right side and pop your cushion filler inside.






12 comments:

  1. Wonderful tutorial Christine, Gorgeous pillow! I really love how you did this, Thank you for it!

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    1. Hello Shelly and thank you!! Hope it comes in useful! :) xx

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  2. What a lovely clear tutorial Christine! I am interested in the square ruler for accuracy -I am going to check these out thank you!
    Alison xx

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    1. Hello Alison! Thank you! I hope it is of use. I do find the square rulers are good for making sure the corners are nicely squared up! :) x

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  3. Great tutorial Christine, I am going to give it a try on my next cushion much easier than the fights I usually have with the zipper. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hello Dawn! Thank you! I hope it will be useful to you. I find this method much more simple than struggling with putting a zip in straight!! :) x

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  4. I love this! It is so helpful, and I love the tips you gave throughout. I have never thought to square corners using a square ruler (duh) or to over-stitch instead of turning with the needle down on corners. And your formula for arriving at the correct measurements for the backing is genius. Thank you for sharing! I have bookmarked and will give it a go at some point. :)

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    1. Hello Linda! Thank you! I hope that you are able to use it some time and that it is easy for you to follow. I have it under the 'tutorials' page of my blog so it is easy to find. :) xx

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  5. Great, clear step by step tutorial with nice illustrative photos too. It made me go and have a look at the cushions you'd already made and they're absolutely beautiful!
    Catherine Xx

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    1. Thank you Catherine and thank you for visiting my blog! It is always fun when someone new stops by to have a look! Have a lovely weekend! :) x

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  6. My first time making an envelope back, and your tutorial made it so, so easy! Excellent instructions and photos. It took me less than an hour, and I couldn't believe how well it turned out. Thank you!!

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    1. Hello Linda! So glad that it worked for you! I always finish my pillows like this... saves fiddling with a zip! :) x

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