Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Here's how to easily turn any quilt block into a pocket cushion cover.
The methods described in this post apply to any square block of patchwork as well as a whole square of fabric. What makes this a "quilted" cushion cover is the use of batting that you quilt with the layer of patchwork or whole fabric that you want to showcase as your cushion cover.
There are several types of fasteners for cushion covers, such as zippers, buttons, velcros, and ties. The pocket cushion cover is the simplest to sew. However, size of the cushion insert should be considered when determining the type of fastener. Pocket covers are suitable for small cushion inserts, but larger ones may require more secure fastening such as the zipper, like what I did in my earlier Quilt with a Quote cushion case project.
In my featured cushion covers, I have used this traditional Chinese indigo-dyed cotton fabric with a pink floral fabric for the back, because it will be featured in my "Five Simple Things to Sew for Chinese New Year" article.
I have also used my scraps of bamboo batting from my Auspicious Quilt for Chinese New Year project.
STEP 1: Measure Cushion Insert
Measure the width and length of your cushion insert. If it is a square, the width is of course also the length. For this tutorial, I am going to assume it is a square insert.
My Cushion Insert is 44 cm x 44 cm
STEP 2: Sew Patchwork (or Cut a Whole Square of Fabric)
If you want to use a whole piece of fabric as the front of your cushion cover, simply cut a square out of your chosen fabric, with dimensions measured above plus your desired seam allowance all around (your seam allowance must be at least 1.5 cm).
If you want to feature a patchwork, go ahead and sew the patchwork, making sure you have your desired seam allowance all around the patchwork block.
Remember, you can add borders if your block turned out too small. In fact, it is advisable that you intentionally include border in your patchwork design, as it can be difficult to sew precisely such that the final block is the exact dimension you want. Having a border means you can use it to "fine-tune" the block to your desired dimensions.
For me, I have made the following simple patchwork for my cushion cover:
STEP 3: Make Quilt Sandwich
Cut batting to the same dimension as your cushion insert (i.e. without adding seam allowance). Make quilt sandwich by basting your batting and lining fabric beneath your patchwork (or fabric square, if you are using whole fabric instead of patchwork).
Batting should be shorter than top and lining layers by your seam allowance all around.
STEP 4: Quilt
Quilt as desired. I have simply quilted straight lines near the seams of my patchwork.
Your Front Piece is now ready for assembly at STEP 6.
STEP 5: Prepare Back of Cushion Cover
Take the fabric that you have chosen for the back of your cushion cover. Cut the following pieces:
(S.A. = Seam Allowance)
Then, fold both the back cover fabrics into half (wrong sides together).
Your Back Pieces are now ready for assembly in STEP 6.
STEP 6: Assemble Front and Back Pieces
Stack the two Back Pieces to the wrong side of the Front Piece. It does not matter which one you stack first. Baste.
You should now have the following ensemble. When you flip this ensemble, you should see the Right Side of the Front Piece.
The, sew all around at slightly (about 2 mm to 3 mm) less than half the Seam Allowance that your determined in STEP 2. Backstitch several times over the folded edges of Back Piece No. 1 (feel where is this with your finger) and Back Piece No. 2. This reinforces the pocket opening which will be subject to stress when inserting cushion insert later.
Then, snip corners and turn the whole thing inside out through the opening at the folded edge of Back Piece No. 2, ensuring all edges and corners are thoroughly pushed out. Press with iron to create crisp edges and corners.
You should now have the following ensemble. When you flip this ensemble, you should see the Wrong Side of the Front Piece.
Now, sew all around again at slightly (2 mm to 3mm) more than half the Seam Allowance that your determined in STEP 2. Again, backstitch several times over the folded edges of Back Piece No. 1 and Back Piece No. 2.
Those who are familiar will know that you have just created a French Seam all around the cushion cover.
STEP 7: Turn Inside Out & Press
Turn the whole thing inside out through the opening at the folded edge of Back Piece No. 1, ensuring all edges and corners are thoroughly pushed out. Press with iron to create crisp edges and corners.
And here are some I made 2 years ago with the same method, minus the batting and quilting (I used soft fusible interfacing to stabilise the patchwork before sewing it to the back pieces).