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How to make cushions for a wooden rocking chair

Updated April 17, 2017

Cushions for wooden rocking chairs can be quite expensive, even in discount department stores. If you want a cushion that is like no other, and made to your specific taste and decor, make your own. It's not difficult but does take some time and effort. If you can sew a seam, you can make a cushion to fit your rocking chair. And think of all the money you will save!

Place a large piece of paper over the seat for which you will be making a cushion. Outline the seat on the paper using a marker in a colour you can easily see. Cut out this pattern. Pin this pattern to another piece of newspaper and cut out the same shape, adding a 16mm (5/8 inch) seam allowance all around. This will be your cushion pattern. Save the first pattern for the quilt batting.

Fold the cushion fabric with right sides of the fabric together. Pin the larger cushion pattern (the one with the seam allowance) to the fabric and cut out carefully. You will have two pieces.

Determine how thick you wish your cushion to be. Using your smaller cushion pattern, cut enough layers of quilt batting to achieve this thickness. Using heavy-duty thread, baste the quilt batting layers together to keep them from shifting.

Measure the thickness of the quilt batting layers and add 32 mm (1 1/4) inches to that measurement (this is for the 16 mm (5/8 inch) seam allowance at top and bottom). Measure the circumference of the quilt batting layers. Using these measurements, cut a strip of fabric the length of the circumference and as wide as the distance between the top and bottom plus 32 mm (1 1/4 inches).

Pin the fabric strip to the top cushion piece with right sides facing. Stitch one side of the strip to the circumference of the cushion piece.

Pin the other side of the strip to the bottom cushion piece and stitch all around the circumference, leaving a large enough opening to stuff in the quilt batting layers and position them properly. Insert the quilt batting layers, then finish stitching the cushion together, either by machine or by hand using a slip stitch.

Sew ties into the seam at the back of the cushion to tie the cushion securely in place on the chair.

Use a needle to attach heavy-duty thread or yarn through all the layers of quilt batting and fabric if you want your cushion to be tufted. Cut the thread and tie it securely.

Tip

If this is your first time, you may want to make a practice cushion first, using inexpensive fabric. The patterns and the quilt batting can be reused over again, once you feel comfortable enough to tackle the project using more expensive fabric.

The best fabric for seat cushions is upholstery fabric, normally found in its own section in your fabric store. Denim, corduroy and other fabrics of similar weight are also good.

To determine how much fabric to buy, take the seat cushion pattern with you to the fabric store. The clerk can help you translate its measurements into metres. Typically, a seat cushion will take about 1 to 2 metres of fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Large sheet of paper, such as newspaper, wrapping paper or brown paper
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Fabric
  • Quilt batting
  • Cotton
  • Sewing machine
  • Tufting thread
  • Sewing machine
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About the Author

Susan Miller has been a professional journalist since 1990. She edited two weeklies for a chain of suburban newspapers and has written for the "Indianapolis Star," the "Indianapolis Business Journal" and several magazines, among other publications and websites. Miller studied design, photography and technology at Purdue University and Central Piedmont Community College.