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Zero Waste Sewing: Cushions

zero waste how to make a cushion pad and cushion cover from scrap fabric

How to use up those tiny tiny fabric scraps

I have been sharing ideas on how to use up fabric scraps for this week’s Zero Waste Week. I have now reached my box of the smallest pieces of scrap fabric. No matter how creative we are they are tricky to use. We can’t quilt them, applique them or turn them into a bag.

Cushion covers are a great way to use up small pieces of vintage fabric. Particularly those fabrics that have a large floral design. We can create what ever size cushion we desire: Square, round, oblong. The choice is ours if we make our own cushion pads. I know just where to find the filling!

I keep a basket close to my sewing machine for those very small scraps of fabric. Including the slithers that the overlocker (serger) sheers off the edges of fabric. When the basket is full, I trim down some of the larger pieces so they are all tiny pieces. I’ve even added some old socks and tights that are passed darning (but freshly washed).

How to make a cushion pad from scrap fabric

  1. Decide on the size cushion pad that I want. I usually create a 40 x 40cm pad to fit my Gloria Cushion Cover.
  2. I find some scrap fabric. Some of the vintage fabric I sell used to be an old curtain. When I buy it, I cut off the cotton lining, wash it and save it for these cushion pads. Any fabric works well but plain is best so the design doesn’t show through to the other side. I’ve used old pillow cases, bed sheets. Or cut up toiles that were not wearable and stitched them together to make a larger piece of fabric.
  3. Add 1cm seam allowance to your preferred size.
  4. Cut the fabric to size. I draw straight onto the fabric using a ruler and felt tip pen. No need to make a pattern unless you are making lots of cushion pads the same size.
  5. Sew around all four sides leaving a 15cm gap in the middle along one of the edges.
  6. Turn the fabric the right way round, so the seams are on the inside. No need to finish the seams unless your fabric is prone to fraying.
  7. Stuff the pad with all the filling you have created. If I have some old pillows that are past their best, I was these and mix the stuffing in with the fabric scraps.
  8. Sew along the gap at the top using a slip stitch or whip stitch.
  9. Create your cushion cover and fill it with your scrap busting cushion pad.

Patchwork cushions are really effective. Create a larger piece of fabric from smaller pieces of fabric. Try uniform squares, strips or more of a misshaped quilting effect. I haven’t made a cushion cover with this method yet but I have made a hot water bottle cover and the technique is the same.

Zero Waste how to make a hot water bottle cover from scrap fabrics