DIY Floor Cushions

Floor cushions are a simple, chic furnishing for your living or sitting room. The three projects here — for roll, cube and slab cushions— represent advanced, intermediate and easy levels of sewing respectively. The cushions are filled with Dacron-wrapped foam and we’ve included instructions on how to make these forms yourself. Lush fabrics, like silk and velvet in hot pink and orange, give these basic shapes an unexpected jolt of sophistication; use durable fabrics like fleece or denim for family room versions or ultrasuede for a look that’s more current.

4″-thick foam is sold in full or half-size slabs (a full-size slab is 88″ long), but for a small fee some suppliers will cut the foam to a desired size. If you purchase a large slab of foam, you can easily cut it yourself using a knife blade saw. Dacron is sold by the bag in fabric supply stores; it is often referred to as quilting batting. We used “sheet Dacron” for these projects.

In this article:
Channelled Roll Cushion

Cube Cushion

Slab Cushion

Project 1: Channelled Roll Cushion

Due to the size of this cushion, you might want to ask a friend to help out. Use a heavy-duty sewing machine needle as the roll is quite thick.

Finished size: 30″ w. x 12′ l.

Skill level: Advanced

Materials and Tools

  • 4 yards (1/2″-thick x 30″-wide foam)
  • 4 bags Dacron
  • Spray adhesive
  • 8-1/2 yards silk fabric

What it Cost

8-1/2 yards silk fabric @ $15/yard = $128
4 bags Dacron filling @ $10/bag = $40
4 yards 1/2″-thick foam @ $2.25/yard = $9
TOTAL $177

Step 1: Make form

The form for this cushion roll is made from 1/2″-thick x 30″-wide foam sandwiched between two layers of Dacron. Using scissors or a small electric knife (such as a carving knife), cut a 12′-long piece of foam. Using a spray adhesive, sold at art supply and hardware stores, sandwich the layer of foam between two layers of Dacron. For the best results when using spray adhesive, spray in a sweeping motion, covering both facing surfaces evenly.

Step 2: Cut and sew fabric

Cut two pieces of fabric to 12-1/4′ x 33″. Sew fabric, right sides together, leaving an opening at one end to insert the form. Turn fabric casing right side out. Insert form carefully and smooth it out, making sure form is lying flat inside cover. Sew up open end.

Step 3: Mark channels

Because pushing a thick foam form through a home sewing machine can be quite difficult, sew channels close together. For example, space channels 2″ apart rather than 4″ (though we spaced our channels 4″ apart). The closer together the channels, the easier they are to sew, as closer seams will compress the foam. On one side of the cushion, starting from the top end, use a tape measure and tailor’s chalk to make marks, evenly spaced, along the length of the fabric, to indicate the location of each channel. Make the same marks on the other side of the cushion, starting, again, from the top end. Once you have marked the spacing of the channels on both sides of the cushion, use tailor’s chalk to draw lines across the width of the cushion, joining each pair of marks together.

Step 4: Sew channels

Sew along each line to the centre of your pillow. As you sew toward the centre, make sure the foam form does not shift within the cover (enlist a helper to support the roll as you run it through the sewing machine). Compress the form as you feed it under the presser foot, it will become more and more of a challenge as you make your way toward the centre of the cushion. Also, make sure the tension on the presser foot is very light to allow for the thickness of the pillow to be quilted, and that your sewing machine is big enough to handle the amount of material passing under the arm. When you reach the centre of the cushion, start at the other side and work your way toward the centre again to complete the quilting. Repeat along the length of the roll.

Project 2: Cube Cushion

Finished size: 16″ h. x 20″ w. x 20″ l.

Skill level: Intermediate

Materials and Tools

  • 1 full slab 4″-thick medium-density foam
  • 1 bag Dacron
  • Spray adhesive
  • 2-1/2 yards velvet fabric

What it Cost

2-1/2 yards velvet fabric @ $13/yard = $33
1 bag Dacron filling @ $10/bag = $10
1 full slab 4″-thick foam = $31

Step 1: Make form

This form was constructed from four 4″-thick foam pieces, bonded together using spray glue. Using a knife blade saw, cut four pieces of foam to 20″ x 20″. Layer the pieces one on top of the other to create a cube. Mist facing sides of each piece with spray adhesive, sold at art supply and hardware stores. For the best results when using spray adhesive, spray in a sweeping motion, covering both facing surfaces evenly. Wrap the entire form in sheet Dacron, cutting and form-fitting it, then gluing it down well with the spray adhesive.

Step 2: Cut fabric

The cushion cover is made of 6 fabric panels: 4 side panels and top and bottom panels. For the side panels, cut four pieces of fabric to 17-1/2″ x 21-1/2″. For the top and bottom panels, cut two pieces of fabric to 21-1/2″ x 21-1/2″. In notching the corners you will avoid pivoting sharply at each corner when sewing the cover. To notch the corners on all six panels, measure out from each corner 1/2″ on either side and make a mark. Cut inward from each point until the cuts meet to make a 1/2″ notch (see diagram).

Step 3: Sew cushion cover

Sew each of the 4 side panels to the next, 17-1/2″ end to 17-1/2″ end, right sides together, to form a row. Sew the far left edge of the first panel to the far right edge of the last panel, right sides together, to form a tube consisting of 4 sides, right sides facing inward. Sew the top panel to the top edge of all 4 sides, right sides together, making sure the needle of the sewing machine is resting directly in the point of the notch at each panel corner. Sew one edge of the bottom panel to one bottom edge of one side, right sides together, leaving the other 3 sides open in order to insert the form. Turn cube cover right side out. Carefully insert form into cover, smoothing out any twisted seams. Slip stitch the 3 remaining edges of the bottom piece to the bottom edges of the remaining 3 sides. If possible, have a friend compress the foam as you slip stitch, so the edges will be tight.

Project 3: Slab Cushion

The cushion covers are made entirely from 2, rather than several, separate pieces of fabric, a style of cover known as a “false box,” and a technique that can be applied to other sewing projects.

Finished size: 4″ h. x 30″ w. x 30″ l.

Skill level: Easy

Materials and Tools

  • 1/2 slab 4″-thick foam
  • 1 bag Dacron
  • Spray adhesive
  • 2 yards silk fabric
  • 30″ zipper

What it Cost

2 yards silk fabric @ $15/yard = $30
1 bag Dacron filling @ $10/bag = $10
1/2 slab 4″-thick foam = $22

Step 1: Make form

The interior form is made from 30″-wide, 4″-thick medium-density foam. Using a knife blade saw, cut the foam to a 30″ length to make a 30″ square. Cut Dacron to fit the foam. Lightly mist both the foam and Dacron with spray adhesive, sold at art supply and hardware stores, and join them together. For the best results when using spray adhesive, spray in a sweeping motion, covering both facing surfaces evenly.

Step 2: Cut fabric

Cut 2 squares of fabric to 35-1/2″ x 35-1/2″.

Step 3: Sew fabric

Place squares of fabric right sides together and stitch down one side with large basting stitches, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance. Press the seam flat. Centre a 30″ zipper, face down, on the seam. Stitch the zipper down, reinforcing well at both ends. Remove basting stitches to expose zipper. With right sides together, stitch the remaining 3 sides together.

Step 4: Make “false box”

Pull apart the 2 pieces of fabric with your hands so that the corners jut out. Choose one corner and lay it flat so that the seams line up, one on top of the other. Pin through the seam. From the tip of the corner, measure downward, along the lined-up seams, 2-1/4″ and make a mark. Draw a 4-1/2″ line perpendicular to the seam at that point. Stitch across the seam along the line you just made, making sure you backstitch well at the beginning and the end (see Diagram 2). Snip off the corner, about 1/2″ above the new seam. Repeat on all 4 corners and turn right side out.

Step 5: Insert cushion form

Insert the form through the zipper, compressing the form as you go, until it is completely inside the cover. Smooth out the foam, then smooth out the seams so they are all travelling in one direction. If the corners appear “hollow,” fill them out with extra pieces of Dacron. Zip up the cushion, compressing the foam. Make sure the zipper does not catch on the Dacron.

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