Patchwork Cushion Tutorial

A quick and easy patchwork cushion

These patchwork cushions are great for using up oddments for material. You’ll be the envy of all your friends as they look complicated. However, they are super easy to make and perfect for all levels in sewing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Scraps of material

Scissors or a material cutting tool

sewing machine and thread


cushion insert

chalk or a fabric marker pencil


The great thing about these cushions is they are a brilliant opportunity to use up all your scraps of material.

This particular method is great for beginners as it takes away the stress of making sure all the intersections are lined up.

In fact, in this case it’s better if they are all in different places.

We have some structure with it being made in strips, but that couples with the randomness of the pieces in each strip.

It makes it look really complicated, but as you read further you will see that it is indeed a very easy technique.

To get the best results, use material of roughly the same thickness, but it’s not essential.


The first thing we need to do is measure the cushion inner and decide on our design.

I want to create a strip design for my cover.

It really doesn’t matter how many columns or how wide you make the strips.

This is ideal if you have very small pieces that you want to use up.

For this tutorial I decided that I wanted all my strips to be the same width and I calculated my widths as follows.


My cushion measure 25 inches square so to make it nice and easy I chose to do 5 strips.

That means each finished strip should measure 5 inches wide. 25 (size of cushion) divided by 5 (number of strips) = 5

We now need to factor in a seam allowance. I like to work a 1/4 inch allowance so this needs to be added on to each side of the strip.

So to end up with a 25 inch cover, I have to sew 5 x 5 & 1/2  strips to allow for the seams.  5 (desired width) + 1/4 (one side allowance) + 1/4 (other side allowance) = 5 1/2 inches.

It is much better to cut the strips to the correct width once they have been sewn.

This gives a much neater finish and will allow some room for error.

I cut my scraps roughly the same width (about 7 inches) and this gave me wiggle room for cutting the strips later.

Roughly cut all your oddments to approximately the  same width. In my case I cut them 7 inches.

You do however want them all to be different lengths.

As I mentioned earlier you don’t want any of the seams to line up, but don’t worry if some do.

Once you have cut out the patchwork pieces, lay them down in strips.

Keep trying different ways until you are happy with the design.

Again you need to allow for a seam allowance.

Lay them out so they are longer than the cushion they will be made for, so you know you will have plenty once they have been sewn.

Some of the fabric I had frays really bad.

To stop this happening and to make the cover look neater I overlocked the top and bottom eddges of the strips.

If you haven’t got an overlocker, you should have a zig zag or overlocking stitch on your sewing machine that will give a similar effect.

Keeping your pieces in order, gather one of the strips and start sewing it together.

Place the right sides of the fabric together. Sew them together along one side.

I like to use a small stitch length of about 2.5.

f you sew it too large, you will see the stitches once it has been turned the right side out.

Keep adding the pieces, taking care to sew the right sides together. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, you can always unpick and redo it.

Once you have made all your strips, iron the seams flat on the reverse, taking care, as you are working with different fabrics.

You will see below how your cover will look.

The strips are too wide and look messy so we now need to cut them to our chosen width.

Measure the chosen width and cut your strips.

I have a ruler that is ideal for this but you can use a normal tape measure and mark it with chalk or a fabric pen.

My logic for cutting the strips after sewing should now be clear.

Each strip has a clean edge and will be much easier to join.

Lay all the strips down.  Now is the time to have a little play.

You can move them around until you are happy with the design.

Keep in mind when you are choosing, where the seams are.

Try and get them as far apart as possible. Again don’t worry if some of them do align.

Now comes the fun part

Keeping the order you have chosen, join the long sides together.

Make sure you have the right sides of the fabric facing each other.



To get a professional finish, overlock or zig zag along the seams you have just sewn.

This isn’t essentail, but if you don’t, it’s a good idea to line your cover.

If you wash the cover and didn’t do these steps, the seams will fray and eventually come undone.

Work a second panel in exactly the same way.

I chose a different colur way so that I could turn the cushion over and instantly have a different look.

Carefully press the panels.  This is done so that when we cut the panels to size, they will match exactly.

Remember to do this for both panels so that the sizing will be exact.

Cut the panels to size required.

We will be sewing them right sides together.

If you want to make the cover removeable then you can easily add a zip.

This can be quite daunting if you haven’t done it before, but it is really easy.

The zip can be shorter than the panel, but remember you will need to get an actual cushion in the opening.

Make sure it is long enough to be able to do this.

A zip 3/4 length of the panel should be more than enough, and you may get away with an even shorter zip.

It depends how small you can squish the cushion to get it in.

Lay the zip centrally along one of the sides.

It’s a good idea to lay it along the bottom so that it won’t be seen when the cushion is on the chair.

You can decide what side you want as the bottom, but try and keep the strips the same way on the front and back.

That is unless you have designed the cover to go different ways.

Sewing the zip

Don’t be daunted by inserting a zip.  Just make sure that the teeth of the zip face the right side of the fabric.

Change to the zipper foot on your machine. Sew along the zip and stop just before you get to where the zipper pull is.


Move the zipper pull back out the way.

Make sure the needle is in the down position so that it holds the fabric in place.

You may need to raise the presser foot as far up as it will go while you tease the zip back.

Continue along until you get to the end of the zip.


Once you have reached the end, work a back stitch to secure the zip in place.

Line up the second panel and pin the other half of the zip in place.

When sewing the second panel, like the first, the teeth should be facing the right side of the fabric.

Once you have sewn in the zip, line the rest of the sides up on the panels and pin in place.

Sew the three sides that don’t have the zip.

Before you sew the last side, reach in and open the zip so that you will be able to turn the cover the right side out.

The arrow in the pic below indicates where the zip has been sewn in the fourth side.

Sew up to the zip and maybe a little beyond so that you don’t see a hole.

Be careful that you don’t go over the actual zip or you may break the needle.

To make the cushion cover look professional, overlock or zig zag the sides that you have just sewn.

Be careful with the side that has the zip.  Only sew up to zip at each end or you won’t be able to open the cover.

Once you have sewn the sides, tie and cut off any ends and turn the cover right side out.

Insert the cushion and VOILA !, you now have a beautiful cover that will be admired by all.

Although this is the same cushion cover, you can see by turning it over, I have created a completely different mood.


These really are a great way to use up all your oddments of fabric.  The fabric I used for this cover was from a sample book.

You can pick them up really cheap or maybe even get them for free.

You could even make them out of old clothes, baby ones make a perfect keepsake too.

We love seeing your creations so please remember to tag us so we can admire them.


Happy Sewing

The Crafty Co










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