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mitred corners on cushion covers

tricone | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi All

I am making a cushion cover for a rectangle foam based cushion,

How do i make the corners for this ? Does anyone have a link to a site that has demonstrations on how to make these corners. Like an idiots guide to making corners etc.
Thanks for your help. 🙂


  1. sewelegant | | #1

    I have made cushion covers but I did not miter anything.  I cut out the top and the bottom (with seam allowance added) and slightly rounded the corners.  Use a plate and make the curve minimal so your finished cushion will still have that rectangular shape.  Next cut out a long piece of fabric (or piece it, if needed) that will equal the measurement of the cushion.  Width and length plus seam allowances.  I like to first sew a piping strip to the top and bottom sections along the seam lines, then sew the long strip to the top (or bottom) using a piping foot.  The piping foot glides over the piping and makes attaching this strip very easy.  Slightly curving those corners makes this step possible, just go slow and keep your seam allowance.   If you want a zipper opening, that's a little more detailed and I won't go into it.  However, if you do not use a zipper you have to leave one edge open to insert the cushion and then hand sew it together to finish the cushion.  I do not think you need any patterns, but a good book on pillow construction is very helpful and there are lots of them out there.  After you do one, you will wonder how you thought it could be so difficult. Hopefully!

    Good luck.

    Edited 2/2/2008 3:24 pm by sewelegant

  2. sewornate | | #2

    It is hard for me to understand what you are doing.  When I covered rectangular foam for cushions,  I first covered the foam with an upholstery poly batting.  Make the cover to fit very snug.  Two ways to proceed from there:

    1.  cut two pieces for the top and bottom with a seam allowance.  Remember you want it to fit snugly.  Cut a boxing strip for the sides, and make cording for around the two rectangle pieces.  You can put a zipper into one of the seams (difficult to do because it must go behind the cording--not a beginner's project.)  You can put a zipper into the center of the boxing strip.  Take a section where the zipper will be and use two strips of fabric, sew in the zipper, then handle as one.  Add it to the boxing strip.  Sew the boxing strip (leave zipper open so you can turn it) to rectangles.

    2.  Make cording to go around the cushion once, have the corded seam come in the middle of the sides of the cushion.  On this one, you cut the rectangles to allow them to come down the sides of the wrapped foam so the seam will fall in the middle of the cushion sides.  Put a pleat at each corner (you can sew it in or make a box style pleat without sewing it.  Do this to top and bottom pieces.  Then sew your cording around, join the two pieces, inserting a zipper into the seam.  The zipper will have to go behind the cording on this one.

    Since you are making the cover stightly smaller than the cushion, getting the cushion into the cover presents a problem.  Solve that by ptting the cushion into a plastic garbage bag, suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner hose, which will compact it.  Put the garbage bag into the cushion cover with the opening to the front of the cushion.  You have it fold under so it will not let the air in until you get it in place.  Then you pull out the plastic bag.  The air will reinflate the cushion, zip it closed and cushion is done.

    I hope you can understand this.  I have done quite a few cushions and these two methods depends on the look you want. 



  3. starzoe | | #3

    A really simple solution would be this: cut two pieces of fabric the measurement of the cushion plus one half of the distance down the sides, add seam allowances.Sew the top and bottom together on three sides To make the box-like fit, take the little pointy edges (only on one long edge, you will have to do the second one by hand) and on the inside fold the two back to square up the corner. Hard to envision this, I know, but if you will look into tote-bag sewing on google, this procedure is sometimes used to square up the bottom of the bag.A cushion is not where you use miters, they are used to finish flat edges like placemats and dinner napkins.

    Edited 2/2/2008 3:54 pm ET by starzoe

  4. sewornate | | #4


    By Gena BloemendaalBox cushions are difficult for me to sew, and the results are never satisfactory. Do you have any tips on how to construct them? Jane B., e-mail

    Constructing any sewing project well takes patience and perhaps a seam ripper! It's frustrating to labor over a project only to have it end up less than desirable. When it comes to box cushions, here are some hints to guide you. Use piping. It provides a neater finish and can hide minor discrepancies when matching a distinct pattern between the top and bottom panels and the welting (side panels). Piping made with bias-cut fabric has more give around tight corners and wears better than piping cut on the straight of grain. Use a zipper foot to make piping and stitch it to the project. The zipper foot allows you to stitch as close to the piping as possible. Baste the piping to the individual top and bottom panels prior to stitching the panels to the welting. If you attempt to stitch all layers at once, the fabric and/or piping could slip out of place and distort the finished product. Clip the piping seam allowance when pinning around curves for easier application. Start and stop stitching at equal distances from the corners, then clip the welting at the each corner for added give. Once you've stitched one side, reposition and repin the fabric as necessary before stitching the next side. If the pattern calls for a zipper, insert the zipper into the welting prior to stitching the welting to the top and bottom panels. If concealing the zipper is a concern, try a lapped zipper application instead of a centered zipper. The lap will cover more of the zipper when pressure is applied to the cushion. The overlap should hang down toward what will be the pillow bottom. If constructing a box cushion without a pattern, cut the fabric to the same dimensions as your cushion/foam insert, plus a 1/2" seam allowance. Use an electric carving knife to slightly round off the cushion corners for a snug fit.

    From the March 2006 issue of Sew News magazine. This from Sew News Magazine

  5. scrubble4 | | #5

    hi Tricone;  I am giving to a link to Linda Lee's book Sewing Corners.  She also has a couple of books on sewing cusions.  Maybe someone in the group here has one of these books and can talk you through it.  The Sewing Corners book is one I keep meaning to get, but forget and buy something else instead.  I would love a review of it if someone has it.  Oh I hate it when a pathname makes the page so wide. 



    This second path is from youtube which may be helpful as it is for sewing cushions.


    On Youtube I did a search for "sewing pillows"  There are a number of them and I didn't want to put them all here as I am not exactly sure which piece you need.  Scrubble4

    Edited 2/2/2008 7:37 pm ET by scrubble4

  6. User avater
    susannah_sews | | #6


    I note that Sewornate mentioned covering the foam with polyester batting.  She didn't say why, but I suspect I know.

    I did a furniture upholstery course last year, and the various construction phases built up from webbing, spring coils, hessian, flock wadding, more hessian, a sheet of foam and then a layer of polyester batting before finishing with the final fabric.  Only a thin layer of polyester batting was used, but the tutor said that without it, the foam rubber immediately under the final fabric is much more abrasive, causing the fabric to wear more quickly.  In my dilapidated couch (soon to also get recovered) I noticed that the foam on the arms and back has polyester batting underneath the final fabric, but the foam cushions on the seat just have fabric over them.  And the fabric on the cushions, even with them being turned regularly, has worn out much quicker.


    1. sewornate | | #7

      I not only cover the foam with poly upholstery batting (on many cushions one sheet of this can be split into two layers), I also cover that with a fabric.  I use drapery lining since this is what I have hundreds of yards on hand.  It goes into the outer cover much better that way and as you pointed out, wears well.  I have one here on a window bench that I have had for quite a few years and it still looks very good.  I must admit it doesn't get the use that a cushion on a couch or chair would get.

      Foam, by itself, does not hold its shape well.  Over time it disintegrates.  If you are recovering an old foam cushion and it is crumbling when you take it out of the original cover, I would suggest replacing the foam. Be sure and get a more dense foam meant for cushions.  The batting and undercover also improves the look of the cushion.  I never had any courses in upholstery.  Cushions are about the only thing I have done.  It worked in with my drapery business.  Customers needing upholstery work done I referred to people more up on that.  But I did make cushions for window seats or chairs, and once did a lot of them for a camper, along with window treatments.  I was working with drapery fabric rather than upholstery fabric.  This works for light use and is usually done for a cohesive look to the decor.

    2. SAAM | | #8

      I've also covered foam in poly batting. It helps fill out the corners of the cushions.Sherry

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