Oh me, oh my. Bad friend alert. Yup, me.
My lovely friend Sarah asked me months ago (I don’t even want to know how many!) to make her some cushions for her new apartment. ‘Of course!’ I replied….and here I am, only now getting round to doing them. Uh. Bad friend. Sorry Sarah. However….hope you like them.
Originally Sarah had asked me to make her cushions in a similar style to the ones I made for my sister Caroline, with long zips running along the back. Buuut…when I came to find said zips the local sewing shop had decided to stop selling them. Grr. So, off I went home again to find a solution, and I have to say, I’m rather pleased with the results. Sarah chose the main fabric for both cushions and I added a little something from my stash to give them a little more personality.
AND….to make up for my tardiness I’ve written a tutorial that you can follow to replicate them in your own home. Not only that but this tutorial will be a handy one to keep hold of if you ever want to make your own bias tape.
Bias tape is a staple in my sewing drawer. I use it on so many different projects and it can come in really handy even when you’re not expecting it. It’s basically a long strip of fabric, folded from both sides into the middle (single fold bias tape) and then folded in half again (double fold bias tape). You can buy it in pretty much any sewing shop, probably in the quilting section or near the zips, so don’t feel as though you have to make your own, it’s just nice to know how incase you ever do want to. It especially comes in handy if you want it in a particular fabric or print.
I am new to the bias tape game and made my first for the bunting for the kids room just recently. It’s a slight faff to begin with, but a doddle once you know how.
Bias tape is called so because it is made from fabric that has been cut on the bias, at a 45 degree angle to the selvedge edge (the edge of the fabric where the grain runs up and down, left to right). Cutting fabric on the bias gives it a little bit of stretch and allows it to move around corners quite nicely without getting all bunched up.
So, get yourself ready for some serious reading and step-following…hopefully it all reads smoothly and makes sense. Finger’s crossed!
Bias tape tie cushion
What you’ll need:
(measurements based on making a 45cm/18inch cushion cover)
Fabric for the main body (1/2 a yard if you trust yourself to measure properly, more if you’d like some wiggle room)
Fabric for your bias tape. Easiest is to have 1/2 a yard, but I used scraps and just sewed a few together.
Bias tape maker
Quilting ruler or yardstick
Rotary cutter or scissors
A sewing machine!
Let’s start with the bias tape.
Take your fabric and lay it down on the cutting mat. Take a corner (any corner, you can choose, go wild!) and fold it towards the opposite corner, lining up the straight edges so that you have a triangle.
The 45 degree line (the fold) is the bias. Cut along this line as accurately as you can but you don’t need to be too crazy careful about it.
In order to make 1/2 inch double fold bias tape you’ll need to cut 2 inch strips that will be sewn together. You must use the line you just cut as your guide otherwise it simply won’t work. Using your cutting mat (if you have one) cut as many 2 inch strips as you can with the fabric that you have.
You’ll be left with a number of strips of which each end is not your standard 90 degree angle, but a 45 degree angle.
Are you with me so far?
Ok, this bit requires a little bit of brain attention, but once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. To sew your strips together you’re going to place the ends right sides together so that they look like they’re having a little cuddle. Now, you need to make sure that they don’t match up exactly. The long ‘point’ of both ends needs to protrude slightly. If you line them up exactly, when you turn the, right sides out, they’ll be squiggly. You only need to mess it up once to understand! 🙂
Continue sewing the strips together in this same method until all your strips are sewn in one big continuous line.
In order to get nice clean bias tape it’s important to clean up as you go along by pressing your seams and snipping off loose ends.
So, press all the seams…
And snip off the ends that are sticking out.
Now to use the fancy bias tape maker! It’s such a tiny piece of equipment but does such a wonderful job!
(It’s also at this point that I’d like to point out that I had actually already written the rest of this entire blog post, but it vanished. Humph. Just needed to moan about that for a moment.)
So, thread one end of your long snake of fabric through the thickest part of the machine and shimmy it through until it comes out the other side. As you pull the fabric through the maker will magically fold both sides in on itself. Hooray! I think we’re all appreciating how much time that has saved us right there!
Press as you go…
Now, before you get carried away and press the tape in half again, you’re going to need to cut a length of single fold bias tape. For an 18 inch cushion it’ll be 19 1/2 inches
Ok, now you can go ahead and fold the single fold in half to make double fold. Press as you go… take your time…
And hey presto! You’ve got yourself some bias tape! Whoop!
Now for the ties. Decide how long you want each tie to be. When it comes to cutting, snip at an angle, it makes for a much neater finish when you tuck the end in and sew…
Repeat the same process for all four ties.
Now, cut your main square and two rectangles from the fabric you selected. For a 45cm/18 inch cushion cover you’ll need
1 large square (19 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches)
2 rectangles (19 1/2 x 10 inches)
So, now you should have the following:
From the main fabric:
1 large square (19 1/2 x 19 1/2)
2 rectangles (19 1/2 x 10)
From the contrasting fabric:
4 bias tape ties
1 piece of single fold bias tape (19 1/2)
1 rectangle (19 1/2 x 7)
We’re going to tackle the side with the ties first. Take one of your rectangles of main fabric, place it right side UP and overlay the one rectangle that you have of the contrasting fabric, right side DOWN. Measure 6 inches in and sandwich a tie in between the two pieces.
Pin in place. Repeat for the other side and sew in place.
Press your seam. (If you are feeling really super duper, you could zig zag stitch or serge your raw edges before you sew them together).
Hem the open end of the contrasting fabric by folding it over on itself twice, pinning and sew in place.
Now for the other side. Take the second rectangle of the main fabric, place it right side UP. Measure 6 inches in, place your tie then lay your piece of single fold bias tape right side DOWN on top. You’ll have to open it up a bit, like in the photo below. Pin in place, and repeat for the other side too.
When sewing these two pieces together, it makes sense to sew along the fold that was created when you made the bias tape. It just makes for a much cleaner finish when you turn it right sides out.
So then it’s just a case of flipping it over, tucking in the other fold, pinning and sewing…
I always sew twice here for extra security.
So all that’s left to do is sandwich this bad boy together to make your cushion cover complete.
It should go in this order:
Large square right side UP
Rectangle with single fold bias tape right side DOWN
Other rectangle (with the contrasting fabric) right side DOWN.
Pin in place making sure that you haven;t caught any of the ties in the process, sew then zig zag stitch or serge the raw edges…
All that’s left to do is to firstly congratulate yourself for getting through this MAMMOTH post and secondly, congratulate yourself on your new cushion cover. Three cheers for you! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray! Hip hip hooray!
This post has taken me sooooooo long to write! Our internet is so slow and the uploading of photos is somewhat painful. Then when I lost half of the post I needed at least a day to cool off! Ha! Speaking of cooling off, yes, that would be nice. It’s been so hot these past few days 33 C/92 F on Friday/…blimey! Looks like it’s going to cool down to a pleasant 23 C/ 73 F this week though….phew! Our apartment is anything but cool and when I woke up yesterday morning to find the freezer door had been open all night and the fridge was not cooling anything, well….let’s just say I wasn’t best pleased.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. It’s a new week!
Let me know how you get on with those cushions and the bias tape too. Enjoy!