Add buttons or a zip to a cushion cover

Jumper Pillow16 sm

The steps in sewing are all like lego – you can mix and match them to create the effect you want. So although this mini-tutorial follows on from  the project to create a cushion from a jumper, the techniques are the same for dressmaking or any other project.

Ribbon Loops for buttons:

Step 1 – measure where you want the button loops to go:

Jumper Pillow6

Measure out where you want your button loops to be.

Measure where you want your button loops to go. The simplest way is to measure the width of your rectangle minus your seam allowance, and then divide by the number of buttons you have plus one. 😀 In my case I had a working width (with the seam allowance removed) of 30cm. Because I had 4 buttons, I needed them to have 5 even spaces between them. So I divided 30 by 5 (30/5 = 6) to come up with a gap between each button of 6cm. If this isn’t making sense, you can always go with the tried-and-tested method of pinning the button loops down until they look like they’re in the right place. There’s no wrong way in sewing!

Step 2 – pin & sew the ribbons in place:

Jumper Pillow7 sm

Fold the seam allowance over, pin, and sew.

I put pins into the fabric to mark where I needed the buttons & buttonholes to go, and then folded the ribbons and pined them in place. With the ribbons pinned down, I folded the seam allowance inwards, so that the ribbon loops stuck out. I then topstitched the whole thing twice, to give it a nice neat, crisp(ish) effect.

Tip: You’ll see that I almost always put my pins in at right angles to the direction I plan to sew in. This is a handy trick, as it means you can leave the pins in while you sew straight over them. This helps keep the fabric in the right place, and it also means you’ve got one less thing to concentrate on while you’re sewing (ie, not fussing about takin pins out.) This usually works brilliantly, but not always. Very occasionally I’ve broken a needle on a pin like this, or even broken a pin! So take it easy and if it doesn’t seem right, pay attention :)

Inserting a zip (the easy way):

So many people have commented on how tricky zips are to put in. I almost always use this method, which is easy as anything:

Step 1 – tack the two pieces of fabric together. Iron Flat.

Jumper Pillow12

Using a long stitch, sew along your zipper seam. Press open.

Using a very long straight stitch, sew the two pieces of fabric together exactly where to want the zip to be, leaving a generous (2.5cm) seam allowance. Press or steam the seam open if you can. With the jumper cushions, the wool might not respond very crisply to the iron – you’ll just need to push the seam open while you put the zip in. (It’ll stay open once the zip is in!)

-Step 2 – pin the zip over the tacked seam.

Jumper Pillow13 sm

Using a zipper foot, sew through all layers.

Turn the two pieces of fabric over, so that you’re looking at the back of the seam, and then place the zip face down onto the seam so that the middle of the zip runs along the temporary stitching line that you’ve just sewn up and ironed open. Pin the zip in place.

Step 3 – zew the zip over the tacked seam.

Jumper Pillow14 sm

Remember to change the position of your needle when using a zipper foot!

Change your sewing foot to a zipper foot, and shift your needle all the way to the left. (If you don’t, the needle will try to sew through the middle of the foot, and you’ll end up with a little dent in your foot just like mine! Oh, and very probably a broken needle too :P) Using a normal straight stitch, line your zipper foot up so that it’s to the right of the zip, and then just sew to the end of the zip.

Jumper Pillow15 sm

Pull or rip out the temporary stitching to reveal the zipper beneath the seam.

Jumper Pillow16 sm

A perfect hidden zip!

Now you get to do the other side. Simple swop your needle over to the right hand side, and repeat on the other side. When you turn your project over, you’ll see that you’ve effectively top-stitched your zip in place.  Now all you need to do is pull out that temporary tacking that you did in Step 1, and your zip is in place!

Ta Da!! Now you’re ready to carry on making your jumper cushion.