How to make a patchwork cushion cover

Patchwork cushions are a great way to use up oddments of fabric – or you can do what I did here and use a ‘charm pack’. Charm packs  are pre-cut squares made from lots of different fabrics. They’re a great way to get your hands on quality fabrics at a bargain price and are usually made from bolt ends (hence the discounted price). Alternatively you could use a mixture of your own fabric remnants and some charm packs.

What you’ll need to make 35cm square cushions

charm packs

  • 9 x 5 square inch fabric squares for each cushion (the charm packs I used had 33 squares – so you can make 3 cushions and have a few left)
  • Matching or toning fabric for the back – half a metre of fabric is more than enough for two cushions
  • A pair of 35cm square cushion pads
  • Cotton thread.

Step 1 – work out your design

Lay out your patchwork squares and play around with the order until you have the design you want. My two cushions are 3 squares wide. The designs are slightly different but with the same central square. The beauty of charm packs is that all the colours are matched so they work together. Again, if you’re adding in your own remnants, make sure they coordinate.

Step 2 – sew up the squares

DSC01738Sew each row of three squares together. Allow a quarter inch seam allowance and join each piece to the next. Once you have your three rows, join the rows to each other in the same way and with the same quarter inch seam allowance.

Step 3 – press open the seams.

Make sure you press the seams flat with an iron as shown here.

Step 4 – prepare the backing fabric

DSC01741Take your backing fabric and cut out two 15½ inch squares to form the back panels.
Also cut 8 strips – 15½ inch by 1 inch-  in the same fabric.
I always use a rotary cutter and a cutting board with a quilter’s ruler – you can get nice straight, accurate pieces this way.

Step 5 – sew the border strips to the patchwork

DSC01743Sew each strip to the edge of your patchwork. Allow a ¼ inch seam. This will give a ½ inch trim in the backing fabric to the front face, framing the patchwork block nicely.

Step 5 – join up the seams

DSC01745Turn the fabrics right side together and sew round three of the sides. At each of the two sewn corners make a diagonal cut across with pinking shears – or if you have an overlocker (serger) you can overlock the seams. I don’t have one.

Step 6 – finishing off

DSC01746For the fourth side, turn in the edge and sew a narrow hem on each side.
Turn the cushion cover right side out and using a rounded pencil end to push the corners into points.
Put the cushion pad inside.
Sew closed the open side.
Turn in the hemmed edges and sew the edges together using blind stitch. I have an explanation of how to do blind stitch here

Saving money

DSC01809If you use old scraps of fabric then all you pay for is the cushion pad – and you get these from as little as £1.50 on Amazon.
If you use a charm pack  it works out at a further £4 per cushion, assuming a price of  charm packs at £12 for 33 x 5 inch squares plus a piece of plain fabric for the back –  that’s still only around £6-£7 a cushion.