sewing project: small ikea cushion covers

IMG_9845Diversity in background and personality create changing classroom environments with every sewing course I teach. Each class is like a big beautiful gift that I can’t wait to unwrap and discover what is inside. Each person who comes through the doors can be celebrated in who they are, young or old, rich or poor, high literacy or low. The ability to learn is always the same. Sometimes learning to sew starts with picking up scissors as if for the first time. Sometimes it starts with hand, eye, foot coordination at the machine. Often it starts with learning to breathe through frustration. I have gotten really used to just giving verbal instructions and demonstrations to meet the learning preferences of many of my classes. When I asked how I could improve this last class, I was asked if I could write up directions. I often assume that my students don’t know anything about sewing, so try to explain with simple, appropriately detailed language. So here it is, my first attempt at writing up instructions in celebration of people who have asked for them! Want to sew with us? IMG_9843(Most English patterns only really deal in imperial measurements and yet I’ve only ever lived in countries that use metric. This pattern is a reflection of both!)


Finished measurements: 13 inches x 13inches

Materials: Ikea 35cm x 35cm pillow (14inch x 14inch), 0.5m fabric, 35cm zipper (14inch), Quilting Ruler (Omnigrid), Fabric pen or tailors chalk, Matching thread

Cutting It Out Cushions 1

You can either pre-make your pattern piece and place it on the fabric or mark your fabric directly. For this, we will mark right on the fabric.

  1. Open up your fabric on a flat surface, wrong side up (right side facing your surface).
  2. Draw your horizontal lines: Using the ruler, measure and draw a 14 ¼ inch line, 1 inch from the selvage edge. Measure and mark a line 14 ¼ inches above that line. Measure and mark a line 7 ⅝ inches from that one. Measure and mark one more line 7 ⅝ inches from that. (You should have three sections of fabric marked)
  3. Draw your vertical lines: Place the ruler at one of the raw edges of your fabric so that it is at a 90 degree angle (right corner) with the horizontal lines. Mark this line all the way up to the top horizontal line. Measure 14 ¼ inches from that line to complete your pattern pieces. Double check that all your corners are 90 degrees (right angles).
  4. Cut out all three pieces.

Sewing in the Zipper

  1. Bottom Piece: On one of the smaller pieces, fold and press the top edge 4/8 inch.
  2. Top Piece: On the other smaller piece, fold and press the bottom edge 6/8 inch.Cushions 2
  3. Turn over the Bottom Piece so it is right side up.
  4. Place your zipper underneath, face up, so that the teeth are visible just to the side of your fold.
  5. Pin or tack (baste) the zipper into place.
  6. With your machine, top stitch ¼ inch from the folded edge, making sure to back stitch (bar tack) at the start of your seam and the end. If the zipper tab is in your way, put the machine needle into your fabric, lift the presser foot, move the tab out of the way, put the presser foot back down and continue.                                                                    Cushions 3
  7. Take the Top Piece and line it up so the folded edge meets the top stitching you just did, or ¼ inch over the centre of the zipper.
  8. Pin or baste (tack) into place. Double check that you are picking up the raw edges that have been folded under as well.
  9. Open the zipper and top stitch ½ inch (4/8) from the fold, moving the zipper tab as before when you get to it.
  10. Machine stitch over the zipper ¼ inch from the raw seams on the edges. This is just to make sure they don’t shift out of place.

Cushions 4

Finishing the Cushion

  1. Open the zipper half way.
  2. Place the large cut piece of fabric, right sides together, over the other piece, matching edges and corners.
  3. Pin into place.
  4. Using a 5/8 inch seam allowance, stitch around the whole square, back stitching (bar tacking) at the start and finish. If you want to reinforce the zipper ends, go over those sections three times (stitch over, put the needle down into the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn the fabric, put down the presser foot and repeat).                                                   Cushions 5
  5. Trim your raw edges to ½ inch. Finish them with a zigzag stitch.
  6. Clip your corners.
  7. Turn and insert your cushion!

Download the PDF for Small Ikea Cushion Cover.

Cutting Tips:

  • Make sure your fabric can lie flat.
  • Centre the line you are cutting in front of you.
  • Cut away from your body.
  • Keep your eyes ahead of where you are cutting.
  • Cut with long, fluid cuts rather than short ones.

4 thoughts on “sewing project: small ikea cushion covers

  1. Looking forward to more of these tutorials (I hope). I could learn online from anyone, but it is much more fun to learn from a friend!

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