Well, I’ve finally got around to posting about this cute little project. This was actually my last sew before Thing Two arrived, and I had originally planned to post it way back when, but then as soon as I went on my maternity leave the predictable thing happened – I got addicted to This Morning, folding and re-folding baby clothes, eating everything in sight and fretting about just how on earth I was gonna manage with two little ones (as it turns out, just fine).
So, here we go! Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve got a decent enough sofa, and a few mist matched chairs for guests, but there’s never quite enough. With little ones around, you spend a lot of time on the floor too, and it’s not the comfiest place to sit when you’ve just birthed said little one, so here’s a quick and easy way of making something squishy to sit on.
You can make a floor cushion in pretty much any size, and you could even make a giant one to cover a large portion of your floor, which would be super comfy for babies to roll around on.
All you’ll need is the following:
Foam pads are pretty easy to find, and most can be cut to side. Try eBay (search for foam or cushion pads), where you can buy all sorts of sizes and depths. Mine was 50cm by 50cm and the depth is about 10cm, which works out about the same size as a sofa cushion, although if I was to make it another I’d use a shallower depth. 5cm or 2inches would be absolutely fine. The foam I’ve used is pretty firm, but again this depends on your preference. If you have Dunelm nearby, they sell pre-cut pieces from £6.50
You’ll need some fabric to cover it, naturally. You can use pretty much anything to cover it with, although I’d recommend a good quality cotton rather than a poly-cotton so that the colour of the foam doesn’t show through. You could also use upholstery cotton (try Ikea for some massive bargains), which would be a bit more hardwearing, or you could even use oilcloth if you want it to be waterproof. Mine is a Japanese import quilting cotton, with a little bit of sheen. It was ridiculously expensive! But, I fell in love with it and full of preggo hormones where I would accept no substitutions, so it had to be this one.
It’s easy to work out how much fabric you’ll need. For the top and bottom, you’ll need the same size as your cushion pad, plus 2cm seam allowance all round. Mine was 50cm by 50cm, so I needed two square pieces of 54cm by 54cm. Depending on the width of your fabric, you might be able to cut two side by side.
For the side piece, you need one long strip that’s going to cover three of the sides, plus your 2cm seam allowance all round. So that’s one piece 154cm by 14cm – if your fabric isn’t long enough just sew two pieces together (remember to add 2cm seam allowance).
For the final side where you will add the zip, you need two strips, half of your depth, with 2cm added. For mine, it was two strips of 9cm by 54cm (5cm was half the depth, with 2cm seam allowance added to make 9cm).
It really helps to draw a little diagram so you don’t get confused!
To fasten the cushion, I’ve used continuous zipping. It’s a very long strip of zip with no ends, which means you can tuck it in really neatly at the sides, and it can be cut to any length you want. It’s so easy to work with and can be used in dressmaking too, which makes it much more economical than regular zips. A five metre length with ten zip pulls cost me less than £4 on eBay!
Without an end on it, the zip pulls apart really easily, and can be pushed back together with your fingers. If you’re not confident with zips, I’d really recommend this as you can sew both sides separately and push it back together with the zip pull (just make sure that you have some excess each side).
The trickiest bit is adding the zip pulls; try threading each side separately and pulling it through the wide end. it’s a bit frustrating, but you can be quite firm.
I’ve added piping to my cushion, and if you want to do this, it’s pretty easy. For each side you’ll need a piece of piping that’s the same circumference (50cm by 50cm by 50cm by 50cm = 2m), plus an extra 3cm or so to finish it off. Face your piping inwards so that the rounded part of the piping faces into the centre of the cushion, and the flat side points outwards. Start on a straight edge and clip the piping on the corners so that it lays flat.
You need to sew it really close to the seam allowance to make sure that it pops out on the edges. Use your zip foot so that you can get really close. Here’s a really good video if you’re struggling, or you can take a look at my blanket tutorial where I show a bit more about how to do this.
On to the sewing!
It really will come together quite quickly. First, sew the zip panel by attaching the smaller side panels to each side of the zipping, and trim it to size. There’s no need to finish the seams as they’re going to be enclosed inside the cushion.
Next, attach your long strip to both sides of your zip piece, creating one big loop of fabric. Making sure to keep your zip piece straight across one side, pin the first large square to the side strip loop, right side to right side. Sew around the sides, using your 2cm seam allowance. Again, don’t worry about finishing the seam.
The final stage is to add the second flat panel to the other side, and turn the cushion cover inside out by using the hole on the zip side. Then, add your cushion – it should be easy to insert as your zip covers a whole side, so no squishing necessary!
That’s about it, pretty easy, huh? The hardest part is the measuring, and deciding what size to make. Mine slips under the sofa when it’s not being used, so it’s pretty handy, and it’s just the right size for sitting at our coffee table. You can use this template to make anything comfy you like, playmats, laptop cushions, kneeling pads… just adapt your choice of fabric to its use.
I really like mine and it’s come in handy for all that tummy time with Mini-Mini, and it was good to prop her up with when she was learning to sit. Plus, well, I did make her a dress out of the same fabric, so I kinda justified it’s hideous cost (yeah, she wore it once and I never got a picture, such is life with a baby).
Hope this is useful for you,