Friday 27 September 2013

Beach Huts Cushion Tutorial...

Beach Huts Cushion TUTORIAL... how to make a set of cushions with button closures ~ Threading My Way

Today I'll show you how to make a set of cushions, with button closures. In Australia we call them cushions and I believe it's the same in the UK. In other parts of the world, you might refer to them as pillows.

  • 1 piece of fabric ~ 18" x 18" (46cm x 46cm) - for the cushion front 
  • 1 piece of fabric ~ 18" x 14" (46cm x 36cm) - for the cushion back. I used a contrasting colour.
  • 1 piece of fabric ~ 18" x 10" (46cm x 25cm) - for the cushion back. I used a contrasting colour.
  • 1 piece of fabric ~ 74" x 1.5" (166cm x 3.8cm) - for the piping. I used a contrasting colour.
  • 17 inch x 17 inch cushion insert
  • 5 x buttons
  • Materials listed above are for one cushion.
  • I purchased a 16" x 16" cushion insert, but it actually measured 17" x 17". If your cushion insert is 16" x 16", adjust the measurements accordingly. 
  • All seams are 3/8" (1cm), unless otherwise indicated.
  • Neaten the edges of both front and back pieces BEFORE you begin sewing.
  • If sewing with a medium weight to thickish fabric such as canvas or duck, use a denim needle. I've used Beach Huts Blue, a 100% cotton, which I'm guessing is duck cloth. 

Edited to addIf you like a plump cushion, cut the fabric smaller. I now make my cushion covers smaller. Refer to Differences in Cushion Inserts to see how I now size my cushion covers.


Piping can be made with or without a cord. I have made my cushions with uncorded piping.
I didn't cut my piping on the bias and it's worked out fine. Cutting on the bias may make the corners easier to do.

  • Turn one short end under 1/2" (1.3cm) and stitch.
  • Fold the piping strip in half lengthwise, right sides together.
  • Begin stitching 1" (2.5cm) from the hemmed end and sew together by neatening the long edge, either with a zig zag stitch or overlocking (serging).

Attach piping to cushion front:

  • Sew piping to the right side of the cushion front, with a 1/4" (6mm) seam; raw edges of the piping with the raw edge of the cushion front. I line up the fabric with the edge of the presser foot and move the needle position to the right.
  • Begin with the hemmed edge of the piping, in the middle of the bottom edge.
  • At the corners, there will be excess fabric. Make sure the excess doesn't fold over and get under the needle. It's a little hard to explain, but the photo should make it clearer.

  • When you are almost all the way round, cut the piping so it overlaps by 1" (2.5cm).
  • Tuck the overlapped piping inside the beginning of the piping and stitch.
  • Neaten the raw edges.

  • Baste (hand stitch) the excess fabric so that it doesn't move in the next step. You want to keep the excess away from the seams. 
I'll be honest and say getting the corners right was not easy and some of my corners are better than others. It would have been easier if:
  • the fabric was thinner
  • the piping was narrower
Cutting the piping on the bias may have helped, but I'm not positive about this. If you have any tips for getting perfect corners, please leave me a comment. I'd love to know if there are better ways to do this step.

Hem the two backing pieces:

  • Take one backing piece, turn under 1/4" (6mm) on one long side, press, turn under 1.75" (4.5cm) and sew. 
  • Repeat for the second backing piece.


  • Sew 5 buttonholes, 3" (7.5cm) apart, on the hem of the larger backing piece.
  • Sew the first buttonhole in the middle and measure the others from the first.
I'm lucky enough to be able to set my machine to make automatic buttonholes. If your machine doesn't have this function, the following tutorials should help.

Sew the cushion together:

  • Baste (hand sew) the large backing piece to the cushion front, right sides together and lining up the long, raw edge of the backing piece with the top edge of the cushion front.
  • With the wrong side of the cushion front uppermost, sew the two pieces together. Make sure your seam allowance is 3/8" (1cm), so the stitching is on the inside of the piping stitching.
  • Baste (hand sew) the small backing piece to the cushion front, right sides together and lining up the long, raw edge of the backing piece with the bottom edge of the cushion front. The small backing piece will overlap the large backing piece.
  • With the wrong side of the cushion front uppermost, sew the two pieces together. 

Finish the cushion:

  • You may like to trim the corners and re-neaten by zig zagging or overlocking (serging), but I didn't do this step.
  • Turn the cushion right side out. 
  • Sew 5 buttons to the hem of the smaller backing piece.
That's it. You've finished your cushion and are ready to make a second.

My cushions are by no means perfect, but I LOVE them!!! As I've mentioned, the corners are not flawless and the buttons don't line up as well as I'd like, due to my buttonhole placement, but to my eye, this doesn't detract from the look of the cushions.

Sadly these cushions are not for me. They will be a present for someone who lives at the beach, hence the Beach Huts fabric is the perfect choice. I loved the fabric when I first saw it earlier in the year, over at Celtic Thistle Stitches. Fiona used it to make a fabulous lampshade. Not so long ago, I saw it again, over at Mamma Fairy Sews and followed the links to Terrys Fabrics.

For the backing and the piping, I found a royal blue duck cloth in my stash. It matches perfectly with the blue on the huts and appears to be the same type of fabric.

Thanks, Terrys Fabrics, for kindly sending me the Beach Huts fabric used to make these cushions. Being 56" wide, I have plenty of fabric left over. Hmmmm... I wonder if I'm game enough to attempt a lampshade like Fiona. What would you make with the leftovers?

Have you seen the collection of 100+ Cushions and Pillows here at Threading My Way... lots of ideas and inspiration.

If you make a cushion using this tutorial, I'd love you to add it to the Threading My Way ~ Sewn by YOU Flickr group. Feel free to add any projects made with Threading My Way tutorials.

Sewn by YOU
Threading My Way ~ Sewn by YOU
Add photos of projects you have made 
from Threading My Way

... Pam


  1. These are beautiful! I love the fabric you used.

  2. Nice cushions - love that fabric! Here in Canada pillows tend to be pillows you sleep on in bed - cushions are decorative pillows (which might also be on your bed, lol) :)

  3. Very sweet cushions, Pam. I have always been attracted to that Beach Hut fabric. Nice choice! Thanks for sharing your tutorial!

  4. Love your cushions, the piping and and the button back! I will save this tutorial to use in the future!


  5. These are great! Thanks for the tutorial- I love the look of buttons on the back of pillows.

  6. Gorgeous! Love that fabric.

  7. Great tutorial Pam! - especially for the piping!

  8. I love your cushions!!! Lovely fabric matched with my favourite blue.... *swoon*

  9. Cute, cute, cute. I enJOY having an easy way to remove the covers, especially if they are seasonal. You are thinking about the beach as we are looking at beautiful golden leaves on the trees.

  10. This is brilliant - I have the exact same fabric that I am planning on using to make some cushions for my parents for their campervan (my mum has an obsession with moving to be near the sea!) and I hadn't found a tutorial to use yet - I think this is fate! They look great :)

  11. amei sua almofada vou tentar fazer tbm
    bjs e parabéns

  12. Love the fabric, and the piping look fabulous to me. This will be a great way to showcase some of the special buttons I've been saving, too.

  13. Fabulous cushions, Pam! They are perfect for someone who lives at the beach or loves the beach.:)

    I love the button closure on the back.

  14. Great cushions Pam. You have inspired me to make some too.

    As to what to do with the rest of the fabric - you could make some little covered canvas frames to send with the cushions. The little huts are so cute and would look cute on a wall too!

  15. Fab cushions Pam, these are right up my street! Of course you are game enough for a lampshade :)

  16. Thanks Pam :) We had blue carpet in the house, and it was so worn out it was not funny, so we changed it last year. There is a blue wall in our lounge-room that needs to go. We are hoping to get some nice wallpaper instead. Once that is done I will need to make new cushions and maybe curtains, so I guess I will be referring to your tutorial ;)

  17. Your pillows are gorgeous! Perfect fabric!

  18. Beautiful! Love your detailed pics too!

  19. Oh I love the fabric! That would be beautiful for my mil who lives by the ocean

  20. Don't worry if they are not perfect... that's the beauty of self sewing! ^_^
    Thank you for sharing


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