Upholstery: Calah made cushions! And wrote about them! (Part 2)

Last week I talked about HOW the idea came about to make cushions for the top panel of the chairs that Matt brought back to life.

Now I need to show you exactly how I tried to do that.

Step 2: Making the actual cushion.

FYI, that one janky edge over in the top left-hand corner was all me.
But, have no fear, it won’t matter once they’re covered.

Matt cut the actual foam with a Turkey-carving-knife-tool according to my measurements with the added 0.50″. You’ll see one of two cut foams in the picture above.

Now I’m thinking, great! I have the foam…now I just need to cover them and… BAM! Cushion made! It’s that easy, right? So, I went about cutting, sewing, and stitching a cover to wrap them: in the front with the fancy fabric, and around the back with the secondary fabric. See below:

This is my machine. I have had it since I was a little girl. My mom and I used to go to the art and craft expos and bask in the DIY glow. One year, while walking around the vendor tents, mom and I decided that we wanted to learn how to sew. So, mom bought this machine and we signed up for sewing classes at Michaels (or Jo-Anne Fabrics(?)–it’s been so long). Since then, we have made pillows, skirts, pajamas, curtains and more. We used to go to the annual bird expo too… but that’s for another time. At one point in my childhood, we had over 50 birds.

Ok enough chit chat. Here is how I went about making the cushions:

Foam, fabric, and template! Lesssgooooo
Traced the shape of my cushion onto the fancy fabric. (This is with the template that is 0.5″ smaller which will compress the foam and fill out my soon-to-be cushion cover nicely.)
I cut the fancy fabric to shape in order to wrap around the foam. That arrow there is to remind me which way is up (remember that the top edge of the panel is longer than the bottom edge).
A perfect fit (I hope)

This is the secondary fabric that will be up against the panel and hopefully not too visible once the cushion is attached. In this picture, I’m just making sure that I have enough fancy fabric to reach the secondary fabric. I probably should have done that before I went and cut up the fancy fabric… but it looks like I have enough! *high five*

Check out that gorgeous corner! I sewed the cover inside out so that my seams were nicely tucked inside the cushion. All of the seams were 0.25″.

I mean… can we just take a moment and look at that seam!!!

Me: Calah, you did good.
Also me: I know right?!

This is the fancy fabric cover inside out after I finished sewing the corners down. 1 of 2.
And now this is the fancy fabric cover, right side out.
If it fits, I can hopefully sits.
Oh boy! It’s looking like I’m really going places now!

I turned the cushion over to see if I was on the right track. It’s a bit baggy, but that should resolve once I sew on the secondary fabric because the fancy fabric will be pulled taut against the foam.

Checkpoint: So you can see that the fancy fabric was measured, cut, and sewn into shape to wrap around the foam. I intentionally left extra material on the fancy fabric’s edges JUST IN CASE. It’s always good to have some wiggle room.

The next part was to add the secondary fabric to the back part of the cushion. It was at this point where I needed to make a decision: Do I, essentially, sew the foam into this fabric cover or do I do something else that is different and likely nicer looking but a method that I also wasn’t sure would work?

So I got to work sewing the foam into the fabric cover like so:

Also, pins are sharp. Be careful.

The secondary fabric is pinned into place and ready to sew!

Check out that lovely seam.

Same seam but right-side out. GORGEOUS
Ok, this is looking good…
Peek-a-boo

Now I am at the step where I needed to actually close the cover and encase the foam. My brain told me to go like this: sew the top and bottom edges (parallel seams) so that I could then gracefully shove the foam into the cover from the smallest possible hole. Make sense, right? I thought so, too.

Parallel seams done. The two ends are still open.

Lesson learned in this step: Pins are sharp.

I went ahead and did the same thing for the second cushion. Now that I had both covers, I just needed to get the foam into them and secure the finished cushion to the chair.

More on that next week.

Upholstery: Calah made cushions! And wrote about them! (Part 1)

Hi! Calah here! I am going to be sharing how I made cushions for the first time ever… from scratch… like a boss.

First, let’s talk about WHY I took all of this time to make them (total time = 3 weeks).

Matt resurrected two previously really ugly and orange Craigslist chairs (if you don’t know what I am referring to, check out the earlier posts in his weekly woodworking blog. They drop every Tuesday at 10 am PT.

Ok, so, Matt finished the chairs a few weeks ago and they are delightfully comfortable–EXCEPT for the top wooden part of the chair’s back–you know the place where your spine hits as your sitting in the chair? Maybe it’s because I slouch (my mom was always reminding me to stand up straight), but whatever the reason, if I could just have some cushion on that area I’d be able to sit in those chairs for forever. So Matt suggested that I make some cushions. I thought to myself, I never made cushions before, but how hard could it be?

Here’s that adventure divided into multiple blogs for your entertainment.

Step 1: How TF do I make a cushion??!

I had to decide what these cushions would look like–fabric, size, how they’ll attach to the chair, etc. For consistency, I wanted the cushions to be the same fabric as what Matt used for the seat of the chairs. To make things easy, we are going to call this particular fabric fancy. I will be using a second fabric, and we’ll call that one secondary (creative, I know). I didn’t need to have the entire cushion covered in this fancy fabric mostly because it is a bit too stretchy for my taste, and I was concerned that it might sag in the long-run after consistently being pulled taut (you’ll see what I mean)… and also, why have it up against the back of the chair where no one gets to see it?

Enter: the secondary fabric! Matt and I have a massive tub of our combined fabric remnants, scraps, and old clothes that might come in handy one day for patching and such. A deep dive into that tub produced the perfect fabric for this role! I don’t know what kind it actually is… feels like denim but isn’t… it’s durable… does not stretch… and it’s brown. Perfecto.

Excellent!

THEN, once I chose the fabric, I got measurements on scratch paper of every length, width, height, of that top board. I must have measured and remeasured those panels a million times to be sure that I had it right.

Here is what that looked like.
(I took scratch paper and taped them together to make sure the template was long enough)

So, in case you can’t see the notes on the paper, the actual sizes of the panel are: bottom edge length = 17.5″, top edge length = 18.25″, height = 4.75″ (see top paper in this picture). But, according to this YouTube video by SailRite, I should add 0.25″ to all sides of the foam when I cut it (I assumed this allowed for foam compression). So, the foam’s measurements would have, essentially, 0.50″ added to the length and width (see middle paper in this picture) . We were working with 2″ deep piece of foam, so that part was not going to change.

I decided that since I had the measurements and the fabric, the next best step was to make the actual cushion. Premature? Likely. I still wasn’t sure how I was going to attach the darned things to the panel.

But, more on that next time.