I wanted a nice, thick cushion with handles on the sides for my daughter’s room so she could pick it up and move it around to wherever she feels like reading (she does a LOT of that!) and this is what I came up with.
Step 1: Cut Pieces
You’ll need 1 yard each of 2 coordinating fabrics, home decorating weight is best. Other heavy weights may also work, such as denim or corduroy (I think I could see doing that for a boy’s cushion). Anna picked out the decor weight fabrics here on our last trip to the States for a Jo-Ann’s run. You’ll also need coordinating or contrasting piping (I used a little less than 2 packages of store bought piping) and your stuffing of choice.
From each fabric cut:
1 circle with a 21 inch diameter (that’s a 10.5 inch radius if you quarter your fabric to draw the circle like I do)
2 rectangles (9 inch x 17.5 inch)
2 rectangles (3 inch x 7 inch)
*Note: I use a 1/2 inch seam allowance throughout
Step 3: Sew Handles
Take one small rectangle of each fabric and sew together with right sides facing. Start and stop your stitching along one long edge and leave about a 2 inch space for turning.
Edge stitch around to close the turning gap.
Step 4: Construct
Piece together the long rectangles in alternating fabrics. Press seams open. You now have a tube that will become the sides of the cushion.
Place one handle centred over a pieced seam on the tube and pin in place. Sew on using your favourite method (barn-door stitching or simple rectangle). Repeat with other handle over the opposite seam.
Pin the tube that will be your cushion sides to one circle, right sides together, sandwiching the basted piping in between the layers. Ease in fullness if necessary to avoid puckers. Sew with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance so that your stitches are very close to the edge of the piping. I like to stitch a section and then flip it open while it’s still on the machine to check that my work is the way I want it. This way if I accidentally overlap my stitching on the piping or if I’m stitching too far from the piping, I have less to undo to fix the mistake.
Repeat with the other fabric circle, but this time leave about a 4-5 inch space for turning and stuffing the cushion.
Step 5: Stuff
Use the stuffing material you like best and fill the cushion as full as you like. You can decide if you’d like it soft and squishy or stiff and firm or somewhere in between. Completely up to you. I used two 32 ounce bags of recycled polyfil (about 4 pounds total).
Hand sew the opening closed, being careful to keep your stitches hidden in the “ditch” between your fabric layers. This does take time and patience (and a little practice!) so don’t worry if you have trouble doing this the first time you try it. You’ll get better! 🙂
*Note: It has occurred to me that I could have avoided the hand sewing here if I had simply installed a zipper in the side fabric… hmmmm… will have to remember that the next time around!
At this point you could also put a large fabric covered button in the centre of the cushion like here, but it’s not necessary. I chose not to do that this time because I wanted a flatter top and bottom. We’ll see if I change my mind after a little while — not like I can’t change it later!
Step 6: Enjoy!