Basic square, rectangular or round cushion covers have two sides of fabric, stitched together. The opening for the cushion pad can be fastened by simple slip stitches or by way of a zip, buttons or ties ( 304 305, 310 313). The two sides need not be of the same fabric each side could be a combination of fabrics joined before the cushion cover is constructed. Piping or decorative cord can add definition, while braids, fringes and buttons lend texture. Cushion covers can be made so that the stitching line hugs the edge of the pad and is surrounded by a border (like an Oxford pillow case). The border, usually about 5cm (2in) wide, might be in the same fabric as the cushion, or in a contrast.
For a smart tailored look, combine crisp white linen for the main part of the cushion with a fine cotton shirting in a white and coloured stripe for a piping detail, and for the surrounding border use a check of hound’s-or dog’s-tooth. Use the same three fabrics on other cushions in the same group but switch the focus. Borders can be extended, and for a rectangular cushion, like a bed pillow, a large border at the open end secured by buttons is particularly smart.
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For a totally different style, take as your inspiration the rich contrast between a wool blanket and the silky band that borders it and make a cover that combines smart wool suiting with a surround of brightly coloured silk. Alternatively, mix a multitude of stripes or checks or even different scale floral patterns printed or woven but bear in mind that a colour link should bind them. One of the attractive aspects of making cushion covers is that they take only a small amount of fabric and are therefore relatively inexpensive decorative touches.
Making a square cushion cover
To make a plain, square cushion cover without piping, first decide on the finished cushion size. Cut two squares of fabric to the size of the cushion plus a 1.5cm (Kin) seam allowance all around. With right sides facing and raw edges aligned, pin and tack the two pieces together, then remove the pins. Working a few reverse stitches at each end of the seam, machine stitch around the edge, leaving an opening along one side for turning and inserting the cushion. Remove the tacking, trim the seam allowances and clip the corners to reduce bulk, leaving a gap of approximately 6mm (J4in) to avoid fraying. Press the seams.
Turn the cover right side out through the opening and push out the corners so that they are sharp. Press the cover and then insert the cushion. Finally, turn under the seam allowances along the opening, pin and slip stitch closed.