A Cushion for the Bench – Mudroom Reno Part 2

The time has come for the second installment in our massive mudroom makeover! This is all about my adventures (read: frustrations) at making a custom cushion for our new bench. I found some fun fabric at Ikea…actually it’s the red version of what Karlie used for those adorable pillows in her new kitchen nook. (I can’t wait to come visit and we can sit here and sip coffee and eat treats and discuss decor ideas!!)

First step was to track down the foam. I originally wanted a 4 inch thick cushion but man that stuff is expensive! Settling on 3 inch, I waited (not so patiently, I might add) for it to go on sale and still ended up spending $40 just on the foam. Good thing my fabric was so cheap! Just like how you buy fabric, they cut the length you need at the store but then you get to take it home and cut the specific dimensions yourself. Here’s my pile of supplies:

Those fun stripes, my foam, piping, and some dark gray fabric. You can actually buy this piping in a bunch of different colors but sadly not in a dark gray so I set about making my own. First you need to make bias tape…yes you can also buy this but it’s a good thing to know how to do when the specific color you want isn’t available, or piping with a fun pattern on it would be cute too!

You need to cut a bunch of strips on the bias (diagonally) that are wide enough to wrap around your piping. This is standard 1/2 inch piping so I cut my strips at an inch and a half. Cutting on the bias means the fabric will have a bit more give to it so when you’re sewing it in place on your cushion, there won’t be any pulling or bunching.

Measure around the perimeter of your cushion and add a couple inches to get the length of finished piping you will need. My cushion is 72 x 18 so I made mine 184 inches long. And remember, if you want piping on the top and bottom of your cushion, you get to do this twice! Pin the ends of two strips together at right angles and sew, continuing until you have your two very long strips.

Once you have your nice long pieces of bias tape done, simply wrap and pin it around the piping and then sew in place.

A zipper foot really comes in handy for this because you can get the needle so much closer to the piping.

Then it’s fabric cutting time! You need two identical pieces for the top and bottom, and then four pieces to go around the sides. Don’t forget to add seam allowances! Also, you need to think about how to get in and out of your cushion cover. I decided to make a big flap along the whole back side.

Because apparently I like to make things harder for myself, I decided I just had to have the stripes going ‘vertically’ rather than ‘horizontally’ but my fabric wasn’t long enough for that. So! I had to strategically cut and sew a couple pieces together. This means my measuring and cutting was a bit more specific and complicated than it really needed to be. So much so that I ended up mapping it out to ensure I would get all the pieces I needed cut out of my fabric. It was pretty close but I made it!

As you go about pinning in the next couple steps, I think it really helps to lay everything out on the foam to get it all in the exact right place. Pin the finished piping along the edge of your top piece, cutting up to (but not through) the stitching at each corner so it can bend and create a nice square corner.

When you get to where the ends meet, just overlap them and pin/sew in place and then trim off the excess.

Pinning and sewing corners and 90 degree angles while matching stripes is so fun! Please note the sarcasm here….

From now on, you need to fit and pin (and sew) everything inside out.

Lining up the stripes perfectly was probably my biggest struggle with this project.

I actually sewed half of the top together before checking and realizing it was a good 1/4 inch off. I know that doesn’t sound like much but it was way more noticeable than I was wanting. So yaye for seam ripping and redoing! I finally got the hang of it and they started matching up. So relieved! Here’s the top and sides put together; I laid this out on the floor…

…then put the foam on top and pinned my last piece in place.

Pinning while on the actual cushion will ensure a nice tight fit on your cushion cover. Then because I made a flap along the back, I just undid the pins holding the flap closed and slid the cover off to finish sewing.

All finished! Or so I thought. I didn’t realize until fitting it onto my foam that these giant flaps would keep it from fitting tight enough. It just looked so loose and sloppy.

Nothing a bit of velcro can’t fix! Actually, a lot of velcro.

Here we are – much better.

I just love these stripes! And the contrast of the dark piping.

It’s coming along…

We’re getting closer to the finish line every day and I am loving it more and more with each addition!

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