Making the Broken Dishes Cushion

Hello everyone, Laura here!

Making a quilt can be a time-consuming project, whereas a cushion is a much more doable project and can be just as satisfying. I needed some new scatter cushions for our guest bedroom and the beautiful indigo hand dyed fabrics were perfect for the colour scheme of the room.

Having sewn the piecing, I layered up and quilted it. (I did make sure that the size of patchwork corresponded with a cushion inner that I already had.) I’ve made two cushions, here are my steps to help you with yours:

For one of my cushions I’ve used quilted patchwork for both front and back. A quilted fabric is really quite sturdy and robust, so it ensures that your cushion ‘sits’ up really well and won’t collapse and crease even if it does get sat on.

For the second cushion I just had one pieced side and needed to find something to coordinate on the back. I opted for a plain white fabric. It’s furnishing weight, but nevertheless, I opted to quilt it. Partly because I love the texture, but also because it’ll add some structural integrity and again, stop that backing fabric slumping and creasing in use.
I think cushions look great with some kind of accent around the edge. I love a piping, but it can be tricky to do, especially at the corners. So in this case I’ve gone for a pompom trim. This is really quite straightforward to insert.

Cut your pompom trim to length for each side. I add a little extra just to be safe.

Baste the trim to one side of your cushion with the pompoms facing in. Simply overlap at the corners and snip off any pompoms that are too close at the corners.

Next the zip! On both front and back pieces, overlock or zigzag the side of the cushion where the zip will be placed.

Place the zip. With the thickness of a quilted fabric, I think it’s easiest to place the zip right sides facing the cushion and sew reasonably close to the teeth. Using a zip foot for this will make life much easier. There are various types so have a look in your accessories case to see what yours is like. Sew in one side of the zip, then the other. If you want to, you can baste the zip in place and then run another line of stitching a little closer to the teeth.

Now with the cushion pieces right sides together and the zip sewn in, sew the side together that is opposite to the zip. If you have a walking foot then use it for this, it’ll help reduce any possible shift of these thick layers. I don’t have one on this machine so instead I’ll pin quite thoroughly and just do my best to keep everything lined up. You’re aiming to sew just to the left side of the braiding on the pompom trim so that it’s completely trapped in the seam. If any of the braid peeps out after you’ve sewn the seam just go back to it and run it down with a slightly wider seam allowance until it’s hidden.

Now sew down one of the cushion sides in the same way.Keep the zip foot on so you can stitch nice and close (but not into) the pompoms. You’ll be able to feel the bulk of them through the quilt sandwich.  I used the quilting as my guide on where to place the seam line. I knew my line of stitching had to hit those points.

Next reach in from the open side and open the zip, before sewing up that final side.

Turn it through and check it all looks nice and neat. If you’re happy, turn it back inside out then overlock or zigzag the raw edges on those three sides you’ve just sewn. This will stop those raw edges fraying should you ever want to wash the cushion cover.

Turn it through and poke out those corners carefully. The pompom trim should sit really nicely right on the edge of the cushion.

Stuff in your cushion inner getting it right into the corners, zip up and admire your handiwork!

My tips:

  • quilting your patchwork will make your cushion much more robust and it’ll look better for longer.
  • match your zip to the main colour of your cushion. I chose white, but sometimes it can be better to chose the darker of the two colours, it can be more discreet.
  • choose a pompom trim that adds a pop of colour to your project. Think of it like you do with the binding on your quilt. It can work to frame your project.
  • do something different front and back of your cushion – change the quilting thread colour or pattern, vary the piecing, or have a plain quilted back with a pieced front. That way you can turn your cushion round to give a different look.

Back soon!

Love Laura