How to Sew a Meditation Zafu Cushion

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A zafu is a round mediation cushion traditionally found in Japan. It is often used with a zabuton, a large floor pillow that protects the knees. Sewing your own zafu is not only a fun craft project, but can be a mediation in itself.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1-1/3 yd Sturdy non-slip fabric,
  • 1.36kg. Buckwheat hulls
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Cut a rectangle that is 59 by 9 in for the pleated sides and two circles that are 13 in in diameter, which will be the top and bottom of your meditation cushion.

  2. 2

    Lay out the rectangle, pattern-side down, to begin pinning the pleats. Measure 2 in from the end. Fold a 1/2 in of the fabric back (like a fan) from to the 2 in mark to the 1- 1/2 in mark. Pin both the top and bottom in place to form your first pleat.

  3. 3

    Count from where your first pleat starts at the 1 1/2 in mark over by 2 in. Fold a 1/2 in of fabric back to the 3 1/2 in mark and pin as you did with your first pleat.

  4. 4

    Continue pleating your zafu following the same pattern until you reach the end of the fabric. Then sew the pleating along the top and bottom using a sewing machine (or by hand) and remove the pins.

  5. 5

    Turn one circle pattern-side down and pin it along the top of the long pleated piece. Do the same with the second circle along the bottom of the pleated piece.

  6. 6

    Sew the pinned circles into place, making sure to leave an open gap in order to stuff the zafu. Once you have sewn the circles in place and removed the pins, turn the fabric pattern-side out.

  7. 7

    Fill the pleated cushion with buckwheat hulls and hand-sew the opening shut. Use your zafu during meditation by either sitting on it in the lotus position or with your knees on the floor or a zabuton.

Tips and warnings

  • If you find the hand-sewn seam too noticeable, you can disguise it by sewing on a handle using leftover fabric.
  • Spot wash by hand.
  • Spray with a stain guard to protect it from dirt.

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