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How to Make Tab Top Cushions for a Headboard

Updated February 21, 2017

Adding tab top cushions to your headboard can create a comfortable and padded backdrop for your bed. It can also hide a less than attractive headboard. Depending upon the fabrics and styling you choose, tab top headboard cushions can look quite clean and modern or soft and romantic. You can make tab top cushions for any headboard with an open railing along the top, or even use tab top cushions with a rod instead of a traditional headboard.

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  1. Determine the cushion size required for your tab top cushions. Use two large Euro style pillow forms for a larger bed, or smaller pillow to make tab top cushions for a twin or full size bed. Measure your headboard and note the length required for your tab top cushion tabs as well as the necessary placement of those tabs.

  2. Measure your pillow forms. Cut three fabric panels for each pillow, allowing one additional inch in length and width for seam allowances. Cut two to four fabric strips per tab top cushion. Make the strips 4 to 5 inches wide.

  3. Press the fabric strips in half lengthwise with the right sides together. Sew the long side and one short side with 1/2 inch seam allowance. Repeat for the remaining strips. Trim the seam allowances and turn right side out. Press and topstitch each headboard cushion tab. Work a buttonhole near the seamed end of each strip. Baste the tab top cushion strips into place along one edge of the cushion front panel.

  4. Press a doubled 1 inch hem into place on two of the panels. Stitch neatly. Overlap the two tab top cushion backing pieces by 2-4 inches. Pin or baste together. Line up the backing panels with the front tab cushion piece and trim to fit.

  5. Sew the front and back panels together, with the right sides facing one another. Turn right side out and press.

  6. Hand sew buttons into place on the tabs to allow you to secure the tab top cushion into place on the headboard. Button into place to make your cushion headboard.

  7. Tip

    Make longer tabs and tie them into place instead of making buttons and buttonholes. Place the buttons facing the back of the cushion if you prefer a cleaner look. If you are hanging your tab top cushions on a rod rather than an existing headboard, tab loops may be sewn into place instead of buttonholed tabs.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pillows
  • Fabric
  • Piping
  • Buttons (4 per pillow)
  • Buttonhole foot to fit your sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing machine and coordinating thread

About the Author

With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.

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