|Pattern Description: Cushion cover for rocking chair|
Pattern Sizing: It fits the rocking chair.
Background: My husband complained that his rocking chair's wicker seat was uncomfortable after many hours of rigorous sitting, watching ESPN. So I decided to try my hand at making a cushion.
Fabric and supplies Used:
1) Faux ultrasuede from fabric.com, purchased a few years ago. This is nice stuff and doesn't ravel, unlike some faux suede out there. The color is "bordeaux," or dark red wine.
2) 2 inch thick foam measuring 22 inches x 22 inches, from JoAnn's
3) Cording from Hancock's. (Sorry, I can't remember the name of the cording, or the size, but it is tight (not fluffy) and thick.)
4) A heavy nylon zipper off a roll from Nancy's Notions. I cut it 22 inches long. (Next time I will make it a few inches longer. If there is a next time. Well, I guess there will be, because my husband now wants an additional cushion for his computer chair. He thinks this foam cushion is really comfortable.)
How it was done. Last year, I made my parents four new vinyl seats for their breakfast room chairs, my first project of this kind. Although I didn't review that effort, it was a success, so I pulled out the original seat pattern and modified it to fit our rocking chair. Here is the modified pattern.
1) The pattern was used to make the top and bottom of the cushion and to trace the shape onto the foam.
2) From Youtube last year, I learned that you must use an electric knife to cut the foam. As you may have noticed, my technique with this invaluable cutting device needs improvement.
3) Three tutorials by William Eisenberg titled "Sewing a Boxed Welted Cushion," were very helpful, as were my flatbed and cylinder industrial walking foot sewing machines. You don't need an industrial machine if you have a powerful home machine. Here is a link to the first tutorial. You can find the other tutorials easily after this one comes up.
3) I cut two strips for the zipper covering, two strips for the welting, 2 strips for ties, and a wide strip for the gusset. The cushion is tied to the rocking chair, so it wouldn't slip around. Here is a picture of the pieces, before sewing everything together.
All seam allowances were 1/2 inch. I did NOT add seam allowances for the top and bottom fabric pieces, but DID add seam allowances for the gusset pieces. Reason: OK, I made another cushion a few weeks ago, using 4 inch foam. Since it wasn't entirely desirable, I wanted to try again with a thinner foam that was supposed to be easier to work with.
Anyway, I thought the foam in the first cushion was too big for the cover and therefore, didn't eliminate all seam allowances this time. Even with the final wrapping (see below) of fleece, the stuffed materials weren't so tight this time, and the result was better.
4) From one of Eisenberg's videos, I learned a nice trick that makes fitting the gusset very simple: Make a pocket that covers the end of the zipper. I can't explain it well, but it means you can wing it (as long as you have plenty of length) when sewing the gusset to the top and bottom seats.
Some tips and things I learned from this project
1) Be careful if your fabric has nap. Be sure to mark the direction of the nap, so that all strips are facing the same way.
2) Be sure your welting is the correct width, so that you can sew a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
3) Don't sew your ties to the gusset within the seam allowance that you will sew next! (I actually saw this one coming and avoided that particular mistake.)
4) Eisenberg says to wrap the foam in dacron before stuffing it into your cover. According to the clerk at Hancock's, by Dacron, he means batting. I wrapped the foam, but I opted to use fleece, much to the clerk's dismay. I guess she didn't think it would work, but it was ok by me (and the white fleece was on clearance).
5) Eisenberg sewed the cord into the welting and onto the seat in one step. I sewed the cord into the welting, then added welting to the top and bottom seats. You probably know NOT to sew too close to the welting until the last pass, so that the preliminary stitches don't show.
Conclusion: If you are into Home Dec sewing and have a strong sewing machine (and an electric knife), and if you need a cushion and like a challenge, this might be a project for you!