Upholstery: Calah made cushions! And wrote about them! (Part 4)

HELLO! This is the last installment of my cushion adventure.

Step 4: This week I’m going to show you how I secured these two beautiful cushions to two beautiful chairs that Matt beautifully refinished. You can see that journey here.

I had successfully made two fitted cushions for two chairs at this point. This is how I wanted them to sit on the chairs:

I wanted to use the secondary fabric to secure the cushions because 1) the seconday fabric is super strong and does not stretch, 2) it made sense to use the same fabric that covers the back of the cushions for continuity purposes, and 3) it was a benign color that I felt would blend in and be less visible. You’ll notice that the cushion is a bit wrinkled as I placed it up against the chair? Yeah, that’s expected. The back of the chair is a bit curved, and my cushion is very much not curved, so it’ll wrinkle a bit. I didn’t mind.

So now comes the part where I attach the darned thing. I wanted the method of attachment to be functional, reliable, and look decent. Sounds reasonable, right?

I mocked up how that should look with scratch paper:

Mock-straps to secure the cushion.

The zig zag design was my first idea… but that turned out to be much harder to make each “v” precise, and I got frustrated.

I still went ahead and made the straps out of the secondary fabric because I knew that they were going to be incorporated no matter what. Turns out that I measured them too small and so when it came time to turning these little tubes inside out, I darned near lost my mind (I also lost a chopstick in the process). It was not a pretty scene.

I stabbed myself with a wood chopstick trying to make this work. This is when I realized that the tube is NEVER going to be turned right-side out.

Ok, so now what? My tubes are TINY and impossible to turn inside out to hide the seam. I set out to make the same length tubes (11″) and a new width. I think I just added 0.5″ to the original measurements?

Here are those new and improved tubes!

MUCH BETTER.

I had given up on the zig-zag design for the straps to the cushion so I tried a cross-cross pattern:

I measured and re-measured the spacing between each strap and this is what I ended up with!

Pretty intriguing, right? I kept my annotations on a scratch piece of paper that I slipped between the straps and the chair. Once I was happy with how each strap was placed, I needed to pin them on the cushion.

I put pins on the top edge of the cushion where the straps would line up with the criss-cross pattern. Then, by some miracle, I was able to preserve the spacing and criss-cross pattern after I had pinned the straps to the secondary fabric on the cushion. This step took a while and some creativity (and MANY reattempts).

I almost forgot the strip of secondary fabric where these straps would attach to! In my head I would add a long strip of fabric at the bottom edge of the cushion to house the velcro that would grab onto the tips of the straps when securing to the chair.

These pictures are of me adding those two strips:

Now, maybe you’re already ahead of me on this… did you wonder how the heck I was going to sew all of these things onto the cushion? Well once everything was neatly in place, pinned to the cushion itself, it was only THEN that I realized I still needed to SEW things down!

Great. *slow clap*

Ok don’t panic…

… this is me thinking…

With a flash of brilliance I decided to sew my straps all onto a second-secondary fabric panel and then just hand stitch that panel onto the cushion. Smooth finish, sufficiently secured straps with the sewing machine, and that’s that. Here’s what that looked like:

I prefer this finished clean look.

Let’s check to see that I haven’t messed this up too badly:

Wait. Where’s the criss-cross? What am I missing here? Why is there that icky situation where the straps are not flat against the top of the chair??

My guess is that somewhere between the point at which I meticulously measured out the spacing and placement of my straps against the scratch paper and the moment when I moved the straps onto the second-secondary fabric panel, things went awry.

Here’s what it looks like from the front.

I mean, I did do a pretty kick-ass job on THIS measurement… so… there’s that…

I decided that I was ok with the parallel design instead of the criss-cross. *sigh* Honestly, I didn’t want to do the whole thing all over again, especially after I hand stitched that secondary panel down.

Seeing how things went to heck on the first cushion, I intentionally spaced the straps on the second cushion so that they WERE lined up to be parallel. That looked like this:

Yeah… that’s pretty… different…

BUT no puckering! Just nice and flat. I didn’t want to go back and fix the first one. Maybe one day, when I’m REALLY bored I will. For now, it works.

LAST STEP: VELCROOOO

Pro tip: Don’t sew with the velcro that has adhesive on the back. It’s impossible to get any needle through (even on a powerful sewing machine). Plus, things get all gunky-sticky and messy. Get yourself some non-adesive velcro and be done with it.

And now, for the final reveal…

OOOHHHHH BOOYYYYY

And it’s comfortable too!

Thank you for adventuring with me through this experience! Stay tuned for Matt’s weekly woodworking blog every Tuesday at 10 am. You can also check out his entertaining daily Spelling Bee blog here.

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