Sewing an elastic cushion cover is a budget-friendly way to cover up an unsightly upholstery design. Using bleached drop cloth is a great fabric to use for this, follow along to find out why I chose this fabric.
I have been really trying to make our home personal and cozy. For a long time, something just felt like this wasn’t my home, and because of that feeling I avoided making my house a home.
As I have been branching out and trying more DIY projects to make my home more cozy, I stumbled across the idea of painting a vintage couch. I did in fact get the couch finished after six coats, though it was daunting. When I was painting my couch, I realized that the fabric of my polyester couch was not ideal for painting. The original fabric has a “fuzzy” feel to it which didn’t lend itself well to painting.
This is where creating cushion covers came in. I had the idea of finishing the cushions of the painted couch with elastic slipcovers instead of painting them.
After doing some research I found that this is a great way to make something removable that is easier to clean. Since I had completed other simple sewing projects like oven mitts and curtains, I felt confident giving this next level project a whirl! As it turns out, this sewing project was actually pretty simple.
I chose to use a bleached drop cloth for this project and it worked great! Now, when the slip covers get too soiled, I just throw them into the washing machine with some hydrogen peroxide, washing soda, and Lemon Essential oil to clean them.
This is a great beginner project to pursue. If you are a new DIY’er and aren’t ready for a more advanced project, give this simple cushion cover a shot! All you really have to do is follow the original cushion cover as a guide and give yourself a little seam allowance.
Why use drop cloth for this project?
Drop cloth is such a versatile fabric. It can easily be dyed or bleached to the color of your choice. Bleaching drop cloth also changes the texture of the cloth to something soft that you would want to cozy up on.
I will note that not all drop cloths are created equal. If you plan to bleach or dye your drop cloth, you’ll want to get a specific brand that has a percentage of cotton in it, such as the one I linked about. This allows you to effectively change the color of the tan drop cloth.
The best part about drop cloth is that it is budget friendly. You can buy a big hunk of it for around $20 on Amazon. This way you have enough cloth for multiple projects. I am all about budget friendly projects. In fact, they are the only projects I will pursue. If you have never created a budget, you need to hop on that money conscious wagon today, seriously. God calls us all to be good stewards of what He entrusts us with and that includes how we spend our money.
Why I chose to make the cushion covers with elastic
Cushion covers can be enclosed by many different means. The most common way a cushion cover closes is with a zipper.
I liked the idea of using elastic to close the covers for two simple reasons: 1) Ease when removing the cushion cover to clean, and 2) I am not experienced in sewing zippers.
Why I chose to add piping to the cushion covers
Piping is such a great way to create an elegant look to your furniture. It can take an average DIY sewing project to the next level to look more professional.
I added piping to a slip cover I made for another piece of furniture in my living room, so I wanted to make sure my DIY furniture matched a bit. After all, I am putting the time and effort into sewing a slip cover myself, I may as well do the best that I can at making it look nice.
Supplies you’ll need to make an elastic cushion cover
- Sewing measuring tape
- Piping Cord, if using
- Thread to match your fabric
- Quality scissors
- 1/4 inch elastic (enough to go around the diameter of your cushion)
- Small Safety Pin
- Sewing Pins
How to prepare piping for your elastic cushion cover
If you plan to use piping, Measure the distance around your cushion cover. If there is already piping on the original cushion cover, then use that as your guide.
You’ll want to cut strips out of your fabric that are 1 1/2 inches wide, cutting diagonally. I used a fabric cutting board and fabric rotary cutter to cut my strips more quickly and efficiently.
Cutting diagonally is a MUST. Do not just cut straight strips in your fabric. Cutting diagonally will allow the fabric and piping to bend around the corners of your cushion cover properly without bunching and wrinkling. You don’t want to make the mistake of cutting straight on your fabric, ask me how I know hahaha.
Once you cut enough strips to cover the amount of piping cord you’ll be using, begin pinning the fabric together perpendicular and then stitch together with your sewing machine.
When you open the two pieces of fabric after sewing together, it will look like the picture below. Continue until you connect enough pieces to cover the amount of piping cord you’ll be using.
Fold the fabric over the piping cord and line up the ends. Be sure that the seams are facing inward toward the piping when you sew.
Use a zipper foot to sew the fabric tightly up against the piping cord to secure.
You will be left with about 1/2 inch seam allowance for when you connect the piping to the rest of the cushion cover.
How to Cut fabric for an your cushion cover
Begin by measuring the length and width of your cushion. Cut your fabric to length accordingly, be sure to allow 1/2 inch seam allowance on all sides. So, If your cushion measures 10 inches wide and 10 inches tall you’ll need to cut an 11 x 11 inch piece of fabric.
Next, measure the sides of your cushion, again adding 1/2 inch seam allowance to each side. Cut fabric accordingly.
For the bottom of the cushion, you’ll need to cut fabric the length of the cushion (plus the seam allowance) and a width of 6 inches. Cut a piece for each bottom side of the cushion.
Once all of the fabric is cut to length it’s time to begin sewing!
How to sew an elastic cushion cover
If using piping, begin by pinning the piping to the top piece of fabric for your cushion.
Place the finished piping on the “right sides” in between both pieces of fabric. If you use bleached drop cloth like I did, it won’t matter which side you choose since both sides of the fabric are the same.
Stitch along the fabric as close as you can to the piping on the “wrong” side of the fabric.
Once it’s sewn, turn the fabric right side out to look like the picture below.
Repeat these same steps for the side strips of fabric. Place them right sides together with the piping sandwiched in between and stitch as close as possible to the piping.
When you get to the end of a side piece of fabric, stop and stitch it to the next side piece (right sides together) before continuing to sew along the piping.
Turn right side out to look like the picture below.
Continue the above steps for the remaining side pieces and then the second layer of piping as well.
When you get to the part for the elastic, fold the 6 inch wide piece of fabric over 1/2 inch and press with iron and again another 1/2 and press with iron. Sew along the seam about 1/8 of an inch from the folded edge to create a hem. Stop sewing about 6 inches from where you started to allow room to feed in the elastic.
Measure the diameter of your cushion and cut the elastic to that length. You will not end up using this full length once you pull it tight.
To feed the elastic through the hem, attach the small safety pin to one end of the elastic. This just gives you something to hold on to in order to make it easier to feed through the hem.
Insert the side of the elastic connected to the safety pin into the opening of the hem and begin feeding it through. This will give your fingers a workout, especially if you choose a thicker fabric.
Be sure not to let the opposite end of the elastic go all the way through the other end of the hem. Grab hold of it when it gets close to the end. Un-bunch fabric as needed when you are feeding the elastic through to keep it moving through smoothly.
When you get to the end, remove the safety pin and overlap each end of the elastic over the other and sew together for about an inch to secure the elastic together. Push the elastic to the inside, top of the hem. Close the hem by finishing sewing it closed to hide the elastic.
You’ve done it! You just created a simple elastic cushion cover. Now, time to decorate your “new” piece of furniture of yours up with some cute throw blankets and pillows.
If you tried this sewing project, I’d love to hear how you used the finished cushion cover in your home to freshen up your furniture. Leave a comment below!
For more DIY ideas on a budget check out these posts from My Abiding Home:
- How To Sew A Simple Bed Skirt with Drop Cloth
- Simple Hand Soap Recipe with Essential Oils
- How To Build An Affordable Raised Garden Bed
- How To Make A Beeswax Wrap DIY
How To Sew An Elastic Cushion Cover
- 1 Pair of scissors Sharp fabric scissors
- 1 Sewing Machine
- 1 Rotary Cutter and Mat optional
- Sewing pins
- 1 Small Safety Pin
- Elastic enough to cover the distance around your cushion that you are covering
- Thread to match your fabric
- Piping cord optional
How to prepare piping for your cushion cover
- Begin by measuring the distance around your cushion and cutting the piping cord 1 inch longer than that, just to allow a bit extra just in case.
- Cut the fabric for your piping into squares and cut strips diagonally out of it at a width of 1 1/2 inches. Continue until you have enough diagonal strips to cover the piping.
- To connect the strips of piping, overlap them perpendicular and pin in place. Stitch to secure. Continue sewing the strips together until it is one long piece that matches the length of the piping cord that you cut.
- Place the piping cord on the inside of the "wrong" side of the strip of fabric. Fold the fabric over the piping. Sew fabric together as close as possible to the piping cord.
How To Sew an Elastic Cushion Cover
- Begin by measuring the length and width of each surface on your cushion. Cut fabric to match each piece, adding 1/2 inch seam allowance on each side. Skip cutting a fabric piece for the bottom.
- For the bottom of the cushion, measure the length and add 1/2 inch seam allowance. Cut out a piece of fabric to match that length and a width of 6 inches. Repeat for each bottom side piece.
- If using piping, place the piping you prepared sandwiched inside the "right" sides of the main, top piece of fabric and a side piece. Secure with sewing pins.
- Stitch with a zipper foot as close as possible to the piping on the "wrong" side of the fabric. Stitch back and forth at the end to secure the thread. Continue for each side piece of fabric, stitching the side pieces together as you go along.
- Fold the edge over 1/2 inch and press then another 1/2 inch and press. Stitch together close to the bottom of the fold to create a hem. Stop about 6 inches from where you started to leave an opening to feed the elastic through the hem.
- Cut your elastic to match the distance around the cushion.
- Place safety pin in one end of the elastic to help you feed it through the hem.
- Feed the elastic through the hem, un-bunching fabric as needed. Do not let the end of the elastic go through the hem. When you get close to the end, be sure to hold the opposite end of elastic tightly.
- Overlap the ends of elastic about 1 inch and stitch them together to secure.
- Tuck the elastic into the top of the hem. Finish sewing the hem the rest of the way shut.
- Voila! You've just created a removable slip cover to spruce up your furniture.
- I do recommend piping when slip covering a cushion because it looks really nice. However, you can still complete this project and skip the piping to create an easily removable elastic cushion slip cover!
- If you have a rotary cutter and a mat it makes cutting the fabric strips for the piping a whole lot easier.