Monday, December 27, 2010

bench cushion zippered cover pt.1 of 2

I hope everyone has had at least one wish granted this holiday season. I've been fortunate in that regard. My mechanical babies have been away from me for a week now. Lest your minds wander too far astray ... my sewing machine and serger are my mechanical babies. Ernestine & Louie, my feline confidantes and companions, are my furry babies. And, of course, there are the kiddos. It's been quite nice having some time away from my machines as there is much less guilt attached to the recent late nights I've spent watching movies instead of working. I expect them home later this week.

For today's post, I was going to share a couple of books or movies I've recently enjoyed, but upon downloading pix from my camera I encountered shots I took while making a cover for a bench cushion. I made the "inner" for the cushion late summer but never got to the cover. A couple weeks back I set a goal to finish it in time for Christmas company. Extra seating space is at a premium in our home, thus, a piece of furniture that fits and can hold two tushies instead of one is a find. I'm happy to check the bench project off the list!

I bought this antique low bench with two petite drawers (one for each child to immediately take over) off Craigslist this summer. Later this week I'll offer a photo of the bench with cushion. Crummy weather has prevented a flash-free shot, but I'll seek the help of my photography aficionado husband.

I used a heavy-weight linen, jute for the piping, and - at 55" - what I consider to be a mega-zipper around the back to allow for relative ease in inserting the cushion and removing it for washing. Here you go:

Step 1:
I sketch it out. My notes are often incomplete and sometimes incomprehensible - especially when it's meant to be a one-time project.

Step 2:
I urge all who have ever feared making their own piping to please go for it. It's not difficult and you can work with the fabric and cording of your choice. I made mention of how I use a skewer as a key tool in making piping here.

This is how I like to connect my ends.

Step 3:
After drawing a paper template based on the curves of the bench and the corresponding curves of the cushion, I cut my top and bottom pieces and attached my piping. You can see the cuts I made on the piping seam allowance before sewing it to the top panel and repeating the process for the bottom panel. In my book those cuts are essential when it comes to mirroring the curves of the base fabric and certainly when turning corners.

those ever-helpful snips

A corner shot. The snips I make are in the piping seam allowance only. No cuts in the underlying base panel.

Step 4:
I cut my fabric for the side panel (the one the runs around the edge of the entire cushion). I placed the zipper to run the length of the entire back edge of the cushion and wrap around the back corners by 4 or 5 inches. Wrapping the zipper around the corners makes a difference when putting the cover onto the cushion. Stretched out linen can be tough if not impossible to get back to it's desired size so I wanted to avoid much stretching to force the cushion inside.

Step 5:
Put in the zipper before sewing all of the pieces of the side (edge) panel together.

Step 6:
Sew side panels together. Remember the zipper will wrap at least a few inches around each of the two back corners of the cushion.

Step 7:
I like to press my seams open.

Then, top-stitching those seams give a nice finished look. The pin makes it a bit easier to see the seam.

Step 8:
This is the trickier part for me. Time to sew your top and bottom panels to the side panel. And that's where I sign off. No more photos for now, but you can see what the top and bottom panels looked like sitting on the inner cushion before I sewed it all together.

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