You may remember that some time (way back) I asked you to challenge me with a new project. Sooooo... a friend of mine made the call recently. She challenged me to make not just one, but two large bench cushions (approx. 27” x 42”) with piping for her newly renovated (and seriously gorgeous) basement. I tell ya that girl’s got an eye for detail and style!
We settled on fabric, trim and design. Then as the project progressed, it literally grew bigger as it took shape, as you can see below:
- Think about how you want to construct your piece - there’s usually more than one way (i.e. zip or Velcro, piping or no piping, ready made piping or handmade piping etc.).
- Think about how you will take the cover on and off the foam insert. So if say for example you decide to inert a zipper, take the zipper across the back and at least 5” up the side panels from the rear of the cushion.
- Watch a few upholstery videos to get a good idea of design and construction. And again. And again, if needed. If you lose your direction during construction, revert back to them until you find your way again. I used this one to help me along Kim's Upholstery, how to make a cushion cover. My project needed the zipper to end in a different place to what's shown in the video, so I just took the cover off another seat cushion I have already with this feature and figured out how it was constructed.
- If you've never made a bench cushion before and you’re feeling a little nervous, practice on something smaller first before you use expensive materials - especially if your customer has paid for them already. I opted to making a small cushion first that turned out okay, and it has handmade piping (and I get to keep this one).
- Don’t be afraid to ask the experts. My experts in this case were Gregory and Judy from Schindler's. They seemed delighted by my admittedly novice skill with this hand crafting opportunity and my tenacity to get it done. I think it’s one of those skills that’s at risk of disappearing from our modern, mass produced world.
- Take your time and don’t be afraid to change your original construction ideas. It may just work out better.
- Do the math right, to avoid repeated trips to the shops, especially if they are a distance away! You can tell how I learned this one.
- If you feel like you're running out of space, move your machine to a larger table (if you have one) and give yourself plenty of room. I used our dining room table for this project.
- If you’re using thick or heavy fabric and the project begins to get too heavy and starts to slip off your sewing machine, use an extra table on your left side to support the weight and balance of the fabric. I used a folding table we use for parties. And don’t pull too hard on the fabric because it may stretch out of shape.
- Use a heavy duty machine. Well, I was way overdue for an upgrade and she’s a dream!
- I can say with confidence (now) that zips are not a scary concept, once you know how. I even mastered the art of a concealed zipper for this project! Here's my first ever video tutorial on how to thread a zipper pull onto zipper tape from a roll: