Looking for a fairly simple project that you can give as a gift? How about throw cushions?
Throw cushions are typically square and range from 12″ to 20″ or more. You can also be creative and make them in other shapes too. There are a few things to consider before you get started.
If you are making gifts, you will have to be realistic about how much time and money you are willing and able to put into the cushion. It can add up pretty quickly if you are not careful. Size matters. It isn’t so bad if you are sewing it; that’s pretty quick to complete. However if you are knitting or crocheting you’ll want to consider the cost of the yarn, the weight and gauge, and how long it will take you to make it. Hey, if you are into making a 20″x 20″ cushion out of sock yarn, I applaud you your ambition. Who am I to get in your way. For your sake, I hope you are a fast worker, though. LOL!
You’ll have to decide whether you will buy a pillow form, or stuff it with loose fibre-fill stuffing. Ready made pillow forms are available to purchase in many sizes. These are available at most sewing stores. They can be pricey. (I purchase the ones I sell in my store directly from the manufacturer; this keeps the price down.) If you are buying a pillow form, it’s good to get it first so you can build the pillow to fit. Be sure that the pillow form is larger than your pillow cover. You want to squish it in so you have a nice plump cushion when you get it all zipped up. Not all pillow forms are created equal. Some of them are pretty wimpy. If you are filling it with loose stuffing, you can make it any size and shape you like. Again, most sewing stores carry loose stuffing. It’s typically sold in either 1lb or 5lb bags.
Do you want the cover to be removable?
If so, then you’ll have to decide on what type of closure to use. Generally, a zipper is the best way to go. If you use buttons make sure that you plan an overlap that will ensure the pillow cover stays closed and that the stuffing doesn’t bulge out of the end.
If you are sewing the cover, I recommend attaching the zipper between the two pieces before you sew up the other three sides. (see photos below) It’s way easier! Just a note though. In my example, the zipper goes all the way to the end. I don’t recommend doing this in the real world. (My example was only 8″ wide.) Buy your zipper a couple inches smaller than the width of the finished cushion cover size. When you baste the seam where the zipper goes, stitch the ends that extend past the zipper securely, while using a long stitch for the portion where the zipper will actually sit. Press the seam open. Position and pin your zipper so that the chain of the zipper lines up over the basted stitches. Sew the zipper in place and then carefully open up the basted stitches to expose the zipper. Sew the three other sides. Use a point turner or a fat knitting needle (say around 12mm) to get the corners turned crisp and tidy.
If you are knitting or crocheting, I suggest that you hand stitch a running stitch along each side of the zipper, with the stitches being sized to match the gauge of your yarn. If you get 4 stitches per inch from your yarn, make your running stitches so you have 4 top stitches in each inch of the zipper. Then, use a crochet hook to pull yarn through for your cast on, or as your first row of crochet. This means that you are actually installing your zipper at the beginning of the project. How cool is that?
Oh, and one more thing. It’s not a good idea to fill a zippered cushion with loose fill. Little kids like to open zippers. You don’t want your fill all over the living room like SNOW! You can still use loose fill to accommodate a custom shape or size, but you should then make a pillow form out of something cheap like broadcloth. Stuff it, sew it shut and insert it in the zippered cover.
And above all, have fun with it. 🙂