Step-by-Step Upholstered Cushion for Everywhere in Your Home

created on: 04/02/08

Kitchen chairs, bar stools, porch furniture, patio furniture, window seats, sofas, chairs, floor pillows, dog beds, doll beds, cat beds, and that's all I can think of, this tutorial will show you step-by-step how to make your own boxed and corded cushions.

You can ditch the cord for a more modern look. 

Have at it this Spring with the beautiful large graphic print fabrics available for the interior and the new outdoor fabrics--to die for!

Let's get started-

what you need:

sewing machine

zipper foot


foam for cushion





what you do:

1. using old cushion cover, foam cushion, template or measurements, trace cushion pattern on wrong side of doubled fabric

created on: 04/02/08

2. cut out boxing long enough to go around cushion front and two short sides, the back piece will be the zipper piece

created on: 04/02/08

This cushion measured 40" x 30" x 5".  The front piece of boxing was cut from a width of fabric measureing 54" x 6".   The front piece wrapped around the sides 7" on each side.  1/2" will be lost to a seam allowance on each side.  Two additional pieces measuring 25" x 6" were stitched on both short ends of the front boxing piece.  It's better to have a little extra than not enough.

3. stitch both short boxing strips to either end of the front boxing

4. stitch zipper boxing to one end of zipper boxing

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

5. cut notches to mark center points of top and bottom of cushion cover, center of long boxing piece and center of zipper piece as guides when pinning and sewing pieces together

created on: 04/02/08

6. with raw edge of cording lip lined up with raw edge of cushion top piece, starting in middle of one long side, stitch cording on top piece all the way around

7. at corners, snip lip of cording to allow cording to turn corner, keep stitching close to cording

8. when coming around to start point, cut cording at a point approximately two inches beyond start of stitched down cording

9. open stitching up about 1 1/2 inches, snip off cording at the point where it butts up to other cording end

10. fold fabric back and under, encasing other end of cord and stitch down

TIP:   See: Curbly's How-To Reupholster Round Bar Stools for a photo of finishing the cord ends

created on: 04/02/08

11. stitch cording to both top and bottom pieces

12. aligning notches on cushion top piece and long boxing piece, pin boxing to cushion top, right side to right side

13. match notch on zipper boxing piece to notch on back of cushion top, pin corners to corners, pin all the way around and stitch

created on: 04/02/08

created on: 04/02/08

 TIP: Always stitch with the smaller piece placed on top of the larger piece

created on: 04/02/08

14. anticipating where the open boxing end will meet the open zipper boxing end, pin and stitch together so that boxing is continuous all the way around the cushion

created on: 04/02/08

15. pin the cushion bottom piece exactly the same way as the top, matching notches and corners to keep cushion straight

created on: 04/02/08

16. turn right side out

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17. get foam ready to stuff in to cushion cover

created on: 04/02/08

18. scrunching and wrestling with the foam cushion, insert it into cushion cover

19. work the foam around, adjusting cushion cover to make the cushion look uniform and smooth

20. use extra stuffing in corners to fill out cushion (every upholsterer does this)

created on: 04/02/08

21. zip up the back and enjoy your new skill

TIP:  Sometimes there is a little extra between the zippe and the foam, in that case, cut a strip of batting to fill in the extra space. 

Start fabric shopping for all the new cushions you will make this Spring.

It gets easier every time you do it.

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View/Add Comments (12)


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Christi on Oct 30, 2015:

Love this tutorial! What kind of fabric did you use for this? It looks so crisp and wrinkle-free. I'm hoping it is machine washable...?



Kathy on May 16, 2014:

Do you pre wash your fabric? Or can it just be steam ironed for shrinkage?

Anonymous on Jan 27, 2013:

Do you have a how to video showing the steps to make this cushion?

Anonymous on Jan 27, 2013:

What is the meaning of BOXING? Please explain

Anonymous on Jan 27, 2013:

What is the meaning of boxing? Please explain

cheryl on May 12, 2012:

Is the band around the cushion cut with the grain or against the grain? 


Anonymous on Feb 23, 2012:

how do I keep the cover from shifting?  I've used piping, but the cover shifts around on the cushion so the piping ends up all awry on the cushion.  It gets a lot of use and jumping around on, and it looks not so great.  The cushions are covered, and the cover has a zipper, but it's really awkward to mess around with (its a huge cushion).  Any ideas?

Barb on Apr 13, 2011:

to help it slide into cover, do you have to use?

ModHomeEcTeacher on Apr 04, 2008:

The front piece of boxing is 54" long, the front of the cushion is 40" long so I had fourteen inches left over.  Divide that by 2 and seven inches were left over for each side.  The zipper is also 40" and goes across the whole back of the cushion.  If your cushion is shorter, you'll have more inches to wrap around.  Get it?  Good luck and you'll be so proud.

yeye_joijoi on Apr 04, 2008:

Thanks for the tips. I'm just going through all the steps and trying to translate the measurments for my own cushions. Is there a reason you wrapped the front around 7" on each side? I mean, how did you determine the number value? Or is it just a good starting point aand not really based on any ratio necessarily? Also --- the backpiece is the same length as the front?

ModHomeEcTeacher on Apr 04, 2008:

I personally don't like cording either.  This was for my nephew's room and it needed some contrast.

What you can do is leave the piping out, just stitch the boxing to the cushion top (and then to the bottom) To make it look really professional, after you stitch the boxing to the cushion top and bottom, turn your cushion cover right side out and do a TOPSTITCH 1/4" away from the seam, on the TOP of the cushion, making sure the seam allowance underneath is folded towards the top, so that your topstitching will "catch" when you are sewing on the top.  Stitching that seam allowance in place by doing the topstitch gives it a nice, professional and modern look--I love it.  Be sure to keep your stitching really straight--You'll love it too!!!  Add a comment if you get stuck.

yeye_joijoi on Apr 04, 2008:

Well I know what I'm doing this weekend..... though I'm pretty scared!!

Is there some kind of alternative to the piping? I really find it tacky.... but I see that it helps keep the form. Hmm....

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