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So you think you can’t sew?

So you think you can’t sew?


Do you have a sewing machine that you haven’t used for ages? Perhaps it’s gathering dust in a corner somewhere and you’ve forgotten how to use it. Maybe it’s still in it’s box and you’re a little scared of it? Well this tutorial is for YOU! *points finger in a non-rude way*

You will learn how to make a fabulous ZIP-LESS cushion cover…as a gift for you – because you’re worth it – or a very lucky friend!

Compulsory ingredients; 1 piece of (non-stretchy) fabric 18ins x 18ins. 2 pieces of fabric 12ins x 18ins. Fabric scissors, thread, a sewing machine, and iron and some pins.

Optional extras; A 16ins cushion pad, thread scissors or snippers, chocolate treats and wine (see compulsory)

Ready? So let’s start!

Love my ironing board cover!

Turn over approx 1/2 inch of a long edge of the back panel. Press. Repeat with the other panel.

Turning hem again

Turn the hem over  1/2 inch again to hide the raw edge. Press. Repeat.

Hemming the back panel.

Sewing machine time! (can I get a ‘WOOP’?) Sew in a straight line close to the pressed edge to create a hem on both panels.

Over-lap back panels.

Place both pieces, right sides down, on top of the front panel (which should be facing up towards you). The overlap is deliberate.

Pin through all thicknesses

If you have fancy bead head pins you could position them so that they peek-a-boo and are easy to see. If you don’t, no worries. They’re just showing off anyway!

One pin in the middle

Tip: Whilst you’re in a pinning mood, pop one in the middle to stop the back panels shifting around when you sew. Trust me.

Don’t forget to take the pins out as you sew!

Start with a short backstitch (most electric sewing machines have this wonderful facility) on the overlap and sew an approximately 5/8 inch seam all around the cushion cover.

A little foot action

Tip: When turning the corners, stop the machine and use the hand-wheel to place the needle at the corner. Lift up the presser foot and turn your fabric before returning the presser foot and continuing on your journey.

Back-stitch = machine moonwalk!

Backstitch to secure the threads when you get to the end.

Neat and tidy

Cut the threads an inch or so in on both sides. It won’t show when you turn your cushion cover so please don’t stress!

Reduce the bulk

Snip the corners. This will reduce bulk when you turn your cover and give you professional looking sharp-tastic corners. Oo-er!

Get those scissors out!

Trim the edges to about 3/8 inch…

Back away from the overlap!

…but leave the overlap part untouched. This gives you more fabric to play with/sew through and make the opening more durable. Promise!

Its a cushion corner pre-turning…not a finger puppet!

Remove the central pin. Then place your thumb into one corner and use your forefinger to turn it. Repeat with the other three. Tip: If you have one, use a chopstick to push the corners out very gently –  makes them fabulously crisp!

Only a few more steps to cushion heaven!

Now stand back and bask in your Creative Genius. This is the optimum time for an edible/quaffable TREAT(s)!

Not long now…

Those blasted pins again!

Pin at decent intervals around your cover (and pop that pin back in the middle whilst you’re at it…)

Gently does it…

Gently press the edges between the pins. Then remove them and repeat.

Machine time again!

Start on the overlap with a backstitch and sew a border approximately 5/8 inch from the edge all the way round.

Ready for a snip!

This time when you snip, do so close to the stitching so that they become invisible.

In theory your cushion cover is complete! (WOOP time again!)

But if you happen to have a cushion pad lying around your household (or you can ‘borrow’ one from an old cushion like I did)…

*drum roll please* …

…you can magically turn it into…

Ta-DAAAAAAAAAAAHH! How clever are YOU?!



So there you have it! STILL think you can’t sew? Do give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Which Sewing Project you would like to tackle after this one?


About Reddskin

New name! New chapter! Follow me over at My name is Ms A. I'm a mother, designer and educator.

15 responses »

  1. I want to have a go at this. I inherited both my mum’s & my nan’s sewing machines when they passed away. They were both excellent seamstresses and I barely sew a stitch. If I’m honest, I’m scared of failing.

    I really want to be able to make something, ’cause it kinda feels like it should be genetic!

    Looking forward to your next tutorial….whatever it may be!


    • If you don’t try you’ll never fail. True – but how will you know if you don’t give it a go? Do you think I was born sewing? Heeeall no! My sewing journey is littered with complete and utter #fails . Have a go at this – email/tweet me if you have any questions. *pulls guilt trip* And just think how PROUD your mum and nan would be!? 😀
      You CAN do it!
      Thanks for commenting. x

  2. Fan-flipping-tabulous! Brilliant step by step. Thanks. I now definately know what I want for xmas. Could you give me any advice on a good enough, not too expensive machine to buy? I’m thinking maybe second hand, but I have NO idea what I’m looking at! Any advice gratefully received.

    I’d love to know how to put a zip in something…. Maybe a small purse? Or would that be very tricky? X

  3. Fab post … but EPIC nails! Those are awesome.

  4. Congrats on your first tutorial – the pictures are awesome! Nice nails…;D

  5. Your Brilliant X ….. Can I help you make a Video

  6. I inherited mums machine and have a go every now and then but seem to spend most time unpicking everything and cursing. Love the nails and will have to show to daughter. Would love to know how to make skirt, pj bottoms, n a lined shift dress. Who needs burda?

  7. I am always unpicking and’s all part of the process I find! Thanks for the compliment about my nails…designed and painted by teen. She calls them Afro-Clectic! what did your daughter think of them?
    I love the idea of a ‘How to’ for various items of clothing. What can I say except ‘Watch this space!’.
    Thank you so much for your comments.

  8. Brilliant tutorial, easy to follow.
    I now have a beautiful cushion to gift at Christmas.
    Thank you so much.

  9. Pingback: My first attempt at quilting. | Knittywittywoo.

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